Angry AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso singled out forward Andre Silva for criticism after his side suffered a “burning” 2-0 defeat to Croatia champions Rijeka in the Europa League on Thursday.
Milan had already qualified for the knockout stages and rested a number of regulars, but that did not stop the famously combative former midfielder from letting rip at his players — in particular the new signing from Porto.
“It’s a burning defeat. I take full responsibility for the choices I made, which are only mine,” Gattuso said. Naija and Bet
“AC Milan’s shirt deserves respect. This bothers me a lot. We didn’t come here to lose. We made some pretty clear choices, trying to start those who needed more playing time.
“But we need to turn things around and a change in mentality. We need more intensity and desire and all these things weren’t there today. Continue reading “Gattuso angry at Europa League ‘burning’ defeat”
Mauricio Pochettino will hope Tottenham Hotspur’s success in topping their Champions League group will fire up a faltering Premier League campaign.
The 3-0 victory over Apoel Nicosia on Wednesday ensured Pochettino’s side ended the group stage three points clear of Real Madrid.
By contrast, their efforts to improve on their domestic title challenges of the last two seasons have stalled badly and Spurs welcome Stoke City to Wembley on Saturday searching for their first win in five Premier League games.
Last weekend’s draw at Watford came on the back of defeat at Leicester City while Pochettino’s side continue to struggle to make Wembley feel like home.
They head into the weekend round of fixtures in sixth place, 18 points adrift of leaders Manchester City with their main focus now trained on closing the four point gap to fourth place. Place bet on weekend’s games on NaijaBet
Dele Alli’s struggle to find his form of last season has been just one of the factors in Spurs inconsistent campaign.
Continue reading “Pochettino hope for his team’s to improve PL form”
Manchester United have the talent to cope with Paul Pogba’s absence during their top-of-the-table showdown with Manchester City, fellow midfielder Juan Mata said ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash.
Pogba, who has scored three league goals and provided five assists in eight appearances for United this season, impressed in the 3-1 win at Arsenal last weekend but was dismissed in the second half for a reckless tackle on Hector Bellerin.
As the Frenchman serves the first of his three-match suspension, Spaniard Mata is confident his teammates can step up and help second-placed United reduce the eight-point gap to their local rivals atop the table.
“He’s a fantastic player… He’s a very complete midfielder, he can do all things. He will be a big miss but another player will play and try his best,” Mata said. Naija and Bet
“I think we have a good squad and have good players to replace any other player. Hopefully we can win for him.” Continue reading “United can copy without Pogba – Mata”
Arsenal have already qualified as group winners but will be looking to bounce back from their incredible 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at the weekend.
BATE Borisov are currently bottom of Group H but will qualify with Arsenal if they can beat the Gunners on Thursday and FC Cologne and Red Star Belgrade draw in the group’s other match. Naija and Bet
The away side have only lost one of their last 10 matches but have left themselves too much to do here. Arsenal should finish the group stage with a comfortable three points on Thursday.
Arsenal – Shkodran Mustafi is ruled out on Thursday and a doubt for the weekend’s match against Southampton, so Arsene Wenger may rest Per Mertesacker here in case he is needed against the Saints.
Illness has kept Theo Walcott out of Arsenal’s last six matches but Wenger has confirmed he will start with Jack Wilshere on Thursday.
Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview : Arsenal vs BATE Borisov”
Hoffenheim had high expectations at the start of the season as they prepared to competed in the Champions League qualifying round for the first time.
Four months on and Julian Nagelsmann’s team has long bid farewell to Europe’s top club competition and is also out of the second-tier Europa League after a disappointing campaign. Place Bet on today’s games on NaijaBet.com
Following a good start to the season they struggled to replicate last year’s winning form that saw them finish in fourth place, their best finish ever.
A string of injuries and, for European first-timers Hoffenheim, an unusually busy match schedule looked to have taken its toll on the players.
