Alternative Premier League table: Are Liverpool the team least reliant on one goalscorer?

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How would the Premier League table look without the goals of each side’s top scorer?

To find out, Squawka looked back over the last 27 games of the season and subtracted every point secured through the goal tallies of the most prolific finishers of every top flight club, with Liverpool soaring forward to take the lead in the title race thanks to their lack of reliance on one, stand-out striker.
Sadio Mane has lead the way for the Reds this year with 12 goals from 24 league games – an impressive return for a winger – but due to the team focus of Jurgen Klopp’s attacking tactics, they also boast one of the most diversify list of goalscorers in Europe’s top five leagues, insulating their points return from the affects of taking the Senegalese wide-man away. In fact, Liverpool gain two points thanks to other sides missing the impact of their most reliable providers of goals.

Chelsea’s plummet from the top spot is rather dramatic. From holding a 10-point lead in the real Premier League, they fall two places in this table after losing 13 points won through the finishing of Diego Costa, who has made the difference to the Blues in so many games this season, most notably their tight and cagey 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at home in December and a run of four goals from four games in the opening weeks of August and September.

Without the Spain international’s ability to find a way through to score, regardless of his side’s overall form, Antonio Conte’s uncertain start to life in England could have ended in disaster. They certainly wouldn’t be leading the title race, as this table makes clear.

 

Manchester United also suffer without Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish target man has scored 15 of their 39 league goals this season, and after taking him out of the equation, Jose Mourinho’s side move even further away from the top four, slipping down to seventh from sixth.

Everton, on the other hand, somehow get away with losing Romelu Lukaku, and move up to fourth, suggesting that while the Belgian may well be capable of filling his boots when he is on form, his goals may not be as important as his imposing strike tally may suggest.
The other big casualties from the battle for Champions League places are Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur who have both placed a great deal on emphasis on the goals of Alexis Sanchez and Harry Kane this season. No surprises there. By contrast, Manchester City look to be in a good position without Sergio Aguero, level on points with Liverpool at the top and separated only by goal difference.

In the relegation scrap, it’s clear that Watford would be in serious trouble without Troy Deeney, while Hull City’s transfer business means that their current top scorer is no longer at the club anyway.

Since Middlesbrough don’t score many goals anyway – they have pocketed just 19 in 27 games so far in the Premier League proper – they actually gain an extra three points without Alvaro Negredo, due to the lack of leading scorers around to punish their stubborn defence and force them to concede costly goals.

West Brom, however, continue on happily in eighth, despite Salomon Rondon’s goals being written out of the picture. Leicester City too see no change in their position with or without Jamie Vardy.

 

Every position Paul Pogba can play – and which one he should master at Manchester United.

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It has never just been about price. Even before the signatures were signed on the dotted line to make Paul Pogba’s record-breaking move to Manchester United official in the summer of 2016, talk had turned to how the Frenchman would and could fit into Jose Mourinho’s plans at Old Trafford.

Squawka took an extensive look at where the former Juventus player had performed best for club and country prior to his sale in July and concluded – without surprising anyone – that the answer was a free role similar to the one carved out for him over on the left in Turin.

With Patrice Evra bombing on from full-back, Pogba was allowed to roam from central areas and run into spaces behind his side’s forward line. Liberated from his defensive responsibilities, he was the moving part of a three-man midfield finely balanced to take control of the middle of the pitch while allowing their prodigious match-winner the latitude to take opponents apart as he saw fit, charging into channels, marauding through the final third and dribbling through defences.

 

Mourinho has toyed with the giving the France international a similar role at United, although he also appeared determined to persist with the idea of deploying Pogba in a two-man midfield, alongside Ander Herrera. Since his return to Manchester – four years after leaving to join Juventus as a teenager – the 23-year-old has made 15 appearances in central midfield, 15 appearances in a deeper, more defensive midfield role and four appearances in a more advanced position, as an out-and-out attacking midfielder, across the Premier League and Europa League.

He has scored a total of six goals and created four assists, two goals and two assists coming from central midfield, three goals and two assists from deep and one goal and no assists from behind the striker, usually Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in the hole.

Pogba’s record in this role could have been more impressive had the Swede managed to take chances laid on for him by the midfielder in games such as the 0-0 stalemate against Liverpool at Anfield. It wasn’t the only example of the Frenchman putting an opportunity to score on a plate for his teammates only to see their finishing let him down.

