Match Preview : West Ham vs Manchester City

West Ham have found some form at the right moment and are now 12 points adrift of the bottom three after winning five of their last seven in the league.

Manchester City have only won one of their last four in the Premier League but performed well in their draw against Tottenham before comfortably beating Crystal Palace in the FA Cup at the weekend.

They are two points adrift of fourth place Liverpool ahead of the midweek fixtures and cannot afford to drop many more points in their bid to finish in the top four.

Pep Guardiola’s side only recently won 5-0 at West Ham in the FA Cup third round but they can expect a tougher contest here. These games are usually high scoring so goals can be expected again on Wednesday night.

Team News

West Ham – Cheikhou Kouyate has returned from Africa Cup of Nations duty with Senegal but is unlikely to feature on Wednesday, while Andre Ayew is still at the tournament. Place your Bet on NaijaBet.com

Jose Fonte will be handed his West Ham debut with Angelo Ogbonna out for the season. Robert Snodgrass, another January arrival, may have to wait until the weekend for his West Ham bow after arriving with a slight injury. Continue reading “Match Preview : West Ham vs Manchester City”

La Liga to introduce video refs in 2018

Video referees are expected to be used in Spanish soccer by the 2018-19 season when they are fully approved by Fifa, La Liga president Javier Tebas has said.

Tebas was speaking after Sunday’s 1-1 draw between Barcelona and Real Betis, a game in which champions Barca appeared to have been denied a clear goal.

Video replays showed that after Betis’ Cristiano Piccini diverted Aleix Vidal’s pass towards goal the ball crossed the line by around a metre before defender Aissi Mandi slid in and scrambled the it away. Naija and Bet

“The tests are already underway. We have been working on video referees for the last eight months,” Tebas said.

“We will be testing it from next season in La Liga,” he added.

Continue reading “La Liga to introduce video refs in 2018”

The level of Liverpool intensity have dropped – Luis Garcia

The Champions League winner feels opponents have worked out how to tame Jurgen Klopp’s side, as they prepare to face Chelsea at Anfield on Tuesday.

Liverpool’s slump in form has come after a drop in intensity, claims former Reds forward Luis Garcia.

Jurgen Klopp’s side entered the new year in a positive frame of mind, having claimed a notable victory over Manchester City and progressed into to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup. Naija and Bet

They have, however, secured just one victory in their last eight fixtures, which came against League Two outfit Plymouth Argyle in a FA Cup third-round replay.

Liverpool have since tumbled out of that competition, while failing to make Wembley in the League Cup and dropping precious points in the Premier League. Continue reading “The level of Liverpool intensity have dropped – Luis Garcia”

Ghana set eyes on winning AFCON 2017

The Black Star says the team must beat the Indomitable Lions in the semi-finals on Thursday to get closer to their ultimate target.

Deputy Ghana captain Andre Ayew has urged the outfit to maintain focus ahead of their semi-final clash with Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

The Black Stars seek to make the final for the second consecutive time in Thursday’s fixture in Franceville, but with an ambition to win the cup this time around. Place your bet on Ghana to win both remaining match on NaijaBet.com

Ayew netted the winner in the 2-1 quarter-final triumph over DR Congo on Sunday, becoming Ghana’s joint-all-time scorer at the Afcon with eight goals.

“Cameroon is a tough team,” Ayew said.

“We know the kind of opponent we are going to face, and so we have to prepare ourselves very well. Continue reading “Ghana set eyes on winning AFCON 2017”

Sunderland signed two players from Everton

Sunderland signed Costa Rica left back Bryan Oviedo and Ireland midfielder Darron Gibson from manager David Moyes’s former club Everton on Monday.

The Premier League strugglers announced that Oviedo had signed a contract to 2020, replacing Patrick van Aanholt who completed his switch to relegation rivals Crystal Palace earlier in the day.

Moyes signed the 26-year-old for Everton while boss of the Merseyside club before an ill-fated move to Manchester United in 2013 as Alex Ferguson’s short-lived successor.