But last week’s 4-0 demolition of second-placed RB Leipzig, including a sensational long-range strike by Serge Gnabry, lifted Hoffenheim to fifth and looks to have given them renewed hope as they prepare to face Hanover 96 on Sunday. Continue reading “Hoffenheim eyes to start winning run”
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane admitted injuries will force him into patching up a makeshift defence for Saturday’s visit of Sevilla after Raphael Varane joined an increasing list of absentees.
The French international limped off holding his left leg as Madrid edged out Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in a Champions League thriller on Wednesday.
However, with the defending champions already having secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League behind Tottenham Hotspur in Group H, Zidane was more concerned with how Varane’s absence could affect a busy end to the year for Real.
After Sevilla, Zidane’s men jet off to Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup before hosting Barcelona in the Clasico on December 23. Naija and Bet
Saturday is the French coach’s primary concern, though, with Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Casemiro all suspended, while Jesus Vallejo is also sidelined by injury leaving Nacho as Real’s only fit centre-back.
“With Rafa he has done some damage to himself, but we will see tomorrow when we do the scans as always,” said Zidane. Continue reading “Zidane struggling to shore up Real defence due to injuries”
It’s a shame a game contested between two European giants is now a dead rubber.
Real Madrid are unbeaten in six but are still looking to rediscover their best form.
Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, are winless in seven and haven’t beaten a top-flight side since September. It’s hard to see that run ending here.
Real Madrid – Gareth Bale is in contention to make his first Champions League appearance since September.
Real Madrid have no other injury concerns, but Zinedine Zidane may shuffle his pack now everything is settled in Group H. Naija and Bet
Marco Asensio, Mateo Kovacic, Nacho and Achraf Hakimi will look for game time on Wednesday night.
Continue reading “UCL Match Preview : Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund”
After the phony war of their first season in Manchester, the rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will resume for real in Sunday’s seismic derby showdown at Old Trafford.
The two managers renewed acquaintances at the beginning of last season after Mourinho took the reins at Manchester United and Guardiola set up shop across town at Manchester City.
Guardiola claimed first blood, leading City to a 2-1 win at Old Trafford in September 2016, but both teams fell by the wayside thereafter, finishing the campaign well adrift of Premier League champions Chelsea. Play bet on different sport on NaijaBet.com
Fifteen games into the new season, City are eight points clear of United at the head of the table and Sunday’s game is being billed as Mourinho’s big chance to stick a spoke in Guardiola’s wheels.
“We have a big week, with Swansea and Tottenham following the United game,” says City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.
“If we lost two out of three and they win everything, they are there. Continue reading “Pep v Jose – this time it’s for real,who will laugh last?”
Liverpool will guarentee first place with a win. A draw would be good enough to secure their name in the next round, but leaves them vulnerable to finishing second if Sevilla win in the group’s other game.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will crash out if they lose here and Sevilla beat Maribor on Wednesday night. Bet Now on NaijaBet
Spartak Moscow know that only a win is good enough to see them through and other result benefits them.
They have only lost one of their last 19 matches in all competitions and have already held Liverpool to a draw this season. Have them left themselves too much to do when they travel to Anfield?
Liverpool – Jurgen Klopp is expected to make some changes to his usual XI with one eye on Sunday’s Merseyside Derby.
Continue reading “UCL Match Preview : Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow”
Paul Pogba says he has “complete trust” in his Manchester United teammates as they prepare to take on Premier League leaders Manchester City without the suspended French international.
The midfielder was sent off towards the end of his side’s pulsating 3-1 win against Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday, ruling him out of this weekend’s potentially season-defining match at Old Trafford.
No team has ever enjoyed a better start to a top-flight season than Manchester City, who will look to take a double-digit lead by ending United’s club record-equalling 40-match unbeaten home run.
“I’m very disappointed because I really want to help the team and wanted to be there for this derby because obviously we are playing City and in this moment we need points and we need to win,” said Pogba, whose team, in second place, trail Pep Guardiola’s men by eight points. Naija and Bet
“Unfortunately I won’t play but I will be there to help the team mentally,” he added. Continue reading “Pogba puts faith in teammates ahead of Manchester Derby”
Tottenham have already progressed to the next round of the Champions League as group winners, so Mauricio Pochettino is expected to rest a number of key players here.
