Southgate named as England permanent manager

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Gareth Southgate will lead England towards the 2018 World Cup and 2020 European Championship after being appointed as permanent manager of the national team by the FA on Wednesday.

The 46-year-old succeeds Sam Allardyce who departed 67 days into his reign after being caught up in a newspaper sting.

In a statement released after a meeting of the Football Association board at St George’s Park, the FA said the former England defender had agreed a four-year contract. Naija and Bet

Southgate, who was in charge of England’s under 21s for 32 games, has overseen two wins and a draw in the three World Cup qualifying games he has overseen as interim manager, leaving England top of the group. He also saw his side draw with Spain.

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Gareth Bale surgery was successful

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Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale has undergone successful surgery on his right ankle in London, the club said on Tuesday. Naijabet

The Wales international damaged tendons in his ankle during his team’s 2-1 Champions League victory at Sporting Lisbon on November 22.

“Our player Gareth Bale has undergone today successful surgery to repair damaged tendons in his right ankle,” Real said in a statement.

“The operation took place at King Edward VII Hospital in London by doctor James Calder and Real Madrid Sanitas doctor Mikel Aramberri, under the supervision of doctor Jesus Olmo, head of Real Madrid’s medical services.”

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Iniesta set to be fit for Clasico at Nou Camp

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Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta is available to play against Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the season on Saturday at the Nou Camp, coach Luis Enrique said on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old midfielder damaged knee ligaments last month and returned to training on Friday.

“Andres is waiting to be given the all clear by the doctors but this is just a formality. He is fit and he has been training with us,” Luis Enrique said.

“He is available for selection.” Place your bet on Naijabet.com

The Spain international missed Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad, a result that left Barca six points adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid, who are unbeaten in 31 games in all competitions.

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Walcott target scoring more goals

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Arsenal forward Theo Walcott is eager to continue his rich vein of form by scoring 10 goals before Christmas, which he plans to celebrate by receiving a coffee machine as a gift from his wife.

The England international scored in Sunday’s 3-1 Premier League victory over Bournemouth to take his tally up to nine goals in 15 appearances this season.

“I want to get 10 (goals) so I can get a coffee machine for Christmas from my wife. She said ‘if you get 10 goals before Christmas I’ll buy you this coffee machine’,” Walcott said. Naija and Bet

“So I can’t wait for that and hopefully it will happen. Coming from the wing as well, I’m obviously delighted with my goals so far. There’s been a lot of ups and downs but hopefully… we’re back to the level we want to be at.”

Winger Alexis Sanchez has excelled since moving into a central role this season, having scoring 10 goals in 18 appearances, and Walcott has said that he had also benefited from the Chile international’s positional shift.

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Mourinho looks like he’s trying to get sacked’ – Tony Gale

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Premier League title winner Tony Gale feels the Portuguese coach is short on ideas and ‘looking for an out’ just a few months into his Old Trafford reign.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho “looks like a man that’s trying to get sacked”, according to Premier League title winner Tony Gale.

The Portuguese is only a few months into the contract he penned upon his arrival at Old Trafford over the summer, and recently expressed a desire to work past the end of an initial three-year deal.

He is struggling to light a fire under the Red Devils, though, and will continue to face uncomfortable questions for as long as his side falter.

Mourinho has also shown signs of the pressure starting to tell of late, with his latest touchline outburst resulting in him being sent to stands during a frustrating 1-1 draw with West Ham. Naija and Bet

And Gale, who lifted the top-flight crown with Blackburn in 1994-95, believes the former Chelsea boss is running out of ideas and is “looking for an out” after refusing to commit himself fully to a new life in Manchester.

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El Clasico crucial to Barca than Real : Pique

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The defender has warned his team-mates that they cannot afford to lose to their arch-rivals for the sake of their title bid, given how often they have slipped up already.

Gerard Pique admitted the upcoming El Clasico is more important for Barcelona than Real Madrid, warning that his team cannot afford to lose.

Madrid are flying high atop La Liga, six points clear of their rivals ahead of Saturday’s encounter at Camp Nou. Naijabet.com

Luis Enrique’s men have stuttered in the start of their title defence this term, and were held to a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

And the need to make up for lost ground makes the clash crucial for Barcelona, who have now drawn consecutive games, according to Pique.