Gibson, 29, also played under Moyes at Goodison Park and has been reunited with the Scot on an 18-month deal. No financial details were given. Place with champions NaijaBet.com

“Bryan is a very good player and he’ll help us get forward,” Moyes told the Sunderland website (www.safc.com). Continue reading “Sunderland signed two players from Everton”

Fernandinho return will be more significant for City

Kevin De Bruyne believes Fernandinho’s return from suspension will provide  the foundation for Manchester City to get their spluttering Premier League campaign back on track at West Ham on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola’s side have dropped out of the top four and trail leaders Chelsea by 12 points after winning just one of their last four league games.

Guardiola wrote off City’s titles hopes during that unexpected slump, but a comfortable 3-0 victory at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday was a much needed tonic and De Bruyne anticipates the return of Brazil midfielder Fernandinho will be even more significant.

Fernandinho has served a four-match ban after receiving his third red card in six games in a win against Burnley on January 2. Naija and Bet

During Fernandinho’s absence, City looked alarmingly vulnerable and were thrashed 4-0 at Everton in Guardiola’s heaviest league defeat as a manager. Continue reading “Fernandinho return will be more significant for City”

Match Preview : Liverpool vs Chelsea

Liverpool have struggled in 2017, with just one win to their name from eight this calendar year.

A 2-1 loss to Wolves at the weekend means they crashed out of two competitions in the space of four days after their EFL Cup loss to Saints and the will look to bounce back with the welcome of Chelsea.

The Blues have lost just one of their last 15 competitive outings, winning the other 14. This is an ideal chance to exact revenge on Liverpool after the fell to a 2-1 loss in the reverse fixture this season, that just one of Chelsea’s four competitive defeats this term. NaijaBet.com

The return of Sadio Mane is a boost to Liverpool, but Chelsea could continue the hosts’ poor start to the year in this one.

Team News

Liverpool – Danny Ings and Mark Grujic are both ruled out for the Reds for Tuesday’s welcome of Chelsea. Continue reading “Match Preview : Liverpool vs Chelsea”

Burkina Faso look to upstage Egypt

Alongside a trio of the continent’s most successful teams in the African Nations Cup semifinal line-up, Burkina Faso’s ambition burns brightly as they seek another chance to win their first major title.

Four years ago, Burkina Faso were surprise runners-up at the Nations Cup in South Africa and have confirmed that potential with a place in the final four at the tournament in Gabon.

Now they are looking to book another place in the final when they meet Egypt in the last four on Wednesday. Naija and Bet

“We dream of doing better than in 2013. It will not be easy. We cannot know what the future will be, only God knows,” said their coach Paulo Duarte.

“The important thing is that the players do not lose their humility.” Continue reading “Burkina Faso look to upstage Egypt”

I’ve been hoping to play EFL Cup final – Mata

The Spain international is looking forward to taking in another trip to Wembley, with Jose Mourinho’s side readying themselves for the EFL Cup final.

Juan Mata says he “can’t be more motivated” as Manchester United take aim at the EFL Cup, a trophy that has so far eluded him during his time in England.

The Spain international has tasted FA Cup success in the recent past, while also claiming Community Shield, Champions League and Europa League crowns. NaijaBet.com 

He has never got his hands on the League Cup, though, with Chelsea and United unable to get him over that particular line.

Mata is, however, now just one game away from adding to his silverware haul, with the Red Devils set for a Wembley showdown with Southampton on February 26. Continue reading “I’ve been hoping to play EFL Cup final – Mata”

Match Preview : Sunderland vs Tottenham

Sunderland have lost four of their last five Premier League fixtures and now foot the table. The welcome of Tottenham is not what they will have wanted as they look to haul themselves out of the relegation zone.

Tottenham secured their spot in the next round of the FA Cup with a 4-3 win over Wycombe and have now failed to win one of their last nine com- petitive fixtures, that coming in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City.

Spurs have won five of their last six meetings with the Black Cats and have the means to continue their good form at the Stadium of Light. NaijaBet

Team News

Sunderland – Papy Djilobodji is suspended for Sunderland, but Lamine Kone is available following AFCON duty and he, along with Didier Ndong, could both feature. Continue reading “Match Preview : Sunderland vs Tottenham”

Payet join Marseille from West Ham for £25m

The France international has completed his return to his former club and will be unveiled to the media at their training ground on Monday.

Marseille have signed Dimitri Payet from West Ham for a fee of £25 million, the French side have confirmed.

