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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

WADA will not contest UEFA's Mamadou Sakho drug ban verdict

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno and Mark Donaldson address the day's rumour mill.

The uncertainty over Mamadou Sakho's immediate playing future was put to rest on Tuesday after the World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed that they won't appeal against UEFA's decision to absolve him of taking a banned substance.

The Liverpool defender was banned by UEFA in April for 30 days after testing positive for a "fat-burning" substance called Higenamine.

UEFA's independent Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB), however, opted not to extend the suspension in May as there was debate over...

 By PA Sport

Romelu Lukaku's slow start in return 'can happen for strikers' - Koeman

Lukaku vs Yeovil 160823
Romelu Lukaku looked rusty in his first start since returning to action for Everton following his participation in Euro 2016.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman insists he is not worried about Romelu Lukaku's early-season form.

The Belgium international, who was one of the later arrivals back to training after Euro 2016, drew a blank on his first start of the season in the 4-0 EFL Cup win at home to League Two Yeovil.

Despite a number of chances, he looked short of the sharpness which brought him 25 goals last season and he was even outshone by substitute Arouna Kone, who scored his first goals since January with a late double.

"I...

 By Michael Cox

Disappointing lack of deep-lying playmakers in the Premier League

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno and Mark Donaldson assess how Antonio Conte will utilize Chelsea's back line this season.
Michael Ballack says that Pep Guardiola is "fanatic about perfection," and will need time to instil that in his Man City side.

The most pivotal player in a modern, top-flight football team is not the goal-grabbing striker. It's not the goalkeeper. It's not even the mercurial, creative No. 10.

No, the most crucial player is the deepest midfielder, who simultaneously shields the defence and starts passing moves.

The identity and style of this player influences a team's approach more than any other. Defensive midfielder or deep-lying playmaker, he occupies the same position on the pitch but takes on a different role and, consequently,...