Match Preview : Bayern Munich vs Hamburg SV

Bayern need to improve in the Bundesliga again after two draws in their last three matches. Their 96th minute equaliser against Hertha last weekend saved them a point, but with a week of rest behind them, manager Carlo Ancelotti’s side will look to put on a more dominant display here.

Hamburg are unbeaten in their last three matches and in much-improved form after the winter break. They are more stable defensively and danger- ous on the break, but the likely absence of Kyriakos Papadopoulos is a huge blow for the team.

Expect Bayern to dominate the game at home and try to make up for their disappointing domestic performances in the past few matches. NaijaBet

Team News

Bayern Munich – Xabi Alonso should return to the starting XI after being rested last weekend. Continue reading “Match Preview : Bayern Munich vs Hamburg SV”

Ranieri did not lose Leicester dressing room

Claudio Ranieri had not lost the Leicester City players’ confidence before his sacking but there was “frustration”, says Craig Shakespeare.

Craig Shakespeare insists Claudio Ranieri had not lost the dressing room at Leicester City but feels it is “irrelevant” to discuss whether it was right to sack him.

The 65-year-old was controversially sacked as manager on Thursday – under a year after winning the Premier League at odds of 5,000-1 – with the club sitting just one point clear of the relegation zone.

Caretaker manager Shakespeare – assistant under Ranieri – reportedly fell out with the Italian this season, but insists their relationship was always fine.

He also stressed he has had no problems with the attitude of the club’s players ahead of Monday’s pivotal match with Liverpool, saying while there was “frustration” in the squad, he did not feel Ranieri had lost their confidence, nor had they revolted against him. Continue reading “Ranieri did not lose Leicester dressing room”

UEFA fined Celtic for crowd trouble

A €19,000 fine has been handed down to the Scottish champions for crowd disturbances during their 1-1 draw at the Etihad.

Celtic have been fined by UEFA for crowd trouble during their Champions League clash with Manchester City in December.

UEFA has imposed a €19,000 (£16,000) fine on the Scottish champions after fans set off fireworks during the 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

The Glasgow side have fallen foul of UEFA regulations for crowd behaviour on a number of occasions in recent years and were fined more than £10,000 in February 2016 after supporters set off fireworks in a Europa League clash with Fenerbahce.

They were also hit with a fine after a Champions League qualifier with Hapoel Be’er Sheva on August 17, when fans held up Palestinian flags before and during the encounter with the Israeli side.

Match Preview : Everton vs Sunderland

Everton are unbeaten in eight Premier League matches and should be looking to secure a big win over relegation threatened Sunderland this weekend.

Sunderland are rock bottom in the table and two points adrift of safety and David Moyes’ side will look to draw on the fact they won 4-0 the last time they played on the road. Place bet on weekend matches on NaijaBet

However, given Sunderland have lost nine of their 12 league away matches this season it looks like Everton will run out comfortable winners on Saturday. A repeat scoreline of 6-2 when the sides last met at Goodison Park may not actually be far off the end result.

Team News

Everton – Yannick Bolasie, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Muhamed Besic are still sidelined for Everton this weekend.

Ronald Koeman has confirmed Kevin Mirallas, James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku are fit to feature this weekend. Continue reading “Match Preview : Everton vs Sunderland”

Man United draw Rostov in UEL last 16

Joes Mourinho’s side must travel to Russia for the knock-out clash, while Roma have been drawn against Ligue 1 giants Lyon.

Manchester United have been drawn against Russian club Rostov in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Jose Mourinho’s men reached the knockout stage with a 4-0 aggregate victory over Saint-Etienne, having finished runners up in their group, and they are the only Premier League club remaining in the competition after Tottenham were eliminated on Thursday. Naija and Bet

Elsewhere, Serie A outfit Roma have been drawn against Ligue 1 side Lyon, while there is an all-Bundesliga clash as Schalke take on Borussia Monchengladbach. Continue reading “Man United draw Rostov in UEL last 16”

Hazard warns Chelsea not to lose focus

Eden Hazard has warned Chelsea not to lose their focus as the runaway Premier League leaders approach the final furlong in the title race, while crisis-torn champions Leicester face up to life without sacked boss Clau- dio Ranieri.

