Five players who should be desperate to prove themselves in the Carabao Cup

The Carabao Cup has thrown up some interesting third-round ties (Picture: Getty)As several top teams flatter to deceive in the early stages of the season, the Carabao Cup provides a timely opportunity for otherwise peripheral players to put their hands up for selection.

With Arsenal and Manchester United both adrift of the Premier League top-four, Unai Emery and Jose Mourinho are still some way from settling on their strongest starting XIs.

Emery will look to experiment as Arsenal take on Championship outfit Brentford at the Emirates. United, meanwhile, may be tempted to play it safe as they search for a morale-boosting win at home to Derby County.

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Master takes on apprentice as Mourinho looks to knock Lampard’s side out of the competition following United’s disappointing draw with Wolves in the English top flight.

Elsewhere, Liverpool take on Chelsea in the standout fixture of the third round. The likes of Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri, both summer arrivals on Merseyside, will be desperate for minutes after underwhelming starts to the season.

Five players who should use the Carabao Cup as a springboard…

Ander Herrera (Manchester United)

Ander Herrera has been out of action since United’s victory over Burnley (Picture: Getty)Ander Herrera will be desperate to get out on the pitch again after suffering an ankle injury at the start of September which meant he missed United’s last three matches.

The midfielder made 27 Premier League starts in Mourinho’s first season at Old Trafford but this dropped to just 13 last term – and the signing of Fred could reduce his playing time further still.

Mourinho has confirmed that Herrera is ‘ready’ for Tuesday night’s clash and the Spaniard could be picked as an experienced head alongside youngsters Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay, with Paul Pogba likely to be rested.

Once a favourite among United fans, Herrera is still to convince Mourinho that he should be a regular starter in midfield.

An assured performance against emerging talent Mason Mount, on loan at Derby from Chelsea, could see Herrera squeeze into United’s XI away at West Ham on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho on injury concerns ahead of Derby clash

‘Ander is ready. Marcos Rojo is the only player who is not available through injury and this is Marcus Rashford’s last suspension match.’

Fabinho (Liverpool)

Fabinho is yet to start for the Merseyside giants (Picture: Getty)Jordan Henderson and James Milner may have been worried for their places following the arrivals of Naby Keita and Fabinho in the summer

While Keita has settled into the Premier League without breaking sweat, though, £39million signing Fabinho has had a more frustrating start to life on Merseyside and is yet to make a start for the Reds.

A difficult pre-season raised concerns about Fabinho’s fitness levels but Jurgen Klopp claimed earlier this month that the Brazilian was making ‘big steps’ towards his full debut.

Klopp will be tempted to throw him in at the deep end at home to Chelsea on Wednesday evening. The midfielder’s experience in the Champions League with Monaco should mean he’s not overawed by the occasion.

A strong display in front of the Anfield faithful could give Fabinho a much-needed confidence boost ahead of the stiffer test of the Premier League.

Klopp on Fabinho after Liverpool’s win over Leicester

‘Fabinho could have been in the squad, of course, but it’s quite difficult to make the squad at the moment because they are all fit. It’s good to have the situation as one might need a bit of time, or the others are more used to it. That’s the only reason.

‘But he will come back. And now we have games every three days, and he has made big steps in the last few weeks.’

Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool)

Xherdan Shaqiri is pushing for a start against Chelsea (Picture: Getty)Another Liverpool new boy hoping for a start versus Chelsea is Xherdan Shaqiri who completed a £13.5million move from Stoke City ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.

Shaqiri arrived as support for Liverpool’s all-star front-three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, but the Swiss will hope, in the coming months, to prove he’s more than just back-up.

Klopp claimed his decision to hook Shaqiri off at half time versus Southampton was for ‘tactical reasons’ and the winger will undoubtedly have been upset by his manager’s decision.

Shaqiri’s deflected effort against the Saints also went down as an own-goal – what better way to fire him up ahead of the clash with Chelsea?

The former Bayern Munich man shone in pre-season for Liverpool but is yet to find the net this term. A goal against Chelsea would do him the world of good.

Klopp on substituting Shaqiri at half time vs Southampton

‘I said to Shaq that I have never taken a player off at half-time after such an influential half but we wanted more control. He wasn’t injured.