 

Compared with his previous seasons in Italy, the midfielder is actually creating more chances per game. However, United are ranked 18th in the league for converting their chances, and rock bottom as the worst side in the division for putting away so-called “big chances”; those goalscoring opportunities where a player should be reasonably expected to score due to being in a one-on-one scenario or from close range.

Yet regardless of where on the pitch he is set out to play, there is a degree of nuance that must be taken into account, and isn’t covered by counting up the number of games played as a defensive midfielder, central midfielder or as an attacking midfielder behind the striker.

At Chelsea, Mourinho gave Cesc Fabregas a free role in a 4-2-3-1 system, with Nemanja Matic charged with putting in the leg work to cover for the Spaniard as he floated around the pitch, soaking up possession and looking to play the killer ball. No player has completed more through balls in the Premier League this season than Pogba.

 

On the other hand, the Frenchman has been played in a three-man midfield for club and country over the last nine months but with a more disciplined role to play, negating the benefits he enjoyed from a similar set-up at Juventus, yet it is also clear than his manager expects the 23-year-old to take the initiative when it comes to creating chances.

The emphasis of United’s play this season, with Ibrahimovic up front and Pogba in midfield, has been on trying to exploit their exceptional qualities and attributes as individuals, rather than focusing on finding balance and more tactical solutions from the team as a collective, like Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Pogba has responded to his billing by completing more take ons than any other central or deep-lying midfielder in the English top flight, and is second only to Christian Benteke for duels won, with the Belgian striker’s tally inflated by the amount of successful headers he rises above his opponents to claim.

 

Given how fashionable it has become for teams to play with a three-man defence this year, perhaps the Frenchman would thrive in a similar space to Dele Alli or Eden Hazard between midfield and attack in some sort of 3-4-2-1 formation?

That may be one idea that will be forever limited to on-paper theoriising, but even so, those positions work for Spurs and Chelsea due to the space they can open up in the final third up against other common shapes, rather than any magical, inherent properties within those numbers. It’s all about the match up. Pogba doesn’t need a back three to take similar advantage of his opponents’ weak points.

His teammates and how they play around him are extremely important. The Frenchman needs to be the key component in a moving machine rather than lumbered with the ball and few options to call upon. At first, Mourinho paired him with Marouane Fellaini who has too conservative with his passing, leading to Pogba becoming bogged down with dictating play too deep to be effective. Once the more ambitious and incisive Herrera finally replaced the Belgian as his side’s primary ball-winner, his illustrious partner’s play improved.

 

Similarly, the reintegration of Henrikh Mkhitaryan came to be a boon to Pogba too after the Armenian initially seemed to be in competition as the focus of the team’s build-up play. After a run of games, however, he soon became another useful alternative to take on the ball and distract the opposition in order to allow United’s deeper-lying playmaker more freedom to do work off the ball.

Bournemouth may have come away from Old Trafford with a draw, much to the disappointment of Mourinho and the fans who had expected to see their team punish Eddie Howe’s unsteady defence to finally push on into the top four, but there were signs there too, with the return of Luke Shaw, that the Englishman could do for Pogba what Evra once did down the left for Juvenus, with Anthony Martial too helping to weaponise that flank.

That may be the key going forward for Pogba. With rumours of more high-end signings coming in the summer to further complicate the picture in attack, a three-man midfield seems unlikely. A shift to playing 3-4-2-1 would be very un-Mourinho. Moving the Frenchman out wide, as Steven Gerrard once was for Liverpool and England, seems like a compromise rather than a solution.

 

Instead, as was the case with Fabregas at Chelsea, Mourinho and United must ensure all the right moving parts are put into place around Pogba – the surging overlaps of Shaw, the inside runs of Martial, the decoy dribbles of Mkhitaryan, the diligence of Herrera and the link-up play of Ibrahimovic – that he can play his game and justify the hype.

He is not a defensive midfielder, nor is he a box-to-box player in the traditional sense, or an out-and-out attacking midfielder, but a rather unique proposition whose range of abilities encompass aspects of all these roles and positions. It remains the case that Pogba is at his best when he is given space and freedom instead of being shackled down. Of course, he must also show that he deserves these privilege.

