Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech will return to his former club Chelsea as a sporting director when he retires from playing after the teams meet in this month’s Europa League final, News and other British media reported on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old Cech responded to the reports by tweeting: “Despite the news today as I had already said to everybody before, I’ll make (a) decision about my future after the last game. Now my sole focus is to win the EL with @Arsenal”.
Chelsea were not immediately available to comment on the media reports. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
Former Czech Republic international Cech, who won 124 caps, spent 11 seasons at Stamford Bridge, winning the Champions League and Europa League, four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and three League Cups before moving to Arsenal in 2015. Continue reading “Petr Cech set to return to Chelsea as sporting director”
Olivier Giroud has signed a new one-year contract with Chelsea to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge until the end of next season, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old French striker has scored 17 goals in 62 appearances for Chelsea since joining from Arsenal in January, 2018.
“I am very happy to sign a new contract,” Giroud told the club’s website https://www.chelseafc.com/en/news/2019/05/21/olivier-giroud-signs-contract-extension-with-chelsea. Place bet on Virtual Games 24/7 on NaijaBet
“I really wanted to stay at least one more year – I have felt a part of the team, the family, since the beginning and hopefully there will be more trophies to come.” Continue reading “Chelsea’s Giroud signs one-year contract extension”
Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City will ultimately be judged on whether they win the Champions League despite wrapping up an unprecedented domestic treble with a 6-0 whipping of Watford in the FA Cup final.
The 48-year-old Spaniard said in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s rout the domestic treble is more difficult than winning the Champions League because it demands greater consistency over a gruelling season.
“I said before that I know we will be judged at the end on whether we win the Champions League,” said Guardiola, who twice conquered Europe as Barcelona coach.
“I know unless we do that it will not be enough.”
“This comes with me. I know that. I arrived in Barcelona, we were lucky we won it two times in four years and the people expect I am something special, that we have to win the Champions League and it’s still true.” Various betting options are available on site for today’s games
Guardiola, who has not tasted European success since 2011, having drawn a blank during his spell with Bayern Munich, said what sets the Champions League apart is the level of the opposition. Continue reading “Manchester City need to win the Champions League – Guardiola”
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane could miss the Champions League final but still captain England in their bid to win the Nations League, said national coach Gareth Southgate.
The 25-year-old talisman has not played since injuring ankle ligaments in the first leg of Spurs’ Champions League quarterfinal win over Manchester City.
Kane, who won the Golden Boot at last summer’s World Cup, missed the end of the Premier League season with Tottenham but is hoping to be fit for their European showpiece final with Liverpool.
That game takes place in Madrid on June 1, just five days before England face Holland in their Nations League semifinal.
Kane was included in an initial 27-man squad for the tournament named by Southgate on Thursday, with the final group of 23 to be confirmed on May 27. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
“Frankly, we will know a lot more about that if he is in Tottenham’s team,” he said of Kane’s current fitness level.
Continue reading “Kane will get time to prove fitness for England – Southgate”
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward vowed that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be backed in the transfer market despite a bitterly disappointing end to the season.
Solskjaer was only appointed on a permanent basis in March but is already under pressure after United won just two of their final 11 games in all competitions.
“While the last few weeks were disappointing, we are delighted to confirm the appointment of Ole on a three-year contract,” said Woodward on a conference call to investors as United’s third-quarter financial results were revealed on Thursday.
“Preparations for the new season are underway and the underlying strength of our business will allow us to support the manager and his team as we look to the future.”
United ended the season 32 points off Premier League champions Manchester City and failed to qualify for the Champions League after finishing sixth. Place bet on today’s matches on NaijaBet
Solskjaer has spoken honestly about the need for a huge rebuild at Old Trafford but is hoping that a new season and additions to the squad will result in a fresh start for the club.
Continue reading “Man Utd will back Solskjaer for ‘fresh start’ next season”
“If you are second you are nothing,” said former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly. But rarely can a runner-up have been more proud of falling just short than Liverpool in the Premier League this season.
Shankly won three league titles on Merseyside in the pre-Premier League era and built the foundations for two decades of dominance that endured even after he departed.
Yet even he could not conceive of amassing 97 points in a league season, let alone that mark only being good enough for second place.