The France international, who left OM to join the Hammers back in 2015, has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal after successfully completing a medical on Sunday.

Payet joined West Ham from Marseille in 2015 and starred in his first season in England, earning a place in France’s Euro 2016 squad and scoring three goals in a run to the final. NaijaBet.com

Despite signing a bumper five-year deal in February last year, Payet became unsettled with West Ham struggling for form this term and an exit had been on the cards ever since manager Slaven Bilic revealed he was refusing to play midway through January. Continue reading “Payet join Marseille from West Ham for £25m”

My Critics want me to be punish in jail – Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger joked on Sunday that his critics would only be truly happy if he was sent to prison as punishment for pushing a fourth official.

The Frenchman was handed a four-match touchline ban for verbally abusing and shoving Anthony Taylor during his side’s 2-1 win over Burnley earlier this month and he was forced to watch from the stands as Arsenal beat Southampton 5-0 in the FA Cup on Saturday.

“Those who don’t like me, any sentence will be too lenient,” said Wenger.

“They would like to put me in jail somewhere without anything in the middle of winter – and that will still be lenient. Continue reading “My Critics want me to be punish in jail – Wenger”

Match Preview : Arsenal vs Watford

A 5-0 win at Southampton on Saturday means Arsenal have failed to win just one of their last seven competitive outings. The welcome of Watford provides them with the ideal chance to continue their good form ahead of Saturday’s trip to Chelsea.

Watford crashed out of the FA Cup at the weekend and now have won just once in their last nine outings. The Hornets have lost just one of their last six meetings with the Gunners and are expected to struggle at the Emirates on Tuesday night.

Arsenal come into the fixture as overwhelming favourites and should win here.

Team News

Arsenal – Mohamed Elneny is unavailable due to his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt. Naija and Bet

Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Debuchy and Yaya Sanogo are all ruled out for the Gunners, while Granit Xhaka serves the second of a four-match ban. Continue reading “Match Preview : Arsenal vs Watford”

Monaco are the best team in France – Thiago Motta

The Italy international admits that his side do not deserve to be top of the standings and believes “it’s more difficult” to win the title now.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta has acknowledged Monaco should be seen as the best team in Ligue 1 this season.

The champions looked set to secure a valuable 1-0 win over Leonardo Jardim’s side on Sunday at Parc des Princes only for Bernardo Silva to secure a 1-1 draw in second-half injury time. Place your bet with the Champion on NaijaBet.com

The result keeps Monaco – who have scored 23 more goals than any other team – at the top of the table, level on points with Nice and three clear of PSG with 16 matches left to play.

And while Motta is refusing to give up hope of defending the title, he believes Monaco fully deserve their place at the summit. Continue reading “Monaco are the best team in France – Thiago Motta”

Ghana secure AFCON semi-final for the six in a row

Jordan Ayew and his elder brother, Andre, were on target as they fire Ghana to a 2-1 victory over DR Congo DR to secure the Black Stars’ spot in the AFCON semi-finals for the sixth straight time.

DR Congo should have gone ahead after seven minutes when Mbokani rounded Razak Brimah, but ended up hit the upright from close range. There was a good tempo to the opening 20 minutes of the first half, although Congo looked more threatening especially with the presence of Mbokani upfront. Naija and Bet

Brimah was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the opening half, as was called upon to keep out Mbokani’s strike from distance. Ghana, meanwhile struggled to carve out any clear-cut chances in the opening half and looked to be missing the presence of Gyan.

The Black Stars came out firing in the second half and eventually broke the deadlock after 62 minutes as Jordan Ayew calmly curled a powerful effort into the top corner. After he scored, he wept. Continue reading “Ghana secure AFCON semi-final for the six in a row”

Liverpool manager seeks to end club slump

For the first time since he arrived at Liverpool Jurgen Klopp is in the midst of a crisis to the extent that a win on Tuesday at home to Premier League leaders Chelsea is obligatory.

The 49-year-old charismatic German – who replaced Brendan Rodgers in November 2015 – has seen his side knocked out of two Cup competitions inside a week and a further loss to Chelsea would be the first time since 1923 they have lost four successive games at Anfield and only the second time in their 125-year history.