 

Too often, he becomes flustered in the crunch moments, over-elaborated upon his game rather than finding the clarity required to turn a match in a moment or simply lost his head when United have needed him to show his coolness under pressure to make the difference. He had a day to forget at Wembley in the EFL Cup final and not for the first time he looked ineffective against Bournemouth, who held out with 10 men for 45 minutes to leave Old Trafford with a point and deny United an important home win.

All of this should come with age. Pogba is, after all, still just 23. He must continue to learn and grow and gain wisdom. United, in turn, must become a team good enough and strong enough to allow their star midfielder to play his own way, with fewer defensive responsibilities. It remains on the player himself to prove he is worthy of not just transfer fee but such special treatment too.

 

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba problem analysed by Frank Lampard and Jamie Carragher

The Frenchman became the world’s most expensive player when United paid £90m to re-sign him from Juventus, but he has been unable to lift them into the top four and he has contributed just four goals and three assists in 25 Premier League games so far.

Lampard, who scored 177 Premier league goals from midfield over the course of a glittering playing career at West Ham, Chelsea and Manchester City, insists there’s plenty of room for improvement.

“It was a signal of their intentions to spend £90m on player who I wouldn’t say is the finished article,” he said on Monday Night Football. “He’s got fantastic attributes. He’s strong, he’s got great feet, he’s bigger than you and he’s quicker than you as a midfield player.

“But when you have a £90m price-tag on your shoulders, we analyse more and we want more. I’m still wondering, what’s his best position? What kind of player is he? What does he want to be?Paul

“I feel a little bit like he has fallen in between everything. When you pay £90m you want to see results, and he hasn’t quite delivered. He’s young and he possibly will do, but as it stands he hasn’t been a game-changer.

“The problem he has is all of our perceptions. Who would you pay £90m or £100m for? Suarez, Ronaldo, Messi. They bring 40 to 50 goals a season. They win games on their own week in, week out. We don’t know that Paul Pogba can do that yet, but he’s being judged on it.

“We need to give him time. We need to flip forward to next season and see if he’s improving his game. But at some stage he has to be that dominant midfield player because I do believe that’s in him. The problem for me is that if you spend £90m, you don’t want a £90m problem.”

Mourinho has used Pogba in a deep-lying, two-man midfield as part of a 4-2-3-1 formation in recent weeks, but Carragher insists he is ill-suited to the role. The Sky Sports pundit referenced United’s 2-1 loss to Manchester City in September, when he described Pogba’s display as “one of the most ill-disciplined” he had seen.

“Six months later nothing has changed,” he said on Monday Night Football. “He’s still nowhere near good enough or disciplined enough to play in that central midfield role.

“He’s a liability defensively, there’s no doubt about that. They should have lost the EFL Cup final. Against one of the top sides I think they would have lost that game and Pogba was one of the reasons why.”

Lampard agreed. “His responsibility there has to be more defensively-minded,” he said. “I think when Mourinho is playing a two, he wants them to defend. He wants their first thought to be security. I feel harsh criticising him because I don’t think it’s his real attribute to do that. I feel Jose Mourinho would want a holding midfield player to be doing that job.

“You do see a link between him and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and he’s trying those long passes, but my question is how much do you want him in that deep role spraying balls? If you want him to be like Scholes in his latter years, spreading balls from midfield, is that the job for a £90m player?”

Lampard insists Pogba needs to be closer to the opposition’s goal. “Pogba has the ability to score and create goals, but from the position he’s in, it’s a long way to go. If he’s not close enough, he’s not going to get numbers as high as he should. It’s a problem for Manchester United and a problem for Jose Mourinho.”

So what’s the answer? Carragher believes it’s a switch to a 4-3-3 formation. “I think there’s no doubt that he’s better in a three-man midfield,” said Carragher. “That’s what you would class as the Frank Lampard position – wide left in a three.”

“I played most of my career in that position and I loved it because the responsibility first and foremost is to get the ball in [attacking] areas and make goals,” said Lampard. “If he’s up there, he can affect the game around the box.”

But as Carragher pointed out, Mourinho needs his midfielders to score regularly if he is to use a three-man midfield instead of a second striker. At the moment, that’s not happening. With just 39 Premier League goals this season, United have by far the lowest total of the top six.

“When Mourinho looks back at the end of the season and he’s going through it with his staff, with Ed Woodward, he will say we need more goals,” said Carragher. “In that 4-3-3 the idea is that you don’t need a second striker because you get goals from midfield. If Pogba is not providing goals, Mourinho is going to want another attacker there.