Antonio Conte’s side are eight points clear at the top with just 13 games remaining and they have a golden opportunity to extend that lead when they host lowly Swansea on Saturday.

Second-placed Manchester City are not in action this weekend because their derby against Manchester United was postponed due to their rivals’ League Cup final showdown with Southampton on Sunday. Naija and Bet

That gives the Blues a chance to pull clear against a Swansea side who will be heavy underdog despite their impressive rise out of the relegation zone under the management of former Chelsea assistant coach Paul Clement.

However, Chelsea showed a rare sign of vulnerability in a 1-1 draw at Burnley in their previous league match and Belgium playmaker Hazard insists his team can take nothing for granted as they look to regain the title.

“We just need to keep the same concentration. It’s more difficult to play away because of the fans, but we are ready, we are professional. We can deal with the pressure. Everything is going good,” Hazard said. Continue reading “Hazard warns Chelsea not to lose focus”

Match Preview : Chelsea vs Swansea

Chelsea have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 11 points when they kick off the weekend’s Premier League fixtures at home to Swansea.

They have won 16 of their last 19 in the Premier League and are favourites to continue their surge towards the title here.

Swansea have enjoyed a resurgence under Paul Clement and are now four points clear of the bottom three after winning three of their last four. The long break may actually disrupt Swansea’s momentum and make this an easier fixture for Chelsea. Predict and Win Big on

Team News

Chelsea – Thibaut Courtois pulled out of a television interview at the weekend after contracting an illness and his availability for Saturday’s clash with Swansea remains in doubt. Other than that Antonio Conte has a full squad to pick from this weekend and has no reason to make any real changes.

David Luiz, Nemanja Matic and Marcos Alonso were among the players to be given a rest last weekend and they will all be recalled here.

Continue reading “Match Preview : Chelsea vs Swansea”

Messi, Ronaldo can score in every game – Mata

The Red Devils midfielder feels people are expecting too much from the Frenchman following his big-money move from Juventus.

Juan Mata has defended Manchester United team-mate Paul Pogba and says he cannot be expected to match the achievements of fellow superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pogba returned to Old Trafford for a world-record transfer fee of €105 million after four seasons at Juventus, and has sometimes struggled to live up to the high expectations at United.

Mata feels the criticism is not a result of Pogba underperforming, but a consequence of unrealistic demands. Naija and Bet

“I imagine it is not easy,” Mata said.

“When the big transfer comes and the expectations are high, sometimes people lose perception of reality.  Continue reading “Messi, Ronaldo can score in every game – Mata”

Alli not to blame for Tottenham exit from UEL- Pochettino

The Spurs boss did not point the finger at the midfielder post-match after his side were bundled out of the competition by Gent on Thursday.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino refused to blame Dele Alli for the club’s elimination from the Europa League.

Alli was sent off for a shocking tackle on Brecht Dejaegere in the first half as Tottenham drew 2-2 at home to Gent, who triumphed 3-2 on aggregate in the last-32 tie.

Tottenham hit the front through Christian Eriksen in the 10th minute before a Harry Kane own goal levelled the score on the night and put Gent ahead on aggregate at Wembley. Naija and Bet

Alli was then sent off for a scissor-challenge in the 39th minute and while Victor Wanyama restored Tottenham’s lead just past the hour-mark, the England international’s dismissal always left Spurs with a mountain to climb as Gent made the most of their numerical advantage via Jeremy Perbet eight minutes from time. Continue reading “Alli not to blame for Tottenham exit from UEL- Pochettino”

Man United favourites but Southampton hopeful

For Manchester United fans of a certain age the name Bobby Stokes will still induce cold sweats as their team prepare for Sunday’s League Cup final against Southampton at Wembley.

With United boss Jose Mourinho enjoying such an affinity with the competition that launched his English trophy collection, United will be favourites against their Premier League rivals.

But that’s what they were in the 1976 FA Cup final when Southampton, then a second-tier club, stunned them with a 1-0 victory secured by Stokes in the 83rd minute. Naija and Bet

Stokes, who died aged 44 in 1995, is still a cult hero at the south-coast club whose highlights since have been defeats in the 1979 League Cup and 2003 FA Cup finals.