APOEL still have a chance of securing a Europa League spot, but need to better Borussia Dortmund’s result in Madrid in order to finish 3rd.
Spurs may rest key men, but have enough to secure a morale-boosting victory. Naija and Bet
Tottenham – Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderwerield both miss out for the hosts, with the duo injured.
Erik Lamela is back at full fitness after 13 months on the sidelines, but was not included in Tottenham’s Champions League squad.
Continue reading “UCL Match Preview : Tottenham vs APOEL Nicosia”
Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to match his great rival Lionel Messi on Thursday by claiming a fifth Ballon d’Or as recognition for leading Real Madrid to a La Liga and Champions League double last season.
Barcelona’s 30-year-old Argentinian superstar won the coveted award from 2009 to 2012 and in 2015. Portugal’s Ronaldo, who is 32, took the honours in 2008, 2013, 2014 and last year.
The man who came to maturity under the watchful eye of ex-Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson clinched his fourth Ballon d’Or after an unforgettable season, first spearheading Real to the Champions League title before also leading his homeland to Euro 2016 glory in Paris. Place bet on today’s UCL matches NaijaBet
The France Football magazine award is decided upon by a journalists ballot (with 173 voting in 2016) with each naming a top five from a list of 30.
British bookmakers have stopped taking bets on Ronaldo, who is a cramped 10-1 on favourite to win, with Messi, trophyless last season, at 6-1.Behind this pair the bookies round out their own top five with Paris Saint-Germain’s gifted Brazilian forward Neymar, the veteran Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and the prolific England centre-forward Harry Kane all at 33-1. Continue reading “I want seven – Ronaldo set for fifth Ballon d’Or”
Nigeria learned the identities of their three World Cup Group D opponents on Friday, with Argentina, Iceland and Croatia the trio of nations that the Super Eagles need to bypass to reach the knockout stages.
The group was received warmly in Nigeria, where fans of the national side expressed confidence on social media that Gernot Rohr’s side can reach the Last 16.
According to a recent poll, an eye-catching 81% of respondents have tipped Nigeria to advance from Group D and reach the knockout stages for the fourth time.
By contrast, only 19% of those who replied believe that the West African giants will fall at the first hurdle and fail to oust two of their first-round foe.
Certainly, on one hand, it’s easy to understand the optimism on the part of Goal readers; Nigeria recently bounced back from two goals down to beat Argentina 4-2 in a friendly in Krasnodar, and so even though La Albiceleste have won every World Cup meeting between the two, there’s no longer any fear factor. Continue reading “SUPER EAGLES TIPPED TO QUALIFY FROM WORLD CUP GROUP D”
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas worked hard to win back his place in the starting line-up last season and has been rewarded for his excellent attitude, his manager Antonio Conte said.
Ahead of Tuesday’s final Champions League group match against Atletico Madrid, Fabregas has played more than any other Chelsea midfielder this season in terms of minutes on the pitch.
At the same stage last season, Fabregas had started just four games in all competitions. Naija and Bet
“I think Cesc at the start of the last season did not play a lot, but I was very happy because through work he tried to change my mind and it happened,” Conte told reporters.
Conte said that in the early part of last season he started nearly every game with N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic in central midfield but Fabregas played many games in the run-in. Continue reading “‘Fabregas attitude changed my mind’- Conte”
Chelsea have already secured their place in the next round and will secure top spot with a win here, or if Roma fail to beat Qarabag in the group’s other game.
Atletico Madrid kept their hopes of a top-two finish alive in the last round and must win at Stamford Bridge and hope Roma fail to beat Qarabag to have any chance of joining Chelsea in the next round.