“I think it’s a massive problem for Mourinho. You’ve spent that much money on a player, that position is best for him, but he’s lacking goals and there’s talk of Antoine Griezmann coming in.

“They’re going to want to spend big money on someone to get those goals. So if they get a Griezmann, or someone of that ilk, he then has to play [behind the striker] and you’ve still got the same problem. If you break a transfer record on Griezmann, he’s going to have to play week in week out, so again, Pogba finds himself in that position in a midfield two.”

Lampard believes the only alternative in that situation would be to play Pogba out wide. “If you’re going to get the best out of him I think you have to give him some freedom,” he said. “To get him advanced, you’ve got to play him in one of the wide areas. You have to swap him with Anthony Martial and get him up the pitch.

“He could certainly play that role but are you getting the best out of him? I know Steven Gerrard did it a lot for Liverpool and he was very effective at coming in off the side, but Pogba’s qualities are more central for me, so by doing that, again, you’re shifting around what might be the real issue.”

It’s a conundrum for Mourinho, but Carragher insists it ultimately comes down to Pogba to deliver. “At the end of his time at Manchester United, there are probably two things Paul Pogba needs to be a success. Manchester United have got to go and win a league or a European Cup, and he’s got to be the driving force behind that.

“I think individually, he’s got to match this man on my right, as well as Steven Gerrard and Yaya Toure, those great central midfield players who drive the game forward and get goals and assists.”

Frank Lampard selects five Chelsea stars in his Premier League Team of the Season.

Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 10 points on Monday evening, as Eden Hazard and Costa struck in a 2-1 victory against West Ham United.

Predictably, due to their utter dominance of the division this season, the Blues featured heavily in an all-star line-up assembled by the recently-retired Lampard post-game for Sky Sports.

The former midfielder also picked two English stars from second-placed Tottenham Hotspur in his 4-1-3-2 system, though none from either Arsenal or Manchester City.

 

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea makes an appearance in goal, despite his 10 clean sheets this term being beaten by Thibaut Courtois (13).

The back-line is constructed of Cesar Azpilicueta, Michael Keane, David Luiz and Ryan Bertrand.

 

Surprisingly, the defence features no Spurs players, despite Mauricio Pochettino’s men shipping a division-low 20 goals.

N’Golo Kante, who has continued his exceptional Leicester City form with Chelsea, has proven his immense value with a combined total of 112 interceptions and tackles – the joint-most of any Premier League midfielder.

 

Adam Lallana is the sole representative of Liverpool, despite their free-flowing attacking play, and is joined by Hazard and Dele Alli. The trio have netted seven, 11 and 13 goals, respectively.

Though the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic surely provided stern competition, Lampard has opted for top Premier League scorer Kane (19 strikes) and Costa (17) in his XI.
Continue reading “Frank Lampard selects five Chelsea stars in his Premier League Team of the Season.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start Zorya Luhansk clash by Alby

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has revealed thatZlatan Ibrahimovic will start Thursday’s Europa LeagueGroup A match with Zorya Luhansk.

Earlier this week, it was claimed that the 34-year-old had been given permission to miss the match ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash with Stoke City.

However, Mourinho, speaking at his pre-match press conference, said that “Zlatan starts” when asked on whether the Swede would be involved in the club’s second Europa League match of the season.

Luke Shaw has been ruled out of the match through illness, but Mourinho confirmed that French forwardAnthony Martial had recovered from the calf problem that forced him to miss Saturday’s clash with Leicester City.

Man United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Feyenoord in their Group A opener earlier this month.ibra

Hendricks: Hearts will beat Kotoko 4-0

A former captain of the Porcupine Warriors, Joe Hendricks, has predicted a 4-0 win for Accra Hearts of Oak in Ghana’s version of El-Classico when the Phobians take on their arch-rivals Kumasi Asante Kotoko on Monday May 2 at the Accra Sports Stadium in the Ghana Premier League.

Speaking to Class Sports, the former Kotoko defender said the current form of the Fabulous club will not be enough to stop the Accra-based club from beating them.

“I watched Kotoko in three matches against Sekondi Hasaacas, Dreams FC, and New Edubiase. If you see the way Kotoko played the last game against New Edubiase…I think if Kotoko use that performance on Monday, [Hearts will score a lot of goals].

…You remember Hearts of Oak scored Kotoko 4-0 in 2000. The players did not play well on [Saturday] and I think that 4-0 will happen again,” he stated.

