Lionel Messi could make an earlier return than expected against Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday but Barcelona has hardly missed him.
Four wins out of four, including a stroll past Inter Milan and a hammering of Real Madrid so severe it cost their coach his job, mean Messi reunites with a team enjoying its strongest run of the season, ironically without its star striker.
Barca will certainly be delighted, relieved even, when his recovery is complete. The club has named Messi in their squad for the match at the San Siro, even if he is yet to be given the medical all-clear.
It could be his involvement is either as a substitute or even delayed until Sunday, when Barca host Real Betis in La Liga.
Perhaps it will depend on how much Barca need him and, in that respect, Messi’s absence has been less pronounced than many predicted 15 days ago when he tumbled and broke his right arm against Sevilla. Champions League latest odds are available on site
Circumstances have helped. After Inter, came Real, who were in a mess, Cultural Leonesa, who play in Spain’s third tier, and Rayo Vallecano, who are 19th in the table. But wins, in any form, cannot be overlooked. Real’s against Real Valladolid on Saturday was their first in six league games. Continue reading “Messi might make UCL returns against Inter Milan”
This promises to be a hugely entertaining encounter and Arsenal’s list of potential absentees – all defensive players – will leave Liverpool’s strikeforce in confident mood.
The Gunners haven’t found goals hard to come by themselves, of course, and will fancy their chances of ruining their visitors’ impressive defensive record.
The last five meetings between these sides have seen 27 goals scored and that trend doesn’t look send to end this weekend.
Arsenal- Arsenal has an injury crisis on their hands in the full-back positions, with Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac all facing a race against time to recover for the visit of Liverpool.
Granit Xhaka may be forced to continue to deputise at left-back but his unfamiliarity with the role was exposed at Palace at times, while Stephan Lichtsteiner is an option if Bellerin is fit to start on the right. Place bet on various LIVE bet events on NaijaBet
Aaron Ramsey is all but certain to leave the club when his contract expires next summer but may be called upon to start as Matteo Guendouzi was sent off in the cup in midweek and is suspended. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Arsenal vs Liverpool”
Bournemouth are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions (W5,D1). The Cherries are only two points off fourth and will leapfrog Tottenham and Arsenal with three points here.
Manchester United have shown signs of life in their last few Premier League matches. Jose Mourinho’s side has only lost one of their last seven in the league.
United have won their last two matches away to Bournemouth but the Cherries are in fantastic shape heading into Saturday’s encounter. Eddie Howe’s side have a real opportunity to cause an upset this weekend.
Bournemouth- Joshua King has missed Bournemouth’s last two matches through injury and will be keen to turn out against his former club on Saturday. His availability will decide what formation they play against Manchester United. Start forecasting your weekend games on NaijaBet
Eddie Howe made changes for Tuesday’s EFL Cup triumph over Norwich and will revert back to his usual starting XI on Saturday, with Ryan Fraser and David Brooks on the wings and Callum Wilson up front.
Manchester United- Jose Mourinho dropped Romelu Lukaku to the bench against former club Everton last weekend and the out-of-form striker came on and missed a sitter. Continue reading “Match Preview: Bournemouth vs Manchester United”
Al Ahly host Esperance Sportive de Tunis in the first-leg of the 2018 Caf Champions League final at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria tonight.
The Red Devils will be aiming to win an unprecedented ninth Caf Champions League crown with victory over their North African rivals this month, having fallen just short of adding to their record of eight titles last year – losing to Wydad Casablanca in the showpiece event.
Al Ahly booked their place in a 12th Caf Champions League final with a 3-2 aggregate win over ES Setif. The Egyptian giants suffered a 2-1 defeat in Algeria, but advanced thanks to a 2-0 win in the first-leg.
Esperance booked their place in a seventh Caf Champions League final following a controversial 4-3 aggregate win over Primeiro de Agosto.
The Tunisian’s suffered a 1-0 defeat in the first-leg in Luanda, resulting in the dismissal of Khaled Ben Yahia shortly after the encounter. His assistant, Mouine Chaabani, duly stepped into the hot-seat and safely guided the club into the final following a 4-2 win in the return-leg. Bet Now on NaijaBet
In the build-up to the final, Chaabani admitted that his troops suffered in their final-four showdown and hopes for an improved performance as they aim to get their hands on what will be a third Caf Champions League crown. Continue reading “CAF Champions League, Al Ahly eyes ninth title”
Italian goalkeeping “legend” Gianluigi Buffon will start for Paris Saint-Germain when they face Lille and Napoli in the coming days, PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said on Thursday.