Atletico have rediscovered their goalscoring touch at the right time but Chelsea are the only team that have beaten Diego Simeone’s side in any competition this season. It’s an equally poised game but you have to think Atletico have themselves with too much to do. Bet Now NaijaBet.com
Chelsea – Willian and Pedro will push for starts after failing to start at the weekend, but Antonio Conte may stick with a 3-5-1-1 formation here.
Gary Cahill and Tiemoue Bakayoko should both start on Tuesday after being rested at the weekend, while Davide Zappacosta may also be restored at right wing-back. Continue reading “UCL Match Preview : Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid”
West Bromwich Albion coach Gerry Francis will leave the Premier League club after rejecting an offer to stay and work under new manager Alan Pardew due to “moral obligations”, the 65-year-old has said.
Francis joined former West Brom boss Tony Pulis’ coaching team in 2008 and has worked with him also throughout his stints at Stoke City and Crystal Palace.
Pulis took charge at West Brom in January 2015 but was sacked last month after a poor run of results that has left them 17th in the standings, three points above the relegation zone, and winless in their last 13 league games.
Pardew was named the club’s new manager last week.
“It is with regret that I feel I cannot accept Alan Pardew’s and West Brom’s offer to stay on at the club due to moral obligations on my part,” Francis said. Place bet on NaijaBet
“I am sure Alan along with the talented squad of players will very soon change the fortunes of the club in the right direction and climb up the table.”
Manchester United are in pole position to qualify top of their group. CSKA Moscow would have to win by seven goals and Basel would have to beat Benfica in order for Jose Mourinho’s side to finish third.
The Russian giants have a mountain to climb on Tuesday but they have at least warmed up for Tuesday’s trip to Old Trafford with a 6-0 win over Tosno. Place bet on tonight’s Champions League Matches on NaijaBet
However, they is a reason why they are 7/1 to qualify to qualify: Mourinho’s side are unbeaten at Old Trafford since September 2016.
Manchester United – Eric Bailly, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini are unlikely to feature for the home side as they are still struggling with injury, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic has suffered a slight setback and will not be risked here.
Phil Jones has returned to training on the eve of Tuesday’s match and could feature for Jose Mourinho’s side here. Continue reading “UCL Match Preview : Manchester United vs CSKA Moscow”
Nigeria’s focus was on the 2018 World Cup draw held in Moscow on Friday as the Super Eagles learned the teams they were to be paired with in the group stage of next summer’s showpiece in Russia.
Many anticipated a tough group, as the Super Eagles started the day in Pot Four among the lowest ranked teams, and ultimately, the West African nation was paired in Group D alongside familiar foes Argentina, Croatia and debutants Iceland.
It could have been worse, perhaps, but do the three-time African champions have any chance of making it past this first obstacle?
On one hand, this could be seen as a kind draw when one considers that Morocco were pooled with 2010 champions Spain and reigning European champions Portugal. Considering the Atlas Lions’ misfortune, Nigeria can perhaps could their blessings.
However, it could have been easier as well, and the Super Eagles will have their work cut out to advance.
Argentina will be Nigeria’s toughest opponent. Continue reading “WILL SUPER EAGLES ESCAPE FROM WORLD CUP GROUP D?”
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has warned that playmaker Eden Hazard is yet to hit his peak at the Premier League club and backed the Belgian to become one of the best players in the world.
Hazard has been instrumental in Chelsea’s success since joining the club in 2012, scoring twice in Chelsea’s 3-1 league win over Newcastle United on Saturday to take his tally to eight goals and six assists in 18 matches across all competitions this season.
“I don’t think that Eden is at the peak of his career yet. I think he has a lot of improvement (to make),” Conte said. NaijaBet
“It’s important for him to work, work, work in every training session to improve himself and then to have this kind of performance.
“You are only at the top when you win the Ballon d’Or the first time, when you win the Champions League or when you win the World Cup. At that moment, you are a great player.” Continue reading “Conte backs Hazard to score more goals”
Cardiff Devils rose to fourth in the Elite League as they held off Dundee Stars in Cardiff on Sunday after winning at Manchester Storm a day before.