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Del Bosque backs Simeone for FIFA best coach

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The former Spain boss would have loved to see a compatriot lift the prize but cannot fairly say that any deserve it more than the Atletico Madrid coach given his achievements there.

Vicente del Bosque believes Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone deserves to be named the Best FIFA Men’s Coach ahead of Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique.

Del Bosque, who retired from coaching in June, won the prize in 2012, while he was runner-up two years earlier. Naija and Bet

Simeone led Atletico to third in La Liga and a runner-up finish in the Champions League last season and Del Bosque backed the Argentinian for the award.

Also shortlisted for the prize are the likes of Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Zinedine Zidane, Claudio Ranieri and Fernando Santos.

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Giroud is frustrated due to lack of playing time – Walcott

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The Gunners forward acknowledges that a lack of game time will be troubling the France international striker but considers him to be important to Arsene Wenger’s cause.

Theo Walcott acknowledges that Olivier Giroud “will be frustrated” at finding himself out of the Arsenal starting XI, but feels that the Frenchman still has plenty to offer.

Arsene Wenger has tinkered with his forward line at the start of the 2016-17 campaign, with Alexis Sanchez being favoured in a central striking role.

Moving the Chilean inside from a wide berth has left Giroud on the outside looking in. He is having to make peace with life on the bench, with the Gunners opting to use him as more of an impact substitute than a regular starter. Naija and Bet

Giroud has been making his mark, though, with a double against Sunderland followed by a late equaliser in a crunch Premier League encounter with Manchester United.

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Hazard wary of city top player threat

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The Blues will face Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday and their Belgian forward is crossing his fingers that his countryman will endure an off day.

Eden Hazard admits that Belgium international colleague Kevin De Bruyne is a “top player” and a man capable of troubling Chelsea when they travel to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The Blues have surged to the top of the Premier League table but will face another stern test of their title credentials in their next outing.

Seven successive wins have carried Antonio Conte’s side to the summit, with the goals flowing and key men performing at the peak of their powers. Naija and Bet

The defensive unit has also proved to be watertight, with Tottenham breaching the Chelsea back line for the first time in 601 minutes last time out.

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Eagles are on track to 2018 WC in Russia : Eguavoen

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The former national team player believes the country is just four points away from securing a ticket to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Ex-international, Austin Eguavoen has insisted that Nigeria must target victories against Cameroon and Zambia at home to seal their ticket to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Super Eagles lead Group B with six points after two games, and the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations winner says the three-time African kings are already on the right track, adding that they must keep the momentum to achieve the desired result.

“It’s completely in our hands, we cannot afford to throw it away, and the boys must understand that it is not how beautiful we play now; it is securing maximum points in every game we play,” Eguavoen said. Naijabet.com

“I’ve said it before the qualifiers started that if we can get a point in Zambia, we are on course, if we fail to get a point in Zambia, we would struggle, and after the game, we got three points which was very good.

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Guardiola might win the battle against Conte

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Ex-England international Stan Collymore has been more impressed with the start made to Premier League life by the man at Chelsea than the greatly hyped Manchester City boss.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola “might win the battle” with Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte, as they prepare to lock horns on Saturday, but former Stan Collymore says that he might not “win the war”.

Both men are new to Premier League coaching circles, having taken up their respective posts over the summer. Naijabet

They arrived with glowing reputations formed in previous jobs, with Guardiola credited with turning Barcelona into a modern day superpower, while backing up that success with more titles at Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

Conte, meanwhile, has worked his way up to the top, with spells at Juventus and the Italy national side seeing him prove his worth as a man-manager and tactical genius.

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Pochettino task Sissoko to prove his worth

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has warned French midfielder Moussa Sissoko he must raise his game if he wants to win a place in the first team.

Sissoko joined Spurs from Newcastle United in a club record-equalling £30 million deal during the close season. But he has made only four Premier League starts this season and was left out of the squad for Spurs’ last two league games, the latest of which was Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea.

“Football is not about money,” Pochettino said. Naija and Bet

“You show on the training ground you are better than another team-mate and you deserve to be involved.

“I need to take a decision and I believe the players that start on the bench deserve to be involved in the game (against Chelsea). It is not another thing to focus on.”