‘It was a good performance. We did a lot of work on set-pieces so it’s pleasing all three goals came from set-pieces.

‘Shaq is a fantastic boy. The free-kick was outstanding. He tried everything and he is a good player to have. Great offensively, needs a little work defensively.’

Alvaro Morata (Chelsea)

Lukasz Fabianski denied Alvaro Morata at London Stadium at the weekend (Picture: Getty)Despite a scintillating start at Chelsea, Alvaro Morata’s Chelsea career appears to be at an impasse.

A crucial 81st-minute winner in Chelsea’s second match of the season against Arsenal provided hope but the Spaniard hasn’t scored since and Olivier Giroud has shown more to impress new manager Maurizio Sarri.

The likes of Eden Hazard and Willian look far more comfortable behind the unselfish Giroud. However, without a centre-forward scoring regular goals for the Blues, they are unlikely to battle for trophies this term.

An improved performance against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup could persuade Sarri to start Morata again against the Reds just four days later in the Premier League.

There’s no doubting that Morata has the talent, but the striker must ensure that a frustrating opening to the campaign doesn’t turn into an unfulfilled career at Stamford Bridge.

Sarri after Morata’s unconvincing display vs PAOK

‘Alvaro has to gain confidence with one, two three goals. I am not able to give him confidence.

‘In this match he had three or four opportunities. He was unlucky. I hope for him in the future I can help him. But the confidence can come with goals. Maybe two goals in two matches, I don’t know.

‘For the first time in this season he was ready in the box. He was on the ball and was active.’

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has returned from an ankle injury (Picture: Getty)Henrikh Mkhitaryan started Arsenal’s opening two matches of the season but a 2-0 defeats to Manchester City followed by a 3-2 loss away at Chelsea was hardly the start the Armenian had hoped for.

Many have questioned whether Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil play together in a Unai Emery team built around pressing the opposition.

The former Manchester United playmaker picked up an ankle injury in Arsenal’s Europa League victory over Vorskla Poltava but is available for selection for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup test at home to Brentford.

Ozil, who played the full 90 minutes against Everton at the weekend, is expected to be rested and Mkhitaryan will be desperate to prove he can be Emery’s main man in midfield.

A strong performance could see him sneak back Arsenal’s XI as they look to leapfrog Watford with a victory over Javi Gracia in the Premier League on Saturday.

Paul Merson on Unai Emery’s dilemma with Mkhitaryan and Ozil

‘He hasn’t got the players to have a 20-yard gap between defence and attack, working hard. Ozil and Mkhitaryan are not those type of players.

‘If you were building a team tomorrow, you’d want to play a high pressing game, work as a team, not to have gaps between the lines, and you’re not buying Ozil and Mkhitaryan.

‘If you go the Arsene Wenger way, wanting to play entertaining, free-flowing, great football, then Ozil and Mkhitaryan will walk in any team in the world.

‘But they will not get in teams that want to press!

MORE: Luka Modric wins the Best FIFA Men’s Player award as Fifpro World XI is named

Jamie Carragher predicts Manchester United and Arsenal will finish outside of top four

Manchester United endured a difficult start to the campaign (Picture: Getty)Arsenal and Manchester United are already on track to miss out on a top four spot this season, according to Jamie Carragher.

Liverpool are currently top of the Premier League table, with Chelsea and Manchester City just two points behind the Reds, with six games played so far this season.

Arsenal and United occupy sixth and seventh respectively, having already suffered two defeats this campaign.

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And Carragher expects Tottenham to pip Arsenal and United to a Champions League spot, after Spurs bounced back from back-to-back losses.

‘On the evidence of what we’ve seen I’d say Arsenal or Manchester United from what we’ve seen in these opening six games,’ Carragher said on Sky Sports when asked which teams would miss out.

‘The others look a little bit further up. Tottenham have had a little bit of a wobble, a good result for them on Saturday but it will be really tight and it always is with the top six.’

Klopp looks set to lead a title charge from Liverpool this season (Picture: Getty)He added: ‘I think the top six are so far ahead now that if just one or two of them teams on any given weekend drop points it feels like a really big thing for the rest of the other teams because a lot of the other dropped points come from each other.

‘So far Liverpool winning, City winning, for Tottenham and Arsenal, for Chelsea and United to drop points against two of the lesser sides it’s a really big thing.