Layne Ulmer and Andrew Hotham put the hosts up before Brian Hart replied for the Stars.
Joey Haddad gave Devils a decisive winner before Joey De Concylis hit back late on.
Devils edged Storm in an overtime thriller on Saturday. Latest ice hockey odds on NaijaBet.
Dane Byers opened the scoring for the hosts, but Gleason Fournier overhauled that early lead with two opening-period replies on the powerplay. Continue reading “Ice Hockey Elite League: Cardiff Devils defeat 3-2 Dundee Stars”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is refusing to concede defeat in the Premier League title race even though his team are now 15 points adrift of Manchester City in top spot.
Mauricio Pochettino has ruled Tottenham out of contention but Wenger is refusing to throw in the towel despite Saturday’s painful 3-1 loss to Manchester United.
The Gunners, who last won the trophy in 2003-04 and have three more points than rivals Spurs, are lagging in fifth spot after five defeats in their first 15 games.
“I am not Pochettino, I am Arsene Wenger,” the Frenchman said. “I am here to fight as long as I can. As long as mathematically it’s possible, you have to fight. You cannot give any other message out.” Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet.com
Wenger believes the performance in the loss to United, who capitalised on two defensive howlers, has revived belief within his squad. Continue reading “Wenger refuses to give up on title despite 3-1 loss to Man U”
Bayer Leverkusen will be expected to stretch their eight-game unbeaten Bundesliga run on Saturday when they host an out-of-form Borussia Dortmund, whose coach Peter Bosz is likely to face the axe with another defeat.
Leverkusen have four wins and as many draws in their last eight league matches, a run that has enabled them to quietly climb the table up into sixth place on 20 points, one behind a free-falling Dortmund.
The team, coached by former Dortmund stalwart Heiko Herrlich, have gradually grown in confidence after a slow start to the campaign, with striker Kevin Volland netting in all three matches in November to take his league tally to eight. NaijaBet.com
Germany international Volland, who scored just six league goals last season, does not need any extra motivation to perform as he battles to earn a place in the squad for next year’s World Cup in Russia. Continue reading “Leverkusen ready to punish wounded Dortmund”
Brazil are full of confidence ahead of Friday’s World Cup draw in Russia — and it’s not all just about Neymar.
Coming back after the mother of all humiliations in that 7-1 defeat to Germany while hosting the tournament in 2014, Brazil are once more among the top contenders.
The Selecao were the first team to qualify for next year’s showpiece, wrapping up South American qualifying as runaway leaders with 10 points more than second-place Uruguay. Place bet on today’s game on NaijaBet
They have a fiery attack, a solid defence and in Tite a coach who in a short time has managed to lift the team from its meltdown and restore the faith of desperate fans.
When he took over in June 2016, Tite inherited a team that may have a history of five world championships, but under his predecessor Dunga had slipped to sixth in the regional qualification. Brazil risked not going to Russia at all. Continue reading “Brazil confident ahead of World Cup draw in Russia”
Raheem Sterling scored a stunning 96th-minute winner as Manchester City dramatically edged Southampton 2-1 on Wednesday to preserve their eight-point lead at the Premier League summit.
Pep Guardiola’s side looked set to drop points after Oriol Romeu cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s opener, only for Sterling to give City a 19th straight win in all competitions and a club-record 12th successive win in the league.
It was Sterling’s third late winner in as many games and will have sickened second-place Manchester United, who had closed to within five points of the leaders by winning 4-2 at Watford on Tuesday.
Elsewhere there were wins for Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and upwardly mobile Burnley, while Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as Everton beat West Ham United 4-0 in front of Sam Allardyce, who is poised to become their new manager. Join the champions on NaijaBet
Everton remain the last team to have avoided defeat against City, having drawn 1-1 at the Etihad Stadium in August, although Wolverhampton Wanderers took them to penalties in the League Cup. Continue reading “Man City win again, Rooney’s hat trick lifts Everton”