Aubameyang doubtful for Schalke clash

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Borussia Dortmund’s top striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is doubtful for their Ruhr Valley derby against Schalke 04 on Saturday after picking up a minor injury in their German Cup win against Union Berlin, coach Thomas Tuchel said on Friday.

The Gabon international, who has scored seven league goals, did not train on Thursday and Tuchel said the knock on his calf was painful.

“It will be very tight, super tight,” Tuchel told reporters. “Yesterday he did not train and just jogged.

“If he manages to train today then he will play tomorrow. Maybe we will even make an exception and wait until tomorrow. Naija and Bet

“He just has a knock on the calf, no muscle injury. Yes, it’s painful and yes it affects him but you could play without making it worse.”

Continue reading “Aubameyang doubtful for Schalke clash”

It is too early for Premiership title talk – Conte

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The Italian says he is not looking at the Premier League table yet and has confirmed he will be without the injured Cesc Fabregas for the clash with Southampton

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insists it is too early to talk about a potential Premier League title challenge.

The 2014-15 champions moved to within a point of leaders Manchester City with a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Former United boss Alex Ferguson did not name Chelsea among the title contenders when asked for his view this week, despite having witnessed the emphatic defeat of his old side last weekend. Naija and Bet

Yet with just a single point separating the top five after only nine matches, Conte believes it is pointless to discuss who will be challenging for the trophy in May.

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Match Preview : West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester City

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Pep Guardiola has now gone six matches without a win for the first time in his managerial career following their 1-0 defeat in the League Cup to Manchester United on Wednesday.

Despite having gone the whole of October without a win, Manchester City are still top of the league, level on points with Liverpool and Arsenal. City need to arrest that form, although West Brom won’t go down without a fight.

West Brom have drawn three of their last four matches, although they were beaten 2-1 by Liverpool last time out. They have only won two matches all season but are three points above the bottom three, with four other teams bridging the gap between the Baggies and the relegation places.

City have won each of their last six matches against West Brom and scored at least two goals in each of those matches. Guardiola rested some of his key men in midweek and their freshness should give them the edge at the weekend. Naijabet.com

Team News
West Bromwich Albion – Tony Pulis will be without Claudio Yacob after he picked up his fifth booking of the season in the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool last time out. West Brom can, however, welcome Jonny Evans back from suspension.

Ancelotti not worry about goal droughts

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The Bayern Munich duo are struggling to find the back of the net currently but their coach says he does not care as long as they continue to play well for the team.

Carlo Ancelotti is not worried by the goal droughts of Bayern Munich front men Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller.

Lewandowski struck 30 times in the Bundesliga last season, but, after making a fine start to this campaign, is without a goal in five league matches.

Muller, meanwhile, scorer of 20 league goals in 2015-16, is yet to get off the mark this term.

However, with Bayern again top of the table, Ancelotti insisted he is unconcerned by individual goal tallies, and is more interested in how the forwards link up with their team-mates. Naijabet.com

“For me, it is not important whether they score a goal, but whether they play well with the team,” he told a news conference ahead of Bayern’s trip to Augsburg.

Continue reading “Ancelotti not worry about goal droughts”

Mkhitaryan is fit, needs time to adjust – Mourinho

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The Portuguese has confirmed his big-money summer signing is fit and training with the team but has hinted he is struggling to get used to the intensity of English football

Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan is not injured but still needs time to adjust to the Premier League following his summer move from Borussia Dortmund.

Mkhitaryan has made just four appearances for the Red Devils, his last coming in the 2-1 Premier League defeat to Manchester City in September when he was substituted at half-time.

The Armenian international was left out of the squad again for the midweek EFL Cup clash with City at Old Trafford and Mourinho admits he is not injured.

“Mkhitaryan is not injured, he is training with the team 100%,” he told reporters. Naija and Bet

“Some players have the profile of adapting easily but some other players need more time to feel the intensity. Some players need time to feel the competitiveness and the level of work without the ball.