‘City showed last year – and whoever is going to win the title this year – that the points total now to win the title – it was 80 or so when I was playing – but it’s 90 plus now.’

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Chelsea have enjoyed an unexpectedly brilliant start to the season under new coach Maurizio Sarri, while Liverpool are yet to drop points this campaign.

City are the defending champions and remain favourites to go on to successfully retain the title under the guidance of Pep Guardiola.

Michael Owen’s Premier League predictions including Man Utd v Wolves & Arsenal v Everton

Michael Owen has made his predictions for this weekend’s Premier League action (Picture: Ambassador Michael Owen believes it will be a good weekend for the “big six” in the Premier League this weekend as he again shared his thoughts on all the weekend action exclusively with BetVictor.

Fulham vs Watford

Watford’s 100% start to the new season was ended by Man Utd last weekend (Picture: Getty)The hosts have conceded at least twice in all five Premier League games so far this season, but I feel they will pick up a point against a Watford side whose second half comeback against Manchester United on Sunday could, on another day, have brought them an unlikely point. Watford have lost their last eight Premier Leagues games in the capital, but they showed their mettle against United last weekend and no side has scored more goals (8) in the second half so far this term than the Hornets.

Michael’s Prediction: Fulham 1-1 Watford

Manchester United vs Wolves

Paul Pogba was back to his best last week (Picture: Getty)United have won their last six league games against Wolves at Old Trafford and I feel they will maintain that good record at the weekend although the Molineux outfit have quickly come to terms with the Premier League and should, arguably, be unbeaten so far this season. Jose Mourinho has never lost back-to-back home league games in his managerial career but, after three successive away wins, I expect his side to exorcise the demons of that defeat at the hands of Spurs last month. Wolves have taken a point against champions City and kept clean sheets in their own back-to-back wins in their last couple of games. This promises to be the game of the weekend and one I feel United will edge.

Michael’s Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Wolves

Crystal Palace vs Newcastle

Wilfried Zaha scored Crystal Palace’s winning goal last weekend (Picture: Getty)Since the start of the 2016-17 season fouls on Wilfried Zaha have resulted in 41 yellow cards – more than any other player in the Premier League – and you could see and feel his frustration coming through the television when he spoke after last weekend’s Huddersfield game. The Ivorian has scored three of the Eagles’ four Premier League goals so far this term and Roy Hodgson needs goals from other avenues. The stats suggest if you stop Zaha you stop Palace. The former Manchester United wide-man cum striker missed the home game with Southampton this season – the result a 2-0 loss. Newcastle have played four of the “big six” clubs already this season and lost each game narrowly 2-1. I feel the time to assess United and their season-long prospects and expectations will not be for at least another month and I feel they can take a hard-earned point at Selhurst Park in a low-scoring contest.

Michael’s Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-0 Newcastle

Leicester vs Huddersfield

You can’t afford to leave early if you are a Leicester supporter with half of their eight Premier League goals scored so far this season in the 88th minute or later. That said I think they will have too much for the Terriers at the King Power Stadium given Town have won just one of their last 15 Premier League games and have not scored more than once in that time.

Michael’s Prediction: Leicester 2-0 Huddersfield

Cardiff vs Man City

Man City suffered a shock midweek defeat against Lyon (Picture: Getty)Cardiff were in the game for 80 minutes against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend, but things are unlikely to get any easier for the Bluebirds when the champions come to town on Saturday. Cardiff are without a win in their last nine Premier League games and I expect Pep Guardiola’s side to heap further misery on Neil Warnock’s side with the champions likely to be wounded after their shock home Champions League defeat to Lyon midweek.

Michael’s Prediction: Cardiff 0-3 Man City

Liverpool vs Southampton

Mohamed Salah could be back in the goals this weekend (Picture: Getty)It was a pleasure to be at Anfield midweek where Liverpool were good value for their 3-2 win over PSG in the Champions League. The Reds are unbeaten in their last 23 home Premier League games and I will be surprised if Southampton can stop the Red juggernaut. Jurgen Klopp may shuffle his pack against the Saints and I expect to see Naby Keita restored to the starting XI. I feel the Reds midfielder has goals in his locker and may break his Liverpool duck if given the nod.

