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”

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”

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”

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”

What next for Kelechi Iheanacho at City

The youngster scored a fine hat-trick in the FA Cup fourth round last season but is getting fewer and fewer chances to show what he can do.

Almost exactly a year ago Kelechi Iheanacho stood in the interview area at Villa Park after scoring an FA Cup hat-trick which, it was hoped, would catapult him into the Manchester City limelight.

The quiet Nigerian says little at the best of times and on the day of his finest moment as a professional he batted away questions about his rise with an incredible humility that, while admirable, did not make for great newspaper copy.

It had been let on, in an attempt to provoke some excitement, that the City squad greeted Iheanacho in the dressing room by dancing around and singing his name. Place your Bet on NaijaBet.com

That ploy did not work either and in a desperate bid to coax something interesting out of the nervous youngster, one enterprising reporter dragged up an old picture, taken at an international youth tournament,which showed him looking skinny and rangy. Continue reading “What next for Kelechi Iheanacho at City”

It doesn’t matter if Sturridge miss 10 chances – Rush

The former Reds striker has called on the under-fire frontman to show “mental toughness” and keep putting himself in a position to score goals.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been called upon to remain positive and display “mental toughness”, with club legend Ian Rush confident the goals will come.

The England international drew another blank on Wednesday as the Reds crashed out of the EFL Cup at the semi-final stage.

Sturridge was singled out for criticism by some sections of the Anfield support, while former defender Jamie Carragher talk of his midweek performance: “When he plays and he does not score you are basically down to 10 men because he does not offer anything else.”

The 27-year-old has now failed to find the target in his last five appearances and has only six for the season across all competitions.

Continue reading “It doesn’t matter if Sturridge miss 10 chances – Rush”