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Match Preview : Tottenham vs Leicester

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Tottenham have now failed to win their last four games in all competitions and will look to bounce back from the disappointing midweek defeat to Liverpool in the EFL Cup. Spurs remain the only unbeaten team in England’s top tier, however.

Defending champions Leicester meanwhile have the worst away record in the Premier League this term and have lost all four games on their travels this season. They did, though, win this fixture last season, landing a 1-0 win at White Hart Lane.

Spurs can exact revenge upon the Foxes on Saturday, with a home win a possibility.

Team News
Tottenham – Moussa Sissoko serves the second of his three-match ban having been reprimanded for an elbow on Harry Arter in the 0-0 draw with Bournemouth.
Harry Kane is back in training, but Saturday’s welcome of Leicester could come too soon for the striker, while Toby Alderweireld is set to feature after being forced off in the 1-1 draw with West Brom.

I wouldn’t be a good fit at Madrid -Pep Guardiola

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It has been claimed that Florentino Perez approached the Catalan to replace Rafa Benitez at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the Manchester City boss is clearly not keen on the idea

Pep Guardiola says he would not be a good fit as Real Madrid manager.

It has been claimed by Guardiola’s biographer, Marti Perarnau, that Madrid president Florentino Perez approached the Catalan to take over at the Santiago Bernabeu before sacking Rafa Benitez in January.

Perarnau insisted the idea was “out of the question” from the start and, on Friday, Guardiola made it clear that he would not be interested in moving to the rivals of his boyhood club Barcelona. Naija and Bet

“I am a Barcelona fan, I don’t think Real Madrid needs a manager like me and I wouldn’t fit there either,” he said.

Continue reading “I wouldn’t be a good fit at Madrid -Pep Guardiola”

Everton need Rooney back – Koeman

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Out-of-favour Manchester United striker would be welcomed back at Goodison Park by his boyhood club after being linked with a move

Everton boss Ronald Koeman has described Wayne Rooney as a “great player” and would welcome the chance to bring him back to Goodison Park.

Rooney is currently out of favour at Manchester United with reports suggesting he has been told by Jose Mourinho that he can leave Old Trafford.

The England captain has been linked with a move to Los Angeles Galaxy to join up with fellow Merseysider Steven Gerrard but Koeman would relish the opportunity to bring him back to his boyhood club.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s clash with West Ham, the Dutchman told reporters at his news conference: “First of all, he’s a great player – he’s still not finished his career. Naijabet.com

“I don’t know what his situation is, I need to respect his situation. That’s not my problem.

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Match Preview : Sunderland vs Arsenal

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Sunderland are still looking for their first win in the Premier League this season having lost seven of their nine league matches this season.

Arsenal’s run of six straight wins in the league game to an end last weekend after only managing a 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough.

Ominously, the last time these two played it finished 0-0 but Arsenal haven’t gone two league matches without a goal since February.

Team News 
Sunderland – Sunderland were dumped out the League Cup on Wednesday after losing 1-0 to Southampton and frustrations boiled over as David Moyes was sent to the stands. Naija and Bet

Algeria appoint Leekens as new coach

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Belgium’s Georges Leekens was on Thursday named as the new coach of Algeria, a post he briefly also held in 2003, the country’s football federation announced.

The 67-year-old takes over from Serbia’s Milovan Rajevac who was sacked earlier this month after only three months in charge following a 1-1 draw with Cameroon in a tough World Cup qualifying group also featuring Nigeria and Zambia. Naijabet.com

Leekens was previously coach of Belgium (1997-1999 and 2010-2012) and Tunisia (2014-2015).

Algeria are one of the favourites for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations title.

They have been drawn in Group B at the January 14-February 5 tournament in Gabon along with Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Senegal.