Michael’s Prediction: Liverpool 4-0 Southampton

Burnley vs Bournemouth

Burnley have never lost five games in a row in the Premier League and will be desperate to arrest their current run of poor results. Better teams than the Clarets will lose at Molineux this season, but it was the manner of their defeat which was so alarming last weekend. The Cherries have, however, only kept one clean sheet in their last 14 Premier League games on the road and I think Sean Dyche’s side will get a positive result – although they may have to settle for a point.

Michael’s Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Bournemouth

Brighton vs Tottenham

Tottenham have lost three in a row for the first time ever under Mauricio Pochettino (Picture: Getty)You have to go back to April 1983 for the last time Brighton beat Spurs and I expect a much-improved performance from Spurs than the one who played so poorly at Wembley last weekend. Mauricio Pochettino’s side conceded two late goals in the San Siro in the Champions League midweek. They must roll their sleeves up and show their mettle and quality at the Amex, but it won’t be easy against a side who have come from two goals down to take a point in their last two games.

West Ham vs Chelsea

Eden Hazard is in the form of his life at the moment (Picture: Reuters)I watched West Ham’s win at Goodison at the weekend and thought it was an excellent result for the Hammers although it is fair to say that on the day Everton were there for the taking. West Ham have lost more Premier League London derbies than any other club and I feel Maurizio Sarri will become just the third Premier League manager to win his first six games in the competition after Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola. That said I expect the hosts to give them a real game in what should be a cracking derby.

Michael’s Predication: West Ham 1-3 Chelsea

Arsenal vs Everton

Arsenal have recovered from their poor start to win four in a row (Picture: Getty)This is a fixture that invariably produces goals and Everton’s two away games so far this season have finished 2-2. I think Blues boss Marco Silva would take a point now although the Gunners have not drawn any of their last 21 Premier League games (W11 L10). This current Arsenal side, as good as they are on the eye, will always give you a chance and I expect Everton to find the back of the net at the Emirates, but Bruce Rioch was in charge of the Gunners (January 1996) the last time they lost at home to Everton. Unai Emery will need time to mould an Arsenal side that could challenge for the title, but I do expect the Gunners to win another game that promises plenty of opportunities and goals.

Michael’s recommendation: Arsenal 3-1 Everton

Michael’s weekend wager: Leicester, Chelsea and Arsenal at 3/1Michael Owen is a Brand Ambassador for BetVictor. For more of Michael’s tips read his column here.

Graeme Souness goes full Graeme Souness comparing Paul Pogba and James Milner

Paul Pogba scored a brace for Manchester United against Young Boys (Picture: Getty)Graeme Souness continued his longstanding verbal attack on Paul Pogba despite the midfielder’s outstanding display in Manchester United’s 3-0 victory over Young Boys.

Pogba delivered a captain’s performance in the Champions League Group H clash, scoring two first-half goals before Anthony Martial added a third after the break in Switzerland.

It follows a summer of unrest at Old Trafford, with Pogba linked with a move to Barcelona after a bust-up with Jose Mourinho.

Souness has been an outspoken critic of Pogba for some time and the legendary Liverpool midfielder is adamant that the World Cup-winning Frenchman is still a long way from reaching his full potential.

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Asked about Pogba after United’s defeat of Young Boys, Souness told Paddy Power, ‘With him, he needs to sit down and look at himself if he wants to get where he wants to be.

‘I’m a bit like I’d imagine Mourinho is, where you see someone who’s got so much talent, but not making the most of it.

Graeme Souness favours James Milner over Paul Pogba (Picture: Getty)‘There’s a player in there, but I don’t think he’s getting the most out of himself. It’s criminal. I think he has to change.

‘The guy who works with him every day is not seeing eye-to-eye with him, so he’s not happy with him.

‘I imagine he’d see it exactly the same way that I would: you’ve got a young man who’s got the potential to be the very best of his type in the game, but right now it’s not happening for him.’

The Scot is an admirer of Liverpool midfielder James Milner (Picture: Getty)Souness has no doubts that he would prefer Liverpool’s James Milner to Pogba in his side on current form.

‘It isn’t even a question. Milner, every day of the week. He’s a proper player. Who would I rather play against? Paul Pogba,’ the Scotsman said.