Liverpool’s points tally was not just a club record, but the third-highest in Premier League history, behind only Manchester City’s 98 this season and City’s haul of 100 points in romping to the title last year.
Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp’s men, it will be Pep Guardiola’s champions they have to beat again to end a 30-year wait for a league title next season.
“As long as City are around, with the quality they have, the financial power and all that stuff, it’s not that any other team will pass them easily,” said Klopp, whose side lost only one league game all season, to City in January, and still missed out. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet
“You need to be very, very close to perfection to win the Premier League as long as this is the case.” Continue reading “Liverpool move forward in bid to dethrone Pep’s Man City”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has warned his side’s rivals that the English champions will only get stronger after holding off Liverpool to become the first side in a decade to retain the Premier League.
City came from behind to beat Brighton 4-1 on Sunday and take the title by just one point from Liverpool, despite the Reds amassing a club record 97 points.
Indeed, Liverpool’s points tally is the third highest in Premier League history, behind only City this season and when they racked up 100 points in storming to the title for the first time under Guardiola last year.
City could become the first side to ever win a domestic treble in England should they beat Watford in the FA Cup final next weekend.
But Guardiola is already looking ahead to next season and strengthening his squad to repeat the feats he achieved in winning three titles in a row at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“Winning is so addictive and of course in a few days we have the FA Cup,” said Guardiola, who has now won eight league titles in 10 seasons as a coach. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
“After (we’ll) prepare well, take the right decisions for next season to come back stronger because Liverpool will maintain it I think and the other ones will be better. Continue reading “Man City will only get better, Pep warns rivals ahead of next season”
Manchester City and Liverpool have slugged it out in one of the most gripping Premier League title races of all time, going toe to toe in a monumental battle for the ages.
But it will all be decided on Sunday when City travel to Brighton and Liverpool host Wolves, with Pep Guardiola’s team firm favourites to get over the line ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s charging team.
The bare statistics from both sides this season are phenomenal.
City, on 95 points, have won their past 13 Premier League matches to wipe out a seven-point lead for Liverpool and are on the brink of becoming the first team to retain the title since Manchester United in 2009.
Klopp’s men, with 94 points, have recovered from a mid-season stumble to record eight straight victories and are agonisingly close to their first English top-flight title since 1990.
The 18-time league winners face the scarcely credible scenario of ending the season with the third-highest points tally in Premier League history and a single defeat yet still missing out on the title. Place bet on Live Events 24/7 on NaijaBet
City look almost certain to finish off the job on the south coast but Guardiola, speaking after a nervy 1-0 win against Leicester on Monday, is taking nothing for granted. Continue reading “Man City on brink of Premier League glory as Liverpool cling to hope”
Aymeric Laporte hailed the influence of Vincent Kompany after Manchester City’s inspirational captain struck a stunning winner in the critical Premier League clash with Leicester.
The long-serving defender once again proved the man for the big occasion as he netted with a ferocious long-range strike 20 minutes from time to settle a tense encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Monday.
The 1-0 win lifted treble-chasing City back to the top of the Premier League, one point ahead of Liverpool, with just one game remaining in a gripping title race.
Kompany’s decisive contribution ranked alongside his vital winner against rivals Manchester United during the 2012 title run-in for importance.
Fitness issues may mean the 33-year-old is no longer a regular starter but the influence of the three-time title-winning skipper shows no sign of waning even though he admits his future is uncertain.
“It is amazing, unbelievable,” said fellow central defender Laporte. “I never see one goal like that – maybe because I wasn’t on the pitch, I don’t know – but we are so satisfied with this game. Bet Now on NaijaBet
“He is a guy (who is) very important for us, for the club. I think he gives us a lot of things. He is an example for us.
“We have to improve and keep working with him because he can give a lot and he is a very good guy on and off the pitch.” Continue reading “Laporte hailed Kompany after breathtaking Man City win”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United legend was built on scoring the goal that won the Champions League, but, 20 years on, the Norwegian now concedes the United side he has inherited as manager are not even fit to grace that competition.
The scale of the task now facing Solskjaer was laid bare by Sunday’s 1-1 draw at already relegated Huddersfield, statistically one of the worst sides ever to play in the Premier League, that ensured United cannot finish in the top four and must accept the consolation prize of a place in the Europa League.