Ronaldo deserves Ballon d’Or award – Cannavaro

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The forward should claim the lucrative individual gong after helping Real Madrid to Champions League glory and Portugal to Euro 2016 victory, according to the former Italy captain.

There is no doubt Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win the Ballon d’Or, according to former defender Fabio Cannavaro.

Ronaldo is favourite to win the Ballon d’Or after helping Madrid to Champions League glory and Portugal to Euro 2016 triumph in 2015-16.

The 31-year-old – a two-time winner of the Ballon d’Or which has now separated from the FIFA World Player of the Year award – scored 51 goals in all competitions for Madrid last season, while he netted three times as Portugal reigned supreme in France. Naija and Bet

“Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win the Ballon d’Or, without a doubt,” Cannavaro said.

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Liverpool are so enjoyable to watch – Alonso hail Klopp

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He may not be playing at Anfield anymore, but the Bayern Munich midfielder is still keeping a close eye on his former club and has paid tribute to their German manager.

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has lavished praise on manager Jurgen Klopp for embracing the culture at Anfield.

A replacement for Brendan Rodgers in October last year, Klopp was an immediate fan favourite and the charismatic German appears to be making his mark on Liverpool in his first full season at the helm.

With his thrilling end-to-end football, described as “heavy metal” in his own words, Liverpool are third in the Premier League – level on points with table-topping Manchester City and Arsenal. Naija and Bet

And Bayern Munich veteran Alonso, who won the Champions League with Liverpool during a five-year spell on Merseyside, has been impressed with the 49-year-old.

“It was a big boost for the city and the club to have such a prestigious manager wanting to manage Liverpool,” he said.

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Arsenal striker Perez out for eight weeks

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The forward, who moved to England from Deportivo last summer, may not play for the Gunners again in 2016 after sustaining an ankle injury in Tuesday’s EFL Cup win over Reading

Arsenal striker Lucas Perez is facing up to eight weeks on the sidelines after damaging ankle ligaments in the win over Reading in midweek, Arsene Wenger has confirmed.

Perez, who joined the club from Deportivo La Coruna in August for around £17million, sustained the injury following a tackle from Reading substitute Danzell Gravenberch in the second half of Tuesday’s 2-0 EFL Cup triumph. Naija and Bet

Wenger, who takes his team to struggling Sunderland on Saturday, told reporters at his news conference: “We’re going to be missing him for a few weeks. Continue reading “Arsenal striker Perez out for eight weeks”

Man City seeks to end winless record run

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Manchester City’s form under Pep Guardiola is beginning to show similarities to their final season under his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini, with a fast start followed by an autumn stumble.

Last season, City won their opening five matches under Pellegrini, then fell away so badly that they only just secured England’s fourth and final Champions League qualification place.

Guardiola, whose team visit West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday, would not be satisfied with a repeat performance.

Yet having won his first 10 competitive games with the club, he has gone six without victory since. Naija and Bet

It is the longest win less run of his managerial career, an unwanted record secured on Wednesday as his team were beaten 1-0 at Manchester United in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.

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Barca Players report is ‘irresponsible’ – Javier Tebas

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Barcelona reported La Liga president Javier Tebas to Spain’s highest sports court on Thursday after he questioned the Barca players’ conduct during a heated 3-2 win at Valencia last weekend.

Luis Suarez and Neymar were hit by a plastic bottle thrown by Valencia fans as Barca celebrated Lionel Messi’s 94th-minute winner on Saturday.

A disciplinary committee of the Spanish Football Federation fined Valencia €1 500 on Wednesday and said a repeat could result in a stadium closure.

However, the committee also criticised the “reproachable behaviour” of the Barca players as Neymar and Messi were recorded shouting obscenities towards the Valencia fans. Naija and Bet

“The most serious thing is the thrown bottle, but some players acted in a way we don’t like,” Tebas said of the incident earlier this week.

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FA hit Moyes with misconduct charge

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Sunderland manager David Moyes was charged by England’s governing Football Association with misconduct on Thursday after being ordered off the touchline during Wednesday’s 1-0 League Cup fourth-round loss away to Southampton.