Hendricks was a member of the 2003 team that won the Premier League for Kotoko.

Hearts of Oak are currently sitting second on the league log with 18 points, two points behind league leaders Wa All Stars, while Asante Kotoko are ninth on the table with 11 points after nine games.

The Role of the Team Physician

Introduction
The role of team physician varies depending on the type of team, the location, team management, and many other factors. This article will discuss the role of the team physician from both a general perspective and the specific perspective of a national team physician traveling to international competitions. The author has had 10 years of experience traveling with various U.S. National Teams during international competition and accompanied the Women’s National Team to the World Cup in Sweden in June 1995, and the Men’s National Team to the World Cup in Italy in 1990.

Personal Qualities of a Team Physician
It is important for the team physician to want to be part of the team. The successful team physician needs to assume a subservient role. In many ways, the team physician is the least essential member of the team. Certainly the players, coaches, and trainer contribute more directly and routinely to the team’s mission. When someone is ill or seriously injured the team physician becomes essential. In this context, the customary role of the physician involving leadership and responsibility is required. The most successful team physician is one who has the respect of the players, coaches, and team administrators as a knowledgeable health professional and can comfortably adapt to a supportive team player role.
The team physician should be committed to being useful and helpful to the team. Often, international team travel delegations are small in number, and there are many chores and duties that need to be done. Although most of these chores are not in the usual domain of a physician, he/she should be willing to help whenever possible. Reports from coaches, administrators, and players indicate that the best team physicians are those who are willing to help in a variety of ways when they are not practicing medicine. Chasing balls during training, carrying equipment, and running errands are some of the ways the team physician can be of assistance. The cardinal sin for a team physician is to be unavailable to players or coaches. Shopping and sightseeing need to be limited and carefully scheduled. When traveling with teams, the players are the first priority with the needs of the coaches, administrators, and personnel from other teams addressed only after the needs of the players have been met.
Efforts to maintain optimal communication with the coaches, players, and administrators are also important. It is essential to work closely with the trainer to maintain a professional and unified approach to managing injuries and illness. It is unacceptable to compete with or undermine the role of the trainer, whose credibility with the team is essential to his/her ability to function effectively. In most situations, the trainer has worked with the players for a long time and knows them better than the team physician. Therefore, a team physician should not do anything to diminish the trainer’s rapport with all members of the team, including the physician. There is no place for medical rivalry or competition on any team.
The physician needs to maintain a professional demeanor and at the same time strike a balance between being too aloof and too cozy. Being upbeat and optimistic is always appropriate. Traveling long distances for international competition is stressful, and teams can use good humor and positive energy.
Finally, the team physician s role is not to second guess or to make soccer judgments regarding players or coaches. Although it is important to understand some aspects of team politics and interpersonal relationships to perform more effectively and professionally, it is risky to become too involved. It is better for the team physician to be perceived as neutral and above team politics.
Responsibilities
The team physician’s first responsibility is the safety and well being of each athlete.
Thoughtful and thorough preparation is the team physician’s most effective tool. The following list summarizes the most important issues that lend themselves to thorough preparation:

1. Learn the history of the team. This includes accomplishments, successes, failures and their coaching and player histories.
2. Know the names of all players and as much about their athletic and personal histories as possible.
3. Know where you will be traveling, especially the local public health issues. You can consult with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta for details on issues such as local health conditions and recommendations for immunizations. The U.S. State Department can also supply information about embassies and consulates. These resources can be useful for information about quality local medical personnel and facilities. Research into these issues should be done before travel.
4. Select appropriate medications and equipment for your trip. William Heinz, MD developed a standardized medical kit for U.S. Soccer based on extensive travel and sports medicine experience. Reviewing the contents of this kit, or other similar sources, can be helpful in anticipating your medicine and equipment needs. If you are traveling to a location where traveler’s diarrhea is likely, you need to bring enough medications to treat an outbreak and provide prophylaxis for the entire team or delegation. It will be necessary to know the prescribing information and side effects of all the medications in the kit. In this regard, the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR), the Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics, and other medical texts are available in an electronic book format.
5. Talk with people who have been with the team previously or have traveled to the same locale. It is essential to talk to the trainer (and coaches, if appropriate) and any other physicians who have been with the team recently.
6. Find out about any special medical problems, current injuries, and previous significant injuries for any members of the team and delegation. Effectiveness will be greatly enhanced by knowing this information ahead of time. Most teams have records for each player that list all pertinent medical information, past medical histories, medications, allergies, hospitalizations, surgeries, and other information. Be sure that either these records or personally created summaries of them accompany the team for possible reference. Ideally, previous contact with the players, including periodic or pre-participation screening, will familiarize the physician with the players.
7. Finally, find out about drug testing that might be done. Many over-the-counter cold preparations and herbal remedies contain banned substances, so players must be educated and advised to avoid inadvertent positive drug tests. In all drug testing situations, be on constant alert so that medications containing banned substances are not accidentally prescribed. Be thoroughly familiar with all the categories of banned substances and with all of the medications in the kit that contain them. Labeling all such medications with highly visible warning labels (to remind the physician, trainer, and players) and keeping them separate from the rest of the drugs in the medical kit can be helpful. Up-to-date information on drug testing and banned substances can be obtained from the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, CO, and through the following Hotline (800) 233-0393 (M-F 8AM-5PM Mountain Time)].