“We are not in the Champions League but I think that is a true reflection. The table seldom lies at the end,” admitted Solskjaer as he came to terms with a run of two wins from 11 games that have sucked the enthusiasm from his first few months as a caretaker manager.
“When United needed their players to stand up and be counted, playing with intensity, taking responsibility individually, concentrating fully, fighting for the right to play in the Champions League, they froze,” wrote The Times.
“The meek may inherit the earth but they also end up in the Europa League.” Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
Solskjaer was given the job on a permanent basis less than six weeks ago on the back of winning 14 of his first 17 games in charge. Continue reading “Man United to face huge rebuild after Champions League failure”
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers says he has no extra motivation to do his former club Liverpool a favour in the Premier League title race when his side face Manchester City on Monday.
Liverpool can return to the top of the table if they beat Newcastle United on Saturday but will only be in pole position to clinch the league title on May 12 if Rodgers’ Leicester can claim a point or better at the Etihad Stadium.
Yet Rodgers, who went agonisingly close to winning the league with Liverpool in 2013-14, is only focused on his job at Leicester.
“I am employed by Leicester. My focus is on Leicester City. There’s no comparison really,” Rodgers told a news conference on Thursday.
“It’s exciting to be involved but my thoughts are solely with Leicester and doing what we can to get a result. Place bet on Europa League matches on NaijaBet
“Liverpool back then was at a different stage. We had young players, loan players. We went from eighth to second in a couple of years so it’s a different dynamic. We deserved to finish second.” Continue reading “Leicester needs no extra incentive to beat Man City – Rodgers”
Pep Guardiola declared Sergio Aguero “a legend” after the forward became the first player since Thierry Henry to score 20 Premier League goals in five successive seasons.
Aguero struck in the 63rd minute to secure Manchester City’s 1-0 win away to Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday that saw the English champions return to the top of the table.
City’s 12th successive league victory took them to 92 points, one clear of second-placed Liverpool with both clubs still having two league matches each to play this season.
Aguero has managed 230 goals in eight years with City, making him far and away the club’s all-time top scorer, and the 30-year-old Argentina striker has played a key role in the three league titles they have won during that period.
“He is a legend; he does that all the time, score important goals for us,” Guardiola said. “He is an incredible player.” Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
City remain on course to finish the season with an unprecedented domestic treble; having won the League Cup in February, they return to Wembley to play Watford in the FA Cup final on 18 May. Continue reading “Pep hails ‘legend’ Aguero as City move closer to EPL title”
Manchester City’s 2-0 derby victory at Manchester United edged Pep Guardiola’s men one point ahead of Liverpool once more in one of the tightest Premier League title races ever.
A seventh defeat in nine games further damaged United’s chances of Champions League qualification, but they could still make the top four with Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal also faltering.
The title remains in City’s hands thanks to a run of 11 straight Premier League wins and victory at Old Trafford on Wednesday was a huge step towards becoming the first side to retain the Premier League in a decade.
A trip to Burnley on Sunday is followed by the visit of Leicester to the Etihad before City end the season at relegation-threatened Brighton.
City’s Champions League elimination means they will have a full week to prepare for their final two league games. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
A run of nine consecutive wins in all competitions has helped keep Jurgen Klopp’s men stay on City’s coattails and in position to pounce should the champions suffer an unexpected stumble in their remaining three games. Continue reading “The Premier League title and top four battle is still alive”
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has been charged with misconduct for his behaviour during Monday’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Burnley, the English Football Association said.
The Chelsea coach was sent to the stands by referee Kevin Friend after becoming embroiled in a scuffle among players on the touchline in the dying moments of the game at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri did not carry out his post-match media duties, sending assistant coach Gianfranco Zola to fill in for him instead.
Zola told reporters at the time that Sarri had sought to get his players out of the scuffle but the referee had “misinterpreted” his intentions and that the Chelsea manager had been offended by a comment from the Burnley bench.
“Maurizio Sarri has been charged with misconduct in relation to his behaviour in the 94th minute of Monday’s Premier League fixture between Chelsea and Burnley,” the FA said in a statement.
The Chelsea manager has until 1700 GMT +1 on Friday to responded to the charge, the governing body added.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino described Christian Eriksen’s contract talks as a “special situation” on Tuesday after the Dane scored a crucial late goal to give his side a 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.