Former Everton and Manchester United manager Moyes was sent to the stands after complaining about a decision by referee Chris Kavanagh not to award a late penalty after Maya Yoshida appeared to trip Victor Anichebe in the box.

Scottish boss Moyes said afterwards he had had been dismissed for swearing at fourth official James Adcock.

“David Moyes has been charged with misconduct by the FA in relation to Sunderland’s EFL Cup tie against Southampton,” said an FA statement issued Thursday. Naija and Bet

“It is alleged that in or around the 90th minute of the fixture Moyes used abusive and/or insulting words towards a match official.

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Lyon ready to get back on track after slump

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Struggling Lyon will attempt to halt their alarming dip in form away to Toulouse on Saturday as the pressure mounts on Bruno Genesio following a run of five defeats in six matches.

Lyon lurched into crisis mode after crashing to a 3-1 home reverse against Guingamp last weekend, and it won’t get any easier against a Toulouse side that has been rejuvenated under Pascal Dupraz.

“We’re going through a difficult period. We must rediscover our confidence. Lots of things are linked to that. We have to keep working together,” Genesio said. Naija and Bet

Captain Maxime Gonalons was seen remonstrating with unhappy supporters after Lyon’s latest defeat, their second already at Parc OL this season, and admitted the current outlook at the club was troubling.

“The situation is serious, very serious even,” said Gonalons. “We understand the unhappiness of the fans but we’re in the same situation. It’s worrying and we must get back on track.”

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Man United focus on Burnley win

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Jose Mourinho’s mood was a little brighter on Wednesday after an EFL Cup victory over Manchester City, but there is still much work to be done in order to get his season back on track.

The Manchester United manager issued a public apology to the club’s supporters after an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Chelsea last Sunday, which left his team seventh in the Premier League.

Despite only winning one of their last six league matches, United are just six points behind leaders City as they go into Saturday’s home match against Burnley.

There is plenty of time to close the gap, and winger Juan Mata is optimistic that an improvement in form is imminent. Naija and Bet

“After a defeat, everyone is going to speak badly about the team, about the manager. But we, as a group, need to stay strong and believe we can do great things together,” said Mata.

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Real hope for misfiring Ronaldo start scoring again

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Real Madrid are hoping Cristiano Ronaldo can end a lean period in front of goal as they attempt to keep their noses in front of a tight five-way race atop La Liga at Alaves on Saturday.

Madrid bounced back from a four-game draw streak in style by scoring 20 goals in winning their last four outings to move back top of the table and take big strides towards progress in the Champions League and Copa del Rey.

However, Ronaldo has scored just one of those 20 and his return of four goals from nine appearances is by a distance his worst strike rate at this stage of the campaign since joining Madrid seven years ago.

Ronaldo was even whistled by Real’s demanding fan base at the Santiago Bernabeu during last weekend’s 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao. Naijabet

“I would prefer him to score two or three goals in every match, but I am not worried because I know it will pass,” said Real boss Zinedine Zidane.

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Liverpool aim to storm Palace in PL title bid

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Liverpool will look to underline the strength of their squad when they continue their Premier League title challenge away to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Having survived a nervous finish as his team beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 in the Premier League last Saturday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp fielded a completely different starting 11 against Tottenham Hotspur in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, and secured another 2-1 victory.

Such squad rotation should ensure Klopp has plenty of players fresh enough for the visit to Crystal Palace, when his team will seek to extend an unbeaten run in all competitions of 10 matches. Naijabet.com

Most of those who impressed on Tuesday, among them 18-year-olds Ovie Ejaria and Trent Alexander-Arnold, will return to the fringes this weekend, but midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum sees no reason why they should not be called on again.

“I think it’s a good sign for a team that you have players who can come in and fit into the team immediately,” Wijnaldum said. “And it’s easy to make changes for a manager.