However victory over Antonio Conte’s side would reduce the gap between them to seven points while should Arsenal beat out of form Watford and their north London rivals Spurs beat bottom side Sunderland they would be just five and six points off the leaders respectively.

Klopp, though, accepts some confidence has seeped away from his side with just one win in eight games in January and the free-flowing, eye-catching football they were playing seems a distant memory.

“We spoke about confidence a few months ago and I said it’s a little flower,” said Klopp after his side had been knocked out by second tier Wolves from the FA Cup on Saturday.

“If something bounces on it, then it’s away. Obviously, that happened kind of, but it’s not that we play without confidence. Continue reading “Liverpool manager seeks to end club slump”

Barca and Sevilla stumbling motivate Real – Zidane

Real Madrid were spurred on by La Liga title rivals Barcelona and Sevilla dropping points on Sunday, coach Zinedine Zidane said as his side took a four-point lead at the top by beating Real Sociedad 3-0 in the late game.

“When you play last and see your rivals lose or draw you feel more moti-vated and we went into the game feeling really fired up,” Zidane told reporters after Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at Real Betis and Sevilla lost 3-1 at Espanyol.

Real approached the weekend ravaged by six injuries and smarting after their elimination in the King’s Cup quarterfinals to Celta Vigo as their Spanish record-breaking 40-game unbeaten run was followed by one win in their last four matches. Naija and Bet

Barca had won their last five games in all competitions but fell behind in the early kick off when Betis’s Alex Alegria struck in the 75th minute and the champions needed a 90th minute leveller from Luis Suarez to snatch a point. Continue reading “Barca and Sevilla stumbling motivate Real – Zidane”

FA CUP Match Preview : Manchester United vs Wigan

Wigan might be in a relegation scrap at the bottom of the Championship but they have hit their best form of the season at the right time.

They have won three games in a row for the first time this season, having only managed four wins all season prior to the start of their current run. They have also only lost two of their last nine away matches.

Manchester United’s 17-match unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end on Thursday night, depite Jose Mourinho’s comments, after they toiled to a 2-1 defeat away to Hull City in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi final.

That scoreline was still enough for them to progress to the final, where they will meet Southampton, but they must now focus their attentions on Sunday’s clash with Wigan in the FA Cup fourth round.

United have won 17 of their 18 previous matches against Wigan and have only ever conceded in five of those matches. Even though Mourinho’s side have struggled in their last few matches they should have enough to overcome Wigan, although it could go down to the wire due to the fact United have only scored four first half goals in their last nine matches.

Continue reading “FA CUP Match Preview : Manchester United vs Wigan”

Wolverhampton knock Liverpool out of FA Cup

Richard Stearman and Andreas Weimann got the goals for the visitors, with a reply from Divock Origi unable to shake the Reds from their 2017 struggles. Place your Bet on other matches to come up on NaijaBet.com

Wolverhampton Wanderers claimed a notable scalp in the FA Cup fourth round as they left Liverpool reeling with a 2-1 victory at Anfield.

It took just 52 seconds for the Championship outfit to inflict more misery on Jurgen Klopp’s out-of-sorts side, with a free-kick whipped beyond a statuesque Reds back line allowing Richard Stearman to nod home.

Things got even worse for the hosts four minutes before half-time when a Wolves breakaway freed Andreas Weimann to waltz around Loris Karius and fire into an empty net. Continue reading “Wolverhampton knock Liverpool out of FA Cup”

Welbeck can make up for lost time – Wenger

The England international has suffered with injuries during his Gunners career but is determined to earn himself a regular place in the team.

Nine months is a long time in football, just ask Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck who spent almost a year on the sidelines recovering from a gruelling knee injury.

The 26-year-old joined the Gunners during the final hours of the transfer window in 2014 after then-Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal deemed him not up to the standards of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Falcao.

While van Gaal announced his managerial retirement earlier this week, Welbeck is set for his first start since May when Arsenal take on Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.

Welbeck’s Arsenal career has had its fair share of ups and downs so far. His first professional hat-trick in the Champions League against Galatasaray, to scoring the winner against his former club United in the FA Cup quarter-final, there have undoubtedly been memorable moments to emphasise his attacking qualities.