While Saints manager Claude Puel can gild his first season in the job with an unexpected trophy, the stakes are higher for Mourinho as he tries to make his mark at a club where silverware is a basic requirement. Continue reading “Man United favourites but Southampton hopeful”

Leicester City sack manager Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri has been sacked as manager of Leicester City just months after leading the club to a remarkable Premier League title triumph, the Midlands side announced on Thursday.

The Italian’s position has come under intense scrutiny this season during a slump that has left the Foxes just a point above the relegation zone.

That follows their startling title triumph, with Leicester 5 000/1 no-hopers before the start of the 2015/16 season. NaijaBet

Not even a gutsy 2-1 loss away to Sevilla in the first leg of a Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday was enough to spare Ranieri, 65, the sack, even though the statement from Thai-owned Leicester confirming his departure from the King Power Stadium proclaimed him the club’s “most successful manager”.

“Leicester City Football Club has tonight (Thursday) parted company with its first-team manager, Claudio Ranieri,” said the statement. Continue reading “Leicester City sack manager Ranieri”

Bayern trio Ribery, Robben & Thiago are irreplaceable – Matthaus

The World Cup winner believes the trio are vital to his former club, with top marksman Robert Lewandowski reliant on their creative ability.

Lothar Matthaus feels Thiago Alcantara, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are irreplaceable at Bayern Munich and that the club’s hopes of winning the Champions League hinge on the fitness of the trio.

Bayern demolished Arsenal 5-1 in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie last week, with Robert Lewandowski shining alongside Thiago and Robben.

Lewandowksi has 25 goals in all competitions this season but Matthaus believes the players behind the prolific Pole are Bayern’s key to success.

“Lewandowski is reliant on his team-mates. He is at his most dangerous when his team-mates get close to the area, find space and set him up,” Matthaus said Continue reading “Bayern trio Ribery, Robben & Thiago are irreplaceable – Matthaus”

Alba wants Isco to join Barcelona

The Real midfielder has been tipped to leave the club in the summer and his former team-mate would be happy for their rivals to secure his services.

Jordi Alba would happily welcome Isco at Barcelona if the midfielder decides to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season.

The 24-year-old has been struggling to secure regular first-team action at the Santiago Bernabeu, making just 11 starts in La Liga this campaign.

He recently acknowledged he might have to leave Madrid to get more playing time and Alba has stressed there would always be room for his former Valencia team-mate at Camp Nou.

“Good players are always welcome,” Alba told reporters when asked about a potential move for Isco. “I have a lot of time for Isco. I still know him from when we played together at Valencia and I know he has a lot of quality. Continue reading “Alba wants Isco to join Barcelona”

City’s always have faith in Aguero ability – Fernandinho

The Manchester City midfielder has offered Sergio Aguero words of encouragement following the striker’s return to the starting XI.

Sergio Aguero’s ability was never in doubt despite his time out of Manchester City’s starting XI, says team-mate Fernandinho.

The Argentina striker has been prolific at the Etihad Stadium since arriving from Atletico Madrid in July 2011, but doubts have emerged as to whether boss Pep Guardiola sees him as part of his long-term vision for the club. Naija and Bet

Aguero lost his place in the starting line-up after Gabriel Jesus made a superb start to life at City following his arrival from Palmeiras, before injury brought an end to his season.

Jesus’ injury saw Aguero return to the starting line-up and he showed his class with two goals in City’s remarkable 5-3 victory over Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. Continue reading “City’s always have faith in Aguero ability – Fernandinho”

UCL Match Preview : Tottenham vs Gent

Tottenham fell to a disappointing 1-0 loss at Gent last week and have it all to do if they are secure a spot in the last-16 of the Europa League. A 3-0 win at Fulham on Sunday certainly boosted morale coming into the welcome of the Belgian outfit.

Gent’s victory over Spurs is their only win in their last four competitive fixtures. Despite holding the advantage, the Belgian side come into the tie as underdogs.

While Spurs succumbed to a loss in Belgium, they have the means to overturn the deficit at Wembley on Thursday night.