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‘I don’t want to play against Milner. But, with Pogba, it’s all about him and his game.

‘He’s not going to stop me, he lets you play, and that’s one of the criticisms.’

MORE: Jose Mourinho explains why Diogo Dalot will be dropped v Wolves after impressive Champions League debut

Manchester United submit offer for Liverpool target Lucas Paqueta

Lucas Paqueta is firmly on Manchester United’s radar (Picture: Getty)Manchester United have reportedly lodged a bid to sign Flamengo star Lucas Paqueta.

Paqueta, 21, has scored 14 goals in 80 appearances since breaking into Flamengo’s first-team back in 2016 and his performances have caught the attention of Europe’s elite clubs.

Barcelona are understood to be keeping close tabs on Paqueta and Liverpool, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are also monitoring the highly-rated Brazil international.

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However, according to Catalan publication Sport, United have jumped to the front of the queue after submitting a €40m (£36m) offer for the sough-after midfielder.

Paqueta has a €50m release clause in his contract at Flamengo, though, and the Brazilian outfit are reluctant to drop their asking price for the youngster.

The youngster has two caps for Brazil (Picture: Getty)The Red Devils landed Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant in the summer transfer window and Paqueta is being eyed as a potential January signing.

Regarded as one of the most promising youngsters in South America, Paqueta has already picked up two caps for Brazil.

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Jose Mourinho has received assurances from United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward that there will be money to spend this winter.

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FIFA 19: How to make 90,000 coins worth of packs in one hour on Ultimate Team

There are two Squad Builder Challenges that are well worth doing (Picture: EA/FIFA 19)Looking to make a quick buck on Ultimate Team? We’ve got you covered! Although the full release of FIFA 19 is still a few days away, the launch of the Web App means players are already trading players and making coins.

One of the best ways to build up your coffers quickly is through Squad Builder Challenges (SBCs), where you trade squads of players for prizes, and there are two in particular that are relatively easy to complete but reward you with a Prime Gold Player pack that would normally cost 45,000 coins.

You will need to invest some funds initially in order to build the squads, but completing both should not set you back more than 15,000 coins, yields a combined pack value of 90,000 coins and could land you a superstar player – just as long as you have better pack luck than us!


Meet the challenge requirements and exchange the players for a pack (Picture: EA/FIFA 19)

How to complete the SBC

Prices paid: Jack Butland (650), Barry Douglas (300), Pontus Jansson (600), Ashley Williams (350), Moritz Bauer (300), Jefferson Montero (650), Joe Allen (350), Dwight Gayle (600), Albert Adomah (300), Mame Diouf (600), Matt Phillips (350)

Additional cost: LM > LW card (1200)

Total outlay: 6,250 | Pack value: 45,000 | Time spent: 20 minutes

Most of these Championship players can be snapped up for their BIN price. This particular SBC solution will require you to get either a LM > LW or RM > RW position change card to apply to Adomah or Phillips and secure a crucial extra chemistry point. Alternatively, you could play 10 games with the side and earn a loyalty bonus (and extra chemistry point) for each player. If you packed any of the above players, they will come with the loyalty bonus already.


The Prime Nine SBC is slightly more challenging than It Takes Eight (Picture: EA/FIFA 19)

How to complete the SBC

Prices paid: Iker Casillas (750), Coke (300), Andreu Fontas (1200), Ivan Marcano (800), Jonny (650), Jurado (700), Vicente Iborra (300), Alex Bergantinos (500), Vitolo (700), Fernando Torres (450), Paco Alcacer (400)

Additional cost: LWB > LB card (200)

Total outlay: 6,950 | Pack value: 45,000 | Time spent: 40 minutes

This particular SBC very nearly became quite frustrating, with rival players buying up the likes of Fontas and Marcano (who play in MLS and Serie A respectively, which is quite rare for Spanish players), but we managed to get them relatively cheaply. Benfica left-back Alex Grimaldo, who would also fit into the team at LB, was similarly being price fixed, so we opted for Wolves wing-back Jonny and converted him to LB for half the price.

Both of the above teams are just examples, and you may find alternative (and cheaper) ways to complete SBCs using players you packed. For further tips on how to make coins on Ultimate Team, check out our handy guide. And if you’ve already built a tidy war chest, here’s the best cheap starter team to begin playing matches with.