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United are still in PL title race – Yaya Toure

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The Ivorian midfielder, who has returned to the fold at the Etihad after a prolonged absence, insists that his side’s city rivals can still win the Premier League.

Manchester United are still one of six teams in the race to win the Premier League, according to Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.

City are level on points with Liverpool, and one adrift of leaders Chelsea in a tightly contested field after 13 games. Naija and Bet

But Toure will not rule out the teams behind his side, including Arsenal, Tottenham and even Jose Mourinho’s United, who are 11 points behind Chelsea.

“To be honest it’s Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United,” Toure told reporters when asked who City’s title rivals were.

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I would like to retire at Real Madrid – Kroos

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The Germany international midfielder insists that, out of respect for the fans, he would not make the move to Camp Nou and that he could end his playing career in 2022.

Toni Kroos insists he would not consider switching Real Madrid for Barcelona and has revealed he could retire at the end of his current contract.

The likes of Michael Laudrup, Luis Enrique, Luis Figo and Ronaldo have all played for the two Clasico rivals during their career, but Kroos has no interest in joining that list.

The midfielder signed a new contract last month to keep him at Santiago Bernabeu until 2022, which would see him remain in the Spanish capital until the age of 32.

And following the expiration of that deal the Germany international has suggested he will retire rather than look for another club.

“I do not envisage going to Barcelona,” he said. Naija and Bet 

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Guardiola pleased city PL and CL schedule

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Manager Pep Guardiola is pleased with how well his Manchester City side have coped with their demanding schedule this season as they have managed to stay close to the Premier League summit despite their European commitments.

City have not only progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League but are also well-placed to launch an assault of the league title, sitting third in the table on 30 points, one behind leaders Chelsea after 13 games.

“To be honest (the title race) is Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham (Hotspur) and Manchester United. The league this year is unpredictable and it’s going to be decided in the last two or three months,” Guardiola told British media.

City’s rivals Chelsea and second-placed Liverpool have taken full advantage of the absence of European football in their sporting calendar to climb up the table.

“We’ll have played eight more games – terrible games – in the Champions League than Chelsea and Liverpool and we are there. That’s why the first part of the season is so satisfying,” Guardiola added. Naijabet.com

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Wenger : Arsenal had to steady their nerves

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Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal had to conquer their nerves before securing the 3-1 win that thrust them back in the Premier League title race.

Wenger’s side had fallen six points behind leaders Chelsea after drawing three of their last four league games and they were in danger of another damaging setback at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Having led through Alexis Sanchez’s early goal, the Gunners were pegged back by Callum Wilson’s controversial penalty midway through the first half.

With the Arsenal faithful getting restless, Wenger revealed he had tried to calm his players down at halftime as they wrestled with the anxieties caused by three successive draws. Naijabet.com

They responded to Wenger’s pep talk by scoring twice after halftime through Theo Walcott and Sanchez to move within three points of Chelsea.

“We started well but when they equalised we became nervous,” Wenger said.

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Alves injury a big blow to Juventus

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Dani Alves added to Juventus’ injury woes on Sunday after suffering a shin bone fracture during the Italian champions’ shock 3-1 defeat to Genoa that reports suggest could sideline him for three months.

Former Barcelona star Alves went in for a late challenge at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium and came off worst, suffering “a compound fracture of the shin bone in his left leg,” according to a brief statement by Juventus.

“He will be evaluated on Monday,” it added. Naija and Bet

Juventus, aiming for a record sixth consecutive Serie A title, were already without experienced defenders Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini, prompting coach Massimiliano Allegri to deploy an untried back three composed of Leonardo Bonucci, Mehdi Benatia and Swiss wing-back Stephan Lichtsteiner.

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Koeman admits Everton are not in good form

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Ronald Koeman admitted his growing concern at Everton’s decline in form after his side slumped to defeat at the manager’s former club, Southampton.

Charlie Austin’s goal, scored after just 41 seconds, secured Saints’ victory, leaving Koeman’s Everton with just one win in their last eight Premier League games.

The promise of the opening weeks of the season has quickly disappeared at Goodison Park and Koeman admitted he was left frustrated at his side’s display. Naijabet.com

The opening seconds of the game highlighted a lack of organisation at the back and while the Merseysiders improved in the second period, they did not muster and attempt on target until added time.