Continue reading “Liverpool aim to storm Palace in PL title bid”

Zidane was behind one of my best seasons – Ronaldo

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The Portugal international scored 51 goals in the last campaign and lifted the Champions League, a feat for which he gives credit to the coach

Cristiano Ronaldo says Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane was the catalyst for one of the best seasons of his career in 2015-16.

Zidane replaced the sacked Rafael Benitez at the Santiago Bernabeu in January and led the club to their 11th Champions League trophy.

Ronaldo ended last season with 51 goals – including 16 in the Champions League – and went on to win Euro 2016 with Portugal. Naijabet.com

The forward is now the odds-on favourite to win the Ballon d’Or having been included in the 30-man shortlist for the award and he credits Zidane for much of that, hailing his ability to boost the squad’s morale within a short space of time.

Asked who had been the best boss when it came to lifting the dressing room, Ronaldo – “Zinedine Zidane was a perfect example of that last season.

Continue reading “Zidane was behind one of my best seasons – Ronaldo”

Ayew returns as Hammers down Chelsea

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Ghana vice captain Andre Ayew made a return to first team action as he came off the bench in West Ham’s 2-1 victory over Chelsea in the EFL Cup.

Ayew had been out of action for two months after hobbling off on his premiership debut for the Hammers. Ayew came on for Argentine Manuel Lanzini in the 78th minute as he made his home debut for the London side. Naijabet.com

And his welcome from the fans could have been instantly rewarded as the attacker almost extended the lead for his club minutes after entering the fray, but he headed wide a Dimitry Payet cross.

This cameo will be great news for Ghana and Avram Grant as the Black Stars are set to play Egypt in a crunch World Cup qualifier in three weeks.

Vardy will start scoring again very soon – Southgate

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England caretaker boss Gareth Southgate on Thursday backed Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy to rediscover his best form after suffering his worst scoring drought in almost two years.

Vardy, one of 30 players shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or this week, has not scored in his last 10 appearances for club and country and was dropped by Foxes coach Claudio Ranieri last weekend.

Last season Vardy found the net in a record 11 successive Premier League matches with his 24 goals helping spur Leicester towards their improbable title triumph. Naijabet.com

However, the 29-year-old has scored just three times this term and was left out of Leicester’s starting line-up for the first time in the league since March 2015 in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.

“All goalscorers have periods where they are not scoring. History and records over the years shows you what they are likely to fall back into and his scoring record is phenomenal,” Southgate said.

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Klopp has done a wonderfull job at Liverpool – Sir Alex Ferguson

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The Scot has been impressed by the German who he feels has done a great job on Merseyside and says it is absolutely vital big clubs have managers with strong personalities

Sir Alex Ferguson says Jurgen Klopp has made Liverpool into strong Premier League title contenders since arriving at Anfield.

The former Manchester United manager has been hugely impressed by Klopp, whose side sit level on points with leaders Manchester City after nine games in his first full season at the helm.

Sir Alex, who has previously praised the ex-Borussia Dortmund boss, thinks there are five teams in with a chance of the title, but makes City favourites and Liverpool major rivals.

“He has done a really good job and revived Liverpool’s enthusiasm,” the Old Trafford icon said to about Klopp. Naijabet.com

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Messi and I are not good friends – Ronaldo

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The Real Madrid star says he is not close to the Argentine ace and has played down the rivalry between the two players considered to be the best in the world

Cristiano Ronaldo has downplayed the significance of his rivalry with Lionel Messi and stressed that there is a mutual respect between them, even though the two are not friends.

The Real Madrid star and his Barcelona counterpart have dominated the Ballon d’Or election over the past eight years and they are widely regarded as the two best players in the game. Naijabet

There is an ongoing debate about who is the better of the pair, but Ronaldo is adamant there is no bitterness between the two.

Continue reading “Messi and I are not good friends – Ronaldo”