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FIFA 19: The best cheap starter team on Ultimate Team

The Premier League provides the best cheap options for making a starter team (Picture: EA/FIFA 19)With the release of FIFA 19 fast approaching – and the Ultimate Team Web App already live – it’s time to start thinking about building a reasonably affordable team that can start racking up wins, and coins, as soon as possible.

We’re not looking for any superstars or world-beaters, just a simple XI to kick things off. Our needs are pretty simple: sweatiness, pace, a double-helping of beast mode and maybe some skill moves thrown in. We’ve scoured the FIFA 19 ratings, and their likely prices, and think this starter team has everything for around 15k-20k…


You can build a dominant defence relatively cheaply this year (Pictures: FIFA 19/FUTHEAD)Between the sticks, Nick Pope (80) looks like he could be the new overpowered goalkeeper everyone will hate playing against, especially now compatriot Jack Butland has been relegated. Pope has apparently grown three inches since the last game, now a ginormous 6ft7, but still has quick reflexes and great positioning. Mathew Ryan (78) and Vicente Guaita (81) are also options.

The full-back positions are stocked with talent in the Premier League this season and Joe Bryan (75), who has been upgraded from silver, looks like an excellent, all-round pick at left-back. Arthur Masuaka (75) has a bit more pace, but that will probably cost a little bit more too. At right-back, Danilo (79) doesn’t have a stat under 70 and could go under the radar, while DeAndre Yedlin (76) is very tempting given his explosive pace.

Nathan Ake (79) has everything you want from a centre-back and pace in abundance, while the fact he is a non-rare should lower his price tag. West Ham summer signing Fabian Balbuena (80) has some serious beast potential, and his jumping and heading stats look particularly good. The likes of Mason Holgate, Christian Kabasele and Caglar Soyuncu could be options if you’re really strapped for cash.


There are some excellent, rounded, skillful midfielders to pick up on the cheap (FIFA 19/FUTHEAD)If you want a powerful, physical midfielder on a budget, Mohamed Diame (75) ticks all the boxes and should have a cut-price BIN right from the off – though look to upgrade him for the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek (77) or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (80) pretty early on. Arsenal new boy Lucas Torreira (78) is another great option: good pace, good passing, excellent dribbling and four star skills.

On the left wing, there are a host of options to choose from. Southampton’s Mohamed Elyounoussi (79) is a good entry-level pick and has both four star skills and four star weak foot. Once you earn a few more coins, Brazilian duo Felipe Anderson (82) and Bernard (80) have 90+ pace and bucket loads of dribbling ability.

On the opposite flank, there are once again a number of excellent options to choose from. Theo Walcott (79) should be relatively affordable for anyone in need of pace and good finishing, but keep your eye on Adama Traore (75). In all likelihood his price will be explode on release, largely because he is the second fastest player in FIFA 19 with 96 pace, behind only icon Ronaldo.


Pace is essential up front and there are some exciting options (Pictures: FIFA 19/FUTHEAD)Every iteration of FUT seems to throw up a few OP strikers that can wreak havoc against even the most expensively assembled squads, and Bournemouth could provide two such players this year.

Josh King (78) has lost a bit of pace since FIFA 18, and will likely need to be converted from CF, but remains an excellent budget striker – and he should be slightly cheaper this year due to those aforementioned changes. Teammate Callum Wilson (78) is likely to be slightly less expensive, but has better physical stats. Andre Gray (75) was an excellent option last year and still has blistering speed, while Michail Antonio (78) has strength, speed and serious ability in the air. Any two of those should form a ferocious strike partnership to get your new FUT campaign up and running.


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FIFA 19: How to make money fast and get a head start on Ultimate Team

Players can already buy and sell on FUT with the release of the Web App (Picture: EA/FIFA 19)There is little over a week to go until hordes of people across the globe will be coming down with mysterious illnesses that force them to call in sick from work, and that can only mean one thing: FIFA 19 is almost here!

But while the official release date is still a few days away, it is possible to start playing the game already – a full week before launch. And for Ultimate Team players, that means you can get a big head start on everyone else!


The Web App allows you to buy, sell, set your formation and more online (EA/FIFA 19)On Wednesday evening, the Web App for this year’s iteration of FIFA was released. If you’re new to the concept, the Web App functions much in the same way as the transfer market does, only it is infinitely easier to navigate – albeit prone to crashing when it is first launched.