Koeman said: “I’m not worried about results, worried about what I see on the pitch, how we start games, have difficulties to be organised defensively and stop the opponents.

PL Match Preview : Manchester United vs West Ham

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Jose Mourinho recorded his biggest managerial win in exactly 12 months when Manchester United thrashed Feyenoord 4-0 on Thursday but his side must now transfer that form into the Premier League where it really counts.

West Ham are in an awful place and should really be there for the taking for United on Sunday. However, Slaven Bilic’s side have a good recent record against United and most notably beat them 3-2 in their last ever game at Upton Park last season.

How their fans wish they were still playing there and not at the London Stadium.

United have only won one of their last six league matches and need to get back to winning ways in order to avoid losing further ground on their title rivals. They are already nine points behind Chelsea and cannot afford to lose more points. Naijabet.com

The last two matches between these two sides at Old Trafford have ended in draws, but United really have to put West Ham to the sword this weekend. Only Hull (27) have conceded more goals than the Hammers in the Premier League this season and United should be looking to inflict further misery on Bilic here.

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Barca ready to risk Neymar ahead of Clasico

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A booking this weekend will mean the attacker has a suspension to serve, and his coach has warned that his team are perhaps protesting to referees too much

Luis Enrique has no intention of resting Neymar for Sunday’s trip to Real Sociedad, despite the Brazil striker being one booking away from missing the clash with Real Madrid next weekend.

Barcelona visit Sociedad with Neymar walking a disciplinary tightrope ahead of the first Clasico of the season but Luis Enrique is adamant all fit players will be included for the trip to San Sebastian.

Asked if he would consider leaving Neymar out, he said: “No, not at all. There’s just one game [in my mind]. We’ll get the same points for winning in San Sebastian as we would for beating Real Madrid.” Naija and Bet

The Barcelona boss does not expect Neymar to alter his game either, adding: “No, I don’t think he’ll play differently at all.”

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Koeman will get it right at Everton – Cottee

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Former Everton striker Tony Cottee has urged the fans to be patient with manager Ronald Koeman as the team continue to suffer a dip in form.

The Dutch manager returns to Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium for the first time on Sunday as Everton look for their first victory on the road since the 3-0 win over Sunderland back in September.

“It was always going to take a while for Koeman to get his ideas across. They’ve been used to playing the (Roberto) Martinez way and a lot of the players have been at the club for a long time,” Cottee said. Naijabet.com

“I think he will get it right at Everton. The fans have got to be patient and allow him to develop the club, bring in some new exciting players and then I think we’ll see them pushing on.

“As long as the Evertonians see some sort of progress then they’ll be patient. After the start they made to the season everyone got a bit excited. But the main word here is patience.”

After collecting 13 out of 15 points in their opening five Premier League fixtures this season, Everton have taken just six from their last seven matches.

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PL Match Preview : Arsenal vs Bournemouth

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Arsenal have now drawn each of their last three matches in all competitions after battling to a 2-2 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in midweek. Arsene Wenger needs to get his side back on track to avoid slipping off the pace with the league leaders any more.

They are three points off Chelsea but they could be further behind by the time they play on Sunday.

Bournemouth pulled of a 1-0 win away to Stoke last time out to end a winless run of three matches.

They have lost 2-0 in both of their encounters with Arsenal in the past and, with key players unavailable this weekend, they will struggle to avoid defeat again.

Team News 

Arsenal – Arsene Wenger is reportedly planning to give Alexis Sanchez a winter break in order to keep him fresh, which means others could profit in advanced areas this weekend.

Mikel ruled out of derby due to Injury

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Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte has revealed that his Nigerian midfielder, Mikel John Obi remains unavailable and will miss Saturday’s English Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur.

Mikel has yet to make an appearance for Chelsea in competitive fixtures this season.

Conte has now revealed that the Nigerian midfielder will miss Saturday’s fixture against Spurs because of injury.

“For tomorrow (Saturday), I don’t have John Terry and Obi Mikel available. “John has a muscular problem. It’s a pity because he recovered very well from his last injury and now, he needs to stop again,” Conte said at his press conference on Friday. Place your on Naijabet.com

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