Team News

Tottenham – Erik Lamela is out with a hip problem, but is closing in on a return to fitness. Naija and Bet

Danny Rose is a doubt and is unlikely to be risked ahead of the welcome of Stoke on Sunday. Continue reading “UCL Match Preview : Tottenham vs Gent”

Arsenal players are to blame not Wenger – Nasri

The former Gunners midfielder, currently on loan at Sevilla from Manc- hester City, believes Arsene Wenger has been criticised too much.

Samir Nasri believes Arsenal’s current plight is the result of players under-performing and not the fault of Arsene Wenger, who he believes shouldn’t be criticised.

The Gunners have lost three of their last five matches, against Watford, Chelsea and a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League, and have pinned their hopes of silverware on the FA Cup.  Predict,Play Bet and Win Big on

With Arsenal sitting 10 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea and facing elimination from European competition, Wenger’s future at the Emirates has been called into question.

However Nasri, who spent three full seasons under Wenger before leaving for Manchester City, believes it is the players who must take responsibility. Continue reading “Arsenal players are to blame not Wenger – Nasri”

Lallana signs new deal at Liverpool

Midfielder Adam Lallana has signed a new long-term contract with Liv- erpool, the Premier League club said on their website on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Lallana, who joined Liverpool from Southampton for £25 million in June 2014, has made 23 appearances so far this season, scoring seven goals and contributing seven assists.

“I’m very proud and feel quite humbled by the show of faith from the club and the manager in particular,” Lallana told the website.

“Signing for a club like Liverpool is obviously a big thing but to re-sign shows you’ve obviously contributed enough that the people who make the decisions want you to stay longer.

“This is a really good place to be at the moment and for a player who wants to be part of something special, I can’t think of a better club to commit your future to.” Continue reading “Lallana signs new deal at Liverpool”

UEL Match Preview : Fiorentina vs Borussia M.Gladbach

Fiorentina have the ascendancy in this tie after picking up a 1-0 win away to Gladbach in the first leg. They should be confident of seeing out this match having only lost at home once all season in all competitions.

Gladbach have it all to do in this match. They are unbeaten in their last four away matches and have kept a clean sheet in three of those, but they have only won two of seven previous matches in Italy.

Team News

Fiorentina – Federico Chiesa missed the first leg through suspension but is back available for Fiorentina on Thursday. Naija and Bet

Carlos Sanchez will serve a one-match ban in his next European match if he picks up a booking here. Continue reading “UEL Match Preview : Fiorentina vs Borussia M.Gladbach”

Mourinho worried about distant UEL matches

As Manchester United continue to battle on four fronts, wracking up too many air miles is proving a concern to manager Jose Mourinho.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the only goal of the game away to Saint Etienne on Wednesday after just 16 minutes, effectively killing off any suspense in the Europa League last 32 tie that the Red Devils won 4-0 on aggregate.

United would need to negotiate three more two-legged ties if they are to reach the final in Stockholm on May 24, but Mourinho’s biggest concern is over how far his team will have to travel, given they will be playing twice a week most weeks to the end of the season with the battle for a top four finish in the Premier League sharing the spotlight with runs in three cup competitions.

Ideally, Mourinho would like a return to France.

“I’m used to difficult draws, sometimes I think some balls are cold and some balls are hot,” said Mourinho, cryptically.

“If I could choose, I would choose not to travel a lot because in the next (Europa League) round we have Chelsea (in the FA Cup) in between the two matches. Continue reading “Mourinho worried about distant UEL matches”

Valencia two early goals sink Real Madrid

Two goals in the opening eight minutes from Simone Zaza and Fabian Orellana blew the La Liga title race wide open as Valencia beat leaders Real Madrid 2-1 on Wednesday.

The defeat leaves Madrid just a single point clear of Barcelona and three points ahead of Sevilla and now enjoy just one game in hand over their title rivals.

“We lost this match in the opening ten minutes, ten bad minutes where we let two goals in,” Real coach Zinedine zidane said.

“I’m not worried, I’m angry more than anything, because we only have ourselves to blame.” Predict today’s Europa League Matches on NaijaBet

Italian striker Zaza had broken down in tears after scoring his first goal since May at the weekend, but showed his confidence is suddenly sky high with a brilliant volleyed finish to open the scoring on five minutes. Continue reading “Valencia two early goals sink Real Madrid”

Vardy goal keeps Leicester UCL hope alive

Jamie Vardy’s first Champions League goal gave Leicester City a lifeline in their last 16 tie despite going down 2-1 to Sevilla in Wednesday’s first leg.