In Country
After arrival, it is necessary to think about possible escape routes and emergency medical facilities and personnel. If a player sustains a serious head, neck, eye, cardiac, chest, abdominal, or musculo-skeletal injury at training or during a game, it is necessary to know ahead of time where and how to take them for emergency care. Often, in foreign countries, language and communication are issues. Fortunately, most international competitions have local organizing committees that assign liaisons to deal with the team. Be sure to make arrangements with them to be available in the case that local medical care is needed or the player and team physician need to be accompanied to the hospital.
Besides an acute injury to a player, other medical situations could arise that require help. Sometimes an illness in a player or member of the team delegation can become serious. Appendicitis, cholecystitis, cardiac conditions, prolonged gastroenteritis can all occur during travel to different countries, and hospitalization or consultation with an appropriate specialist may be necessary. Do not forget that there is always the option of calling familiar expert consultants back home for advice.
For serious injuries or illnesses, the team physician must insure proper care, even when other medical personnel are directly involved. Sometimes the best option is to fly the patient home, by international air ambulance if necessary. Often, the best choice is to allow local medical specialists to treat the patient. In this case, the team physician should be prepared to monitor and assist in whatever way is best for the patient. Physicians traveling with U.S. teams have been called upon to oversee abdominal surgery in the Soviet Union, hospitalization for a serious head injury in China, emergency eye surgery in Hong Kong, and transient quadriplegia accompanying a cervical spine injury in Mexico. All of these situations were handled well because the team physician acted appropriately and responsibly to secure and monitor local specialized medical care.