When you first load up the Web App, you will receive loyalty packs and starter packs, the number of which is decided on the number of FUT matches played in the previous edition of the game. You will also receive a daily gift, such as packs or coins, every day that you load up the app.


A new ‘player pick’ pack will let players choose their new recruit (Picture: EA/FIFA 19)The launch window for EA Access (a monthly subscription service for Xbox One that costs £3.99 a month) is set for Thursday, which grants you 10 hours of access to FIFA 19 before its official release date. That is a huge advantage in Ultimate Team, allowing players to both play games and buy and use FIFA points, and thus packs, something which is unavailable to those only using the Web App.

If you’re on PS4, Nintendo Switch or Xbox, buying the Champions Edition or Ultimate Edition of the game gets you access three days early, on September 25. In order to avoid eating into your limited time with EA Access, it is best to do any housekeeping (like making your starter squad, picking a team name) and trading on the Web App, with your EA Access hours reserved for playing FUT matches


Unless you got a superstar in your starter pack, start selling! (Picture: EA/FIFA 19)Don’t worry about building a team beyond a cheap and cheerful starter squad at this stage. Unless you got lucky and received an elite player – we’re talking an 85 rating or higher – sell pretty much everything you got from your loyalty packs immediately to build up your coffers. Give them a one-hour listing and keep relisting until they sell.

It goes without saying that spending coins on packs at this stage is a bad idea (but feel free to splurge FIFA points if that’s your thing). Also, hold off on getting rid of those useless, untradeable, zero value players you got in the starter pack (more on that later!) and save up any contracts, healing cards etc for later.

Now it’s time to start reinvesting those funds…


Sign potential gems now and watch their price explode on full release (Picture: EA/FIFA 19)The easiest – if mind-numbing – way to start turning over a profit is to scroll to the 59th minute and look for players who have been listed at a Buy It Now price well below their actual value. Of course, a lot of people will be doing the same thing so you need to be extremely quick to snaffle them up. No sooner have you bought them, list them again. A lot of small profits can start to add up quickly.

Every year there are players who can be picked up relatively cheap, but explode in value when the game is released officially. Someone like Davinson Sanchez is not one of the highest rated centre-backs in the game, but his pace will ensure he’s in-demand. It’s important to know your market and helpful to focus on one league. Familiarise yourself with it: Who’s selling well? Who can you make money on? Which kits are proving popular?


Some SBCs can yield massive profits for minimal effort (Picture: EA/FIFA 19)Squad Builder Challengers (SBCs) let you exchange players from your club to build squads and complete challenges, with prizes ranging from players (even icons) to packs and coins. Some can be easily completed with massive profit margins, and you can dump those untradeable players mentioned earlier in SBCs even though they can’t be sent to your transfer list. SBCs can be done on the Web App to preserve any EA Access hours.


Completing a series of fairly basic tasks will give rewards (Picture: EA/FIFA 19)Before kicking off your first match, head over to the EA FC Catalogue and buy every reward and bonus you can find. Start with the 1,000 coin per match boosts, then extra transfer list space, and anything you can sell on the transfer market (such as kits and badges). You can also complete starter objectives which reward coins and the like.


Squad Battle prizes have changed and there’s a new division system (Picture: EA/FIFA19)You’ve got a cheap starter team, and your coin bonus is active, now it’s time to start playing games! Squad Battles is a very good way to make cash early on, and an excellent use of those 10 precious early access hours. You can play four games per day against the CPU – with even more available at the weekend, and one featured squad to battle – and the harder the difficulty, the more points you earn; the more points you get, the higher you rank, and the better the rewards you win.

This year, EA have also got rid of Online Seasons and instead introduced Division Rivals. After a series of placement matches to determine how good you are, you will be assigned a skill rating and resulting division. Play well and build up your skill rating, and you can move up divisions, and there are a host of weekly rewards on offer.

Remember to reinvest any money you make from matches on the transfer market, constantly chasing profit, but do so via the Web App, NOT your limited EA Access. When the game comes out, you can make a cheap overpowered team of gold players and start cleaning up online, and we’ve got you covered on that front too. Now go have fun!