The 27-year-old has only one more season left on his contract and is widely-admired by some of Europe’s biggest clubs, prompting talk of a big-money summer move.
He was not at his best on Tuesday as Tottenham endured a frustrating night battering away at Brighton’s barricades.
But his 88th-minute strike was the moment of quality Tottenham required to put them in a strong position to finish the season inside the top four.
Eriksen has made a habit of scoring crucial late goals – also earning his side a 1-0 win over Burnley this season with a 90th minute strike and scoring the 80th-minute goal against Inter Milan that kept Spurs in the Champions League.
Pochettino said he hoped Eriksen would still be at the club he joined from Ajax in 2013 next season.
“It’s a very special situation. Christian is a special person and we’re all different,” he told reporters. Place bet on Live Events 24/7 on NaijaBet
“Timing for him and the club and agreeing something are maybe different to other players. I hope he will be here in the future. Christian and us are so close and it’s not long until the end of the season.
“Now it’s about being focused on the end of the season.” Continue reading “Pochettino described Eriksen’s Spurs future a ‘special situation’”
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out of Wednesday’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford by manager Pep Guardiola.
The Belgium midfielder suffered the latest of several injuries this season when he was forced off in the champions’ Premier League win at home to Tottenham on Saturday.
“It is a muscular problem,” Guardiola told reporters on Tuesday. “We will see in the next days but tomorrow he is not available.”
Man City can move one point clear of title rivals Liverpool at the top of the table heading into their final three games of the season with victory over United.
Arsenal will be looking to win to return to the top four after last Sunday’s defeat at Everton. Watford are aiming for consecutive victories over the Gunners at Vicarage Road.
Watford will be without Jose Holebas (hamstring), Domingos Quina (shoulder), Tom Cleverley (calf) and Adalberto Penaranda (hamstring).
Gerard Deulofeu and Kiko Femenia were withdrawn during extra-time of last weekend’s FA Cup semifinal but have trained all week and are available.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos begins a two-match ban for Arsenal, who will assess Grant Xhaka (groin) ahead of Monday’s match.
Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding (both knee) and Danny Welbeck (ankle) are long-term absentees. Bet Now on NaijaBet
Did you know?
Troy Deeney could become only the third player to score 10+ goals in three different top-flight seasons for Watford after Luther Blissett and John Barnes. Continue reading “Watford to test Arsenal top four target tonight”
Tottenham forward Harry Kane may have to consider surgery on his injured ankle, a leading surgeon has said.
Kane suffered a “significant lateral ligament” injury to his left ankle during Spurs’ 1-0 Champions League win over Manchester City on Tuesday and is unlikely to play again this season.
The England captain is susceptible to ankle damage – this is his fifth such injury since 2016 and the second to his left joint this year.
Surgeon Mark Davies, a leading specialist at the London Foot and Ankle Centre, who has operated on Premier League footballers, said going under the knife could help restore the strength of Kane’s ligament to what it was before his first injury.
“At some point I think they would think about doing something surgically to stabilise the ligament, which is quite feasible and should restore the problem happening in the long term,” Davies told Britain’s Press Association. Place bet on Live Event 24/7
“He’s not that old, he could do with a stable ankle if he wants to carry on playing long term without it happening again,” he added. “It is a routine operation because the ligament needs to be tightened up and that is fairly easy.
Continue reading “Harry Kane may have to consider surgery – surgeon”
Sadio Mane has grown used to playing second fiddle to Mohamed Salah in the two seasons since the latter joined the Senegalese at Liverpool.
However, the fact Jurgen Klopp’s men top the Premier League in their quest to end a 29-year wait to win the title and face Porto in the first leg of a Champions League quarterfinal at Anfield on Tuesday, is largely thanks to Mane.
As Salah’s goals dried up in an eight-game drought prior to Friday’s 3-1 win at Southampton, Mane assumed the mantle as chief goal getter with 11 in his last 13 Liverpool appearances taking his tally for the season to 20.
That run included a double away to Bayern Munich last month that eased the five-time European champions past the German giants and eyeing another shot at Champions League glory.