Continue reading “Welbeck can make up for lost time – Wenger”

Match Preview : Chelsea vs Brentford

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Chelsea have won each of their last three since losing to Tottenham at the start of January. Antonio Conte’s have scored nine goals and conceded just one goal in that time.

Brentford have lost two in a row ahead of this fixture, while they have only recorded four away wins all season.

This is the second time Brentford have been drawn to play Chelsea in the FA Cup since 2013 and they managed to earn a replay on that occasion. They drew 2-2 at home on that occasion before being thrashed 4-0 at Stamford Bridge. Place your Bet on NaijaBet.com

Chelsea should have no trouble turning Brentford over, particularly if they are unable to call upon star striker Scott Hogan.

Team News

Chelsea – Antonio Conte has a full squad to pick from but may turn to some of his fringe and youth players for the reception of Brentford on Saturday. Continue reading “Match Preview : Chelsea vs Brentford”

Morata dismiss transfer to Juventus rumour

The Real Madrid striker has seen his future under Zinedine Zidane called into question but insists that he remains fully committed to the club.

Alvaro Morata has seen his Real Madrid future called into question but the striker insists that he remains fully committed to the Primera Division leaders.

Reports have suggested that the Spain international “feels cheated”, with Cadena Ser claiming that he feels that promises made last summer have been broken.

That was said to have led to a breakdown in the working relationship between Morata and coach Zinedine Zidane.

With the 24-year-old apparently disilluiosned with life back at the Santiago Bernabeu, he was said to be mulling over another move. Continue reading “Morata dismiss transfer to Juventus rumour”

Ranieri hail Leicester’s character against Derby

The Italian was pleased with the effort the Foxes showed in their draw with Derby and insists he isn’t stressed about the difficult upcoming schedule.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri “loved” the character his side showed as the Foxes came from behind to draw 2-2 at Derby in a thrilling FA Cup fourth round tie on Friday night.

The Premier League champions took the lead courtesy of Darren Bent’s comical own-goal, but the former England striker made amends shortly after as he netted an equaliser for the Rams before Craig Bryson added a second just before half-time.

Ranieri’s charges dug deep in a fascinating cup clash though and their efforts were rewarded when Wes Morgan’s 86th minute leveller secured a replay.

The additional fixture means Leicester have quite a build-up of matches to play, with Champions League football set to return to the King Power Stadium in February. Naija and Bet

When asked about that difficult schedule, Ranieri told his post-match press conference: “Stress? No. I think it was more stressful to lose tonight. There is an opportunity for the [players] to show their quality. Continue reading “Ranieri hail Leicester’s character against Derby”

Match Preview : Tottenham vs Wycombe

tottenham vs wycombe

Tottenham were made to work for their place in the next round of the FA Cup, but secured their meeting with Wycombe courtesy of a 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

Spurs have lost just one of their last 11 competitive fixtures and will look to return to winnings ways after holding Manchester City to a 2-2 draw at the weekend.

Wycombe, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last 15 competitive outings with a 2-1 win over Stourbrdge guaranteeing their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

They have never met Spurs in any competition, but come into this fixture as huge underdogs. Naija and Bet

While the League Two side will put up a fight to land an unlikely result, Spurs should comfortably overcome the Chairboys at White Hart Lane.

Team New Continue reading “Match Preview : Tottenham vs Wycombe”

Aubameyang recovering from Afcon disappointment

In typical big player fashion, Gabon star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is shrugging off the disappointment of being unable to lead his nation past the Afcon group stages.

Despite not losing a match, the Panthers crashed out of Group A with minnows Guinea Bissau, leaving Burkina Faso and Cameroon to advance.

But photos on his social media pages show the Borussia Dortmund striker jetting back in style to Germany. The 27-year-old scored two goals in three games for the Panthers as they became the fourth hosts to be knocked out in the group stage.

“On my way back to @bvb09 #aubameyang #pea17 #backontrack #bvb #phillipplein #pleinhero #allthewayup,” Aubameyang posted on Instagram.

Gabon drew 1-1 with Guinea-Bissau in the tournament opener, repeated the score against Burkina Faso, and then finished goalless with Cameroon.

Continue reading “Aubameyang recovering from Afcon disappointment”