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Where to watch Champions League highlights on TV and online

Daniel Sturridge was back on the scoresheet for Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday (Picture: Sportimage)The Champions League was back with a bang on Tuesday night with Liverpool and Tottenham both in matches with thrilling endings.

The Reds managed a last-minute winner in their clash with PSG at Anfield whilst Spurs were beaten at the death by Inter Milan in the San Siro.

Manchester City and Manchester United join the fray on Wednesday evening with the Premier League champions hosting Lyon and Jose Mourinho’s men travelling to Young Boys.

Here is where you can catch the highlights of Tuesday’s action and when Wednesday’s clips will be available…

Matias Vecino broke Tottenham hearts with a last minute winner for Inter Milan (Picture: Getty Images)Where to watch Champions League highlights on TV

BT Sport have the rights to show the live Champions League games and the highlights, so you will need to be a subscriber to watch them.

Tuesday’s highlights are shown a few times over the day on Wednesday, with the highlights of Wednesday’s games on at 10.30pm on BT Sport 2.

Liverpool got off to a dream start against PSG (Picture: REUTERS)Where are the Champions League highlights shown online?

The BT Sport website is the place to be for all the highlights of the matches so far.

For some of the best goals as they happen, the Football on BT Sport Twitter account is a handy place to look.

You an also get highlights on the BT Sport app.

Champions League Results Tuesday, 18 September

Barcelona 4-0 PSV EindhovenInter Milan 2-1 Tottenham HotspurClub Brugge 0-1 Borussia DortmundCrvena Zvezda 0-0 NapoliGalatasaray 3-0 Lokomotiv MoscowLiverpool 3-2 Paris Saint-GermainMonaco 1-2 Atletico MadridSchalke 1-1 FC Porto

MORE: Lionel Messi overtakes Cristiano Ronaldo’s phenomenal Champions League record

MORE: Mohamed Salah was celebrating when he threw water bottle, says Rio Ferdinand

Jurgen Klopp hits back at Dominic Solanke jibes after Jose Mourinho defends his use of Marcus Rashford

Jurgen Klopp insists he still has faith in Dominic Solanke (Picture: Getty)Jurgen Klopp has backed Dominic Solanke to fulfil his potential at Liverpool amid criticism of the way he has handled the England Under-21 international since signing him from Chelsea.

Solanke has started just five Premier League games since he quit Stamford Bridge just over a year ago and is yet to feature at all this season.

Jose Mourinho name-checked Solanke as he launched a passionate defence of his handling of Marcus Rashford, given no player has played more competitive matches for a Premier League club than the Manchester United forward (126) since his debut in February 2016.

England Under-21 boss Aidy Bothroyd this week expressed his concerns at Solanke’s lack of opportunities at Anfield but Klopp has highlighted the late development of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane as reason to be patient with his underused striker.

Dominic Solanke is yet to feature for Liverpool this season (Picture: Getty)‘It’s not a perfect situation, that is clear,” Klopp said. He is a young striker and young strikers generally need longer in a big club. If you’re a young striker at another club and you don’t perform and you don’t score then it can be career-threatening because no-one in this world is patient enough.

‘But it is all fine for Dom. He didn’t play as often as he wished, I can imagine that, but he is still developing and still improving. He had good games last season, not enough minutes that is true, but he is still young and will have enough minutes in his career.

Jose Mourinho launched a passionate defence of his treatment of Marcus Rashford (Picture: Getty)‘When we cannot use him as a striker, we still work with him to try and fulfil his potential. I think we are really on a good way with that. We don’t have a problem with young English players not being involved often enough.

‘There is no pressure. I don’t like to talk about what other people said, but Dom Solanke is a fantastic young player. Our situation here is that we have four players in Bobby, Daniel, Divock (Origi) and Dom. We have this squad and we need it.

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‘If Dom works hard – and that is all what he needs to do to secure the rest of his career – then everything will be fine because of his talent and his skills. I don’t know exactly where Harry Kane was at the same stage of his career but it was all over the country playing and not playing.

‘I remember a picture of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy sitting on the bench for Leicester. They obviously didn’t start that day but they made their way. It is really difficult for strikers to get the one spot or one of the two. We are still 100% sure everything will be fine for Dom.’

More: Manchester United FC