His first goal in particular at the Allianz Arena was a demonstration in the 26-year-old’s pace, skill and calmness in front of goal. Various Live betting options are available on NaijaBet
Mane controlled a raking long pass from Virgil van Dijk, rounded Manuel Neuer and then dinked the ball into an unguarded net.
“I’m going to have to watch back 500 times,” admitted Klopp after the game. “It’s astounding what he did.” Continue reading “Mane move out from playing under Salah’s shadow”
Manchester City brushed aside struggling Cardiff to leapfrog Liverpool at the top of the Premier League on Wednesday as Tottenham opened their glittering new stadium in style.
City’s 2-0 victory over Cardiff took Pep Guardiola’s quadruple-chasers to 80 points – one clear of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, with both sides having six matches to go.
Tottenham marked their long-delayed move into their state-of-the-art new home with a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, while Chelsea thumped Brighton 3-0.
Kevin De Bruyne gave City the lead in the sixth minute, firing in from a tight angle after being played in by Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane doubled the lead for the defending champions with a sharp finish just before halftime.
Guardiola, whose team take on Brighton at Wembley in the FA Cup semifinal on Saturday, made seven changes to his starting line-up, handing teenager Phil Foden his first Premier League start. Bet Now
The defeat leaves Neil Warnock’s Cardiff third from bottom, five points from safety, with only relegated Huddersfield and Fulham below them. Continue reading “Man City back on top of Premier League as Spurs party in style”
Unai Emery challenged revitalised Arsenal to write their own history after they climbed to third place in the Premier League with a 2-0 win against Newcastle on Monday.
Aaron Ramsey’s first half strike was followed by Alexandre Lacazette’s killer second in the closing stages at the Emirates Stadium, maintaining Arsenal’s impressive progress under Emery.
Emery’s side climbed two points above fourth placed Tottenham and fifth placed Manchester United to bolster their chance of qualifying for the Champions League via a top-four finish with seven games to go.
It is the first time Arsenal have been as high as third place since April 2017, highlighting their improvement since former Paris Saint Germain boss Emery replaced Arsene Wenger at the end of last season.
Ramsey’s fifth goal of the season was only the Wales midfielder’s second since he signed a lucrative pre-contract agreement to join Juventus at the end of the current campaign. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet
But, while Ramsey won’t be part of Emery’s long-term plans, the future still looks bright for Arsenal, who recorded a 10th consecutive home league victory for the first time since December 1997 to May 1998. Continue reading “Dominant Arsenal up to third as Ramsey, Lacazette sink Newcastle”
Manchester United’s confirmation of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their next permanent manager caps a remarkable rise over the past three months for the Norwegian.
Solskjaer was seen as a stop-gap option when recruited as a caretaker in December, with United scrambling for a solution following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
However, a United legend as a player, Solskjaer has re-energised the English giants, leading them to the Champions League quarterfinals with an incredible victory over free-spending Paris Saint-Germain and hauling the Red Devils back into the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
AFP Sports looks how Solskjaer has transformed United’s fortunes to win the job on a permanent basis.
PLAYING FOOTBALL THE UNITED WAY
“To win games you need to pass it forward and run forward.” The basics under Solskjaer may seem simple but they contrast sharply with Mourinho’s conservative approach that left a host of expensively assembled stars paralysed by fear of making mistakes. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet
The former striker spent more than a decade as a United player learning from Alex Ferguson and is trying to replicate the same aggressive, attacking approach ingrained in him by the Scot, who won 13 league titles in charge at Old Trafford. Continue reading “How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer transformed Man United’s fortunes”
Liverpool have no intention of sacrificing Champions League progress to boost their chances of winning the Premier League title and will do their best to win both competitions this season, goalkeeper Alisson has said.
The Merseyside club, who face Bayern Munich in the Champions League later on Wednesday, are also in the race for the Premier League title, leading some pundits to suggest they should prioritise domestic glory over European success.
Alisson’s teammate Mohamed Salah said earlier this week that he was willing to put his own Champions League ambitions on the back-burner to help his team win the Premier League. Place bet on tonight’s Champions Leagues Games on NaijaBet
“Our goal is to win the league and everything we’re playing in, the Champions League as well,” Alisson told a news conference on Tuesday. “We can’t choose what we go for. Actually, we can choose, and we choose both.” Continue reading “Liverpool must fight for glory in all competitions – Alisson”