Food and water
Good food and safe drinking water are essential issues for every traveling team. Although rarely necessary, the team may need to bring their own food
and water. In every location the team physician and staff need to work together to secure adequate sources and supplies. As a general rule, it is best to rely on bottled water in virtually every location. Gastroenteritis can develop after drinking tap water, even in first class hotels in developed countries.
The problem with unsafe water is often the worst in tropical or sub-tropical climates where adequate hydration is most essential for players. Adequate
water supplies (sometimes 2 liters or more per player) need to be available at training and games. Players must be educated about the risks of even washing out their mouths or brushing their teeth with potentially contaminated sources. Ice is also a problem, since it is often made from questionable sources. If necessary, players have to be educated to drink fluids that are warm.
In addition to being responsible for securing safe water and educating the players about avoiding all sources of contamination, the team physician must also be thoroughly familiar with the physiology of exercise and hydration as it applies to athletic performance so he/she (along with the trainer) can advise players and coaches about what they should be drinking and when. Although not within the scope of this chapter, it is also important for the team physician to be well informed about the proper use of carbohydrate sports drinks, the role and proper timing of carbohydrate ingestion to enhance athletic performance, and nutrition in general. Personal experience shows that all athletes are eager for advice regarding nutrition, especially as it applies to enhancing athletic performance. There are many opportunities for education and discussions on these issues during travel situations.
Food can also be a source of contamination and disability from gastroenteritis. In most locations, especially in hot climates and developing countries, raw vegetables should be avoided. Although salads can be tempting, keep in mind that players have been disabled with gastroenteritis from eating raw vegetables in salads in a setting that seemed perfectly safe.
Food can be a problem simply because it is unfamiliar and, therefore, players do not consume it in sufficient quantities to sustain intense athletic performance. Try to work with the hotel to provide American style dishes that the players will readily consume in sufficient quantities and in the proper ratios of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. The U.S. Women’s National Team practices good nutrition and recognizes the relationship between proper diet and performance, especially in intense competition. For example, at the World Cup in Sweden in June 1995, they had to play 6 strenuous matches in 11 days Team personnel worked closely with each hotel staff in Sweden to have familiar, popular, and appropriate dishes served at each meal.
In summary, food and water are important issues for the traveling team and the team physician. Too much attention cannot be given to insuring proper hydration and nutrition during international team travel and competition. The successful team physician should be thoroughly familiar with all the medical and nutritional issues. Long airplane flights and changes in climate can quickly induce dehydration. The physician should be prepared to help players stay free of unnecessary illness (or treat it when it occurs) and provide nutritional counseling, especially as it relates to performance enhancement. The team physician needs to be prepared to make the decision to treat players with prophylactic antibiotics to prevent traveler’s diarrhea by weighing the cost and side effects of the prophylaxis against the risk of illness.
Dress and Demeanor
The following thoughts are based on personal experiences and those of colleagues. These issues can be very important to the success of the team physician.
Personal appearance is an important issue for physicians in the hospital, office, and while working as a team physician. When traveling with a team, it is better to avoid looking like a player or a fan. The team physician should dress with some consideration for professional image, especially when not familiar with the team (in which case the players will be more likely to make judgments based on appearance). Informality, in dress and manner, is generally good around athletes. When carried out appropriately, and especially after the physician is known and accepted by the team, informality enhances communication. When informality and familiarity are interpreted by players as the team physician trying too hard to be one of the players or trying to impress, then it works to the physician’s disadvantage. It is best to be open and approachable and to recognize the distinction between the players and the physician. The physician’s position on the team is unique as neither player, coach, or administrator. The team physician must be friendly and open to enhance effectiveness, but also remember that the ability to be effective requires respect from the players.
At games and at training the physician may often get involved and should dress appropriately. Many national team physicians dress in business suits or a jacket and tie. Although this is appropriate and supports their professional image, dressing in the same game warm-up apparel that the coaching staff wears is not inappropriate.
The team physician will not get along with all players, coaches, administrators, and staff. Yet, it is essential to try. The distraction of interpersonal problems between the physician and players is detrimental to the team and is not tolerated by coaches. It is useful if the team physician adopts the attitude that he/she is there to serve the medical needs of the team and the coaches. It is not appropriate or effective to try to impress players, coaches, or anyone else associated with the team. This is especially true in medical situations. The most effective team physician is honest. If confronted with an unfamiliar situation admit lack of knowledge and do thorough research to arrive at an answer.
Most elite athletes have had a lot of experience with doctors. Perhaps some of it has been bad, but more often than not, the experiences are good. As team physician, it is necessary to measure up to the level of the players favorite doctors back home. Since the players have not chosen their team physician, but have been assigned, the situation requires humility and honesty on the part of the physician. Being helpful and willing to go the extra mile also improves the physician’s chances of acceptance.

Attributes of a Good Team Physician
The role of the team physician was discussed with several elite U.S. National Team players. They were asked what they thought were the key attributes of a good team physician. Their responses coalesced on the following three general categories.
Affability, or general social skills, was recognized as an important quality in a team physician. This includes the ease with which the players can talk to the physician and the ability to communicate well with members of the team and staff.
Availability was also cited as an important factor. The physician should be there when needed by players either medically or just to talk. The physician is not effective or helpful when out every night or shopping during the day. The best way to be available is to spend time in the training room (on the road, a hotel room is designated as the training room). In that setting, the physician can watch players interact with each other and with the trainer, and become part of the interaction. It is useful to arrange specific times when the training room will be open for players who want to see the physician or the trainer. Before training, when the trainer is taping, is an appropriate time. Meals are also an ideal time. While eating, the physician can announce availability or arrange meetings with specific players. It is best for the team physician to attend all team meals, since this is such a reliable time to communicate. Contact with the trainer during meals is also important to insure regular communication.
Ability refers not only to actual skills and ability, but to the confidence that is conveyed nonverbally when examining players. One player explained that she had been examined so many times by so many different doctors that she could get a sense of a physician’s competence and confidence simply by the way he examined her and explained things. Just as players are being watched and evaluated when they play, the team physician is being watched and evaluated when providing care.
Qualifications of a Team Physician
Since many injuries in soccer are musculoskeletal, a team physician needs to have a good understanding of orthopedic diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, the team physician will encounter many general medical problems including upper respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, asthma, migraine headaches, and acute allergic reactions. The best team physician, therefore, is one with both orthopedic and general medical skills. It is beneficial to have experience dealing with athletes and teams under travel situations. It is also essential to have an athletic trainer to work with who has similar skills and experience.