Goals from Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa had given Sevilla a deserved 2-0 lead, whilst Correa also saw a penalty saved by the inspired Kasper Schmeichel.

However, despite Sevilla’s dominance, Schmeichel’s heroics and Vardy’s strike means the English champions are well in the tie ahead of the second leg at home on March 14.

“We didn’t give up and scored the goal which is important,” said Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri. Naija and Bet

“It gives us strength, it gets Vardy back among the goals and it opens up the tie. Continue reading “Vardy goal keeps Leicester UCL hope alive”

Balotelli needs to show change of attitude

Controversial striker Mario Balotelli has shown few signs of wanting to fight his way back into the national side, Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura warned on Wednesday.

Balotelli last played for Italy at their ill-fated 2014 World Cup campaign, but his international and club career have been in a tailspin since then.

After a lightning start with French first division side Nice this season however, the burly target-man appeared to have stopped the rot with goals and assists coming thick and fast. Naija and Bet

It prompted Ventura to offer Balotelli a way back last month, the coach pledging a face-to-face meeting to “discuss” behavioural problems.

But that prospect now looks slim.

The former Inter Milan, AC Milan, Manchester City and Liverpool striker was issued his third red card of the season last weekend, for dissent, in a 1-0 win at Lorient. Continue reading “Balotelli needs to show change of attitude”

Cameroon will be difficult for Nigeria – Garba Lawal

The ex-international predicts a tough 2018 World Cup qualifying clash with the African champions, but urges Gernot Rohr’s men to be focused

Former Nigeria international Garba Lawal believes the 2018 World Cup qualifier clash between Nigeria and African champions Cameroon will be a difficult contest.

Gernot Rohr’s men will face the Indomitable Lions in a double-header on August 28 and September 2 respectively, with the three-time African kings hoping for at least four points out of six to confirm their place for Russia 2018.

Despite the Super Eagles leading Group B with six points – four points ahead of Hugo Broos’ men, the 42-year-old urged the country’s senior national side not to relent. Naija and Bet

“I’m happy for Cameroon emerging as African champions. Nobody gave them a chance, but that’s football for you,” Lawal said.

“Now we are playing Cameroon in a double header [qualifier]. We’ve played two games and got six points from them. Continue reading “Cameroon will be difficult for Nigeria – Garba Lawal”

Zidane’s players rotation does not affect Real : James

After making seven changes against Espanyol, the Real coach plans more for the trip to Valencia – but the midfielder is confident.

James Rodriguez believes Real Madrid can cope with any rotation from head coach Zinedine Zidane because so many of the squad are in fine form.

Madrid travel to Valencia in La Liga on Wednesday for one of their two games in hand on title rivals Barcelona and Sevilla.

Zidane made seven changes for Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Espanyol and has promised further alterations at Mestalla as his side cope with a busy run of fixtures.

But James, who will hope to get the nod from Zidane having started just four times in the league this season, is confident Madrid will readily adapt whenever any star players are given a break. Continue reading “Zidane’s players rotation does not affect Real : James”

Ranieri demands fight from under-performing Foxes

The Italian is looking for a ballsy effort from his players in Spain as he looks to turn the club’s season around in the Champions League.

Claudio Ranieri is demanding a big performance from his Leicester City players as the club looks to turn their disastrous season around with a trip to Sevilla in the Champions League.

The Foxes sit just a point off the Premier League relegation zone after 25 fixtures, with their misery only highlighted by their historic trophy-winning campaign last time out.

The Champions League has proved a more enjoyable home for the English champions this term, having topped a group consisting of Porto, FC Copenhagen and Club Brugge.

Their reward is a two-legged round of 16 tie against Sevilla, with a trip to Andalucia to kick off proceedings, and Ranieri is expecting a stronger showing from his players.

“Will we have the balls?” Ranieri asked. “I want the matadors. I want the gladiators, I want the soldiers, I want my players. Continue reading “Ranieri demands fight from under-performing Foxes”