Coaches
It is essential for the coaches and the team physician to have an appropriate relationship, governed by mutual respect. Without the respect of the coach, the team physician cannot function effectively. A good coach will communicate directly and openly with the team physician (and vice versa) and will defer to the physician in matters of medical judgment and player safety. In an ideal relationship there is no need for the physician to be assertive. Yet, the physician must be prepared to be assertive to protect players from injury, inappropriate risk, or abuse. If the coach and physician understand and appreciate each others’ roles, responsibilities, professionalism, and value to the team they can work together to solve problems effectively.

Helpful Hints
I. Have small paper envelopes for dispensing medications. Names, doses, and times can be written on the envelope to help busy and forgetful players remember to take their medications.
2. Dispense medications only one or two days at a time and keep careful records of who is getting what. This insures frequent communication with the athletes being treated.
3. Keep a log of who is being treated, for what, and with what medications. It is easy to get distracted and forget to finish a course of medication or to skip medication that would be useful. Players can be forgetful under stressful circumstances. Through good organization the physician can prevent oversights. 4. Meals are a good time to dispense medications, especially nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) since they are best taken with meals. Many players take them and it is easy for them to leave their medications in their rooms.
5. Because so many players are accustomed to taking NSAID’s on their own, and since multiple varieties are now available over-the -counter, it may be necessary to counsel players about taking multiple agents at the same time and overdosing.

Match Preview: Kotoko v Liberty

Struggling Kumasi Asante Kotoko will host on-fire Liberty Professionals on Sunday at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.

Both sides have met 26 times in the past with Kotoko winning 16 games, drawing 5 and losing 5 games to Liberty Professionals.

The game against Liberty Professionals on Sunday is taking place at the backdrop that Kotoko are currently at the bottom of the league table with five points.

After ‘sacking’ their coach this week, it will be interesting to see how the players of Kotoko respond on the pitch. A loss by Kumasi Asante Kotoko at their own backyard may force the hand of Patron, the Asantehene to dissolve the Management team who are already under intense pressure for their poor handling of their coach, David Duncan.

Liberty Professionals approach this game very confident after beating defending champions, Ashgold last Sunday by five goals to one. Liberty Professionals are currently 4th on the Ghana Premier League with 10 points.

Liberty Professionals away record at the Baba Yara stadium is not encouraging but with Kotoko struggling this season, a fair scoreline for them would be to leave Kumasi with a point.

Recent encounters between Kotoko and Liberty
21.06.2015 D1 Liberty Professionals 3-1 Asante Kotoko
29.03.2015 D1 Asante Kotoko 1-0 Liberty Professionals
16.03.2014 D1 Liberty Professionals 1-0 Asante Kotoko
02.11.2013 D1 Asante Kotoko 1-0 Liberty Professionals
24.02.2013 D1 Asante Kotoko 3-3 Liberty Professionals
13.01.2013 D1 Liberty Professionals 1-2 Asante Kotoko

Latest results by Kotoko in the GPL

03.04.2016 D1 Aduana Stars 1-0 Asante Kotoko
18.03.2016 D1 Asante Kotoko     1-0 Sekondi Hasaacas
13.03.2016 D1 Berekum Chelsea 2-0 Asante Kotoko
09.03.2016 D1 Asante Kotoko     0-0 Ashanti Gold SC
06.03.2016 D1 Asante Kotoko 2-2 Medeama SC
20.02.2016 D1 WAFA 2-0 Asante Kotoko

Latest results by Liberty Professionals in the GPL

03.04.2016 D1 Liberty Professionals 5-1 Ashanti Gold SC
20.03.2016 D1 WAFA                               1-0 Liberty Professionals
13.03.2016 D1 Liberty Professionals 1-0 Techiman City
06.03.2016 D1 All Stars FC
0-0 Liberty Professionals
28.02.2016 D1 Liberty Professionals        2-1 Inter Allies
21.02.2016 D1 Bechem United                 2-0 Liberty Professionals

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