Buffon, who joined the Ligue 1 giants in the summer from Juventus, last played for PSG in a 5-0 league win over Lyon on October 7 as he alternates with French shot-stopper Alphonse Areola.
The 40-year-old World Cup winner was suspended for PSG’s opening three Champions League group games.
But he is set to replace Areola in Friday’s league fixture with Lille and again in Naples on Tuesday when PSG will be battling for a win to salvage their flagging Champions League campaign.
“He plays a very important role for us because he’s a legend,” Tuchel said.
“He’s had a great career and has a lot of experience. He’s crucial for us thanks to his approach to the game. LIVE matches Bet Now NaijaBet
“It’s very important that he’s here and that he speaks to everyone to share his experience.” Continue reading “Gianluigi Buffon to start against Lille, Napoli”
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic has admitted that club owner Shahid Khan is disappointed with their dismal start to the Premier League campaign but the Serbian is confident he can reverse their fortunes.
American Khan invested more than 100 million pounds ($128.52 million) on players after the side earned promotion last season but Fulham have failed to deliver on the pitch, losing seven of 10 games to sit 18th in the standings.
“After the game (Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Bournemouth), he (Khan) asked me about the situation, about which way we’re looking for a solution,” Jokanovic said ahead of Thursday’s League Cup clash against Manchester City.
“He wasn’t satisfied, like me and our supporters, but this is a long process and the situation is in our hands to reach our target in the end of the season. Continue reading “Fulham boss confident turnaround after poor start”
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has promised Wilfried Zaha the club’s full backing after the forward received racist abuse and threats on social media following his side’s Premier League draw with Arsenal.
Zaha, who has found himself at the centre of an ongoing debate over simulation in recent months, was targeted after winning a late penalty to help secure a 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Sunday.
Hodgson, who left the Ivory Coast international behind nursing a shoulder problem as the rest of the squad headed north for Wednesday’s 1-0 League Cup fourth-round defeat at Middlesbrough, condemned those who had abused him.
“As far as Wilf is concerned, the club will do everything they can to support him in this way,” said the former England manager.
“I don’t think there are many people out there, except perhaps the odd Twitter troll who knows no better, who believe that racially abusing people or threatening people is the right way to go.” Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet.com
Zaha took to social media to stand up for himself following the Arsenal game and revealed on Instagram Tuesday that the abuse had escalated. Continue reading “Zaha get full backing over online attacks from Hodgson”
A Spanish magistrate leading an investigation into alleged irregularities in Neymar’s move to Barcelona in 2013 said on Wednesday the Brazilian superstar could face up to six years in prison.
“The term imposed, in principle, could be between four and six years,” said a decree issued by judge Jose Maria Vazquez Honrubia, a copy of which was seen by AFP.
Neymar, his parents, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell are all awaiting trial over alleged corruption concerning Neymar’s move to the Spanish La Liga giants in 2013.
The Brazilian international forward is now with Paris Saint-Germain in France’s Ligue 1.
The case, which follows a complaint by DIS, a Brazilian group which part-owned the rights to Neymar, surrounds allegations of “corruption” and “fraud” in the player’s move to Barcelona. Bet Now
Neymar moved to the Spanish La Liga giants in May 2013 for a reported fee of 57.1m euros. Although no financial details of the deal were revealed by either Barcelona or his Brazilian club FC Santos, Neymar’s parents were said to have received receive 40m euros and FC Santos 17.1m. Continue reading “Neymar might end up in prison over Barca move – Spanish magistrate”
Wayne Rooney has urged Manchester United’s underachieving stars to show more respect for their troubled club.
United are languishing in eighth place in the Premier League and have made a slow start to their Champions League campaign.
Sunday’s 2-1 win over Everton did little to lift the gloom around Old Trafford, with United manager Jose Mourinho under scrutiny following a spluttering run which has seen key players fail to produce consistent performances. Live Bet
Mourinho has clashed with United stars including Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial.
And Rooney, who became United’s record goalscorer before leaving in 2017, believes it is down to the team’s highly paid stars to play with more pride and passion regardless of their issues with Mourinho. Continue reading “Rooney urges Man United falling stars to show respect”
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech will start Wednesday’s League Cup tie against Blackpool after overcoming a hamstring injury, manager Unai Emery has confirmed.
The 36-year-old Cech had kept close-season signing Bernd Leno out of the first team at the start of the campaign before he sustained the injury against Watford in September, but was on the bench for the 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace last weekend.
“We are looking for the confidence in each goalkeeper, but now at the moment, Cech will start the Blackpool match after coming back from his injury,” Emery said. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet
Emery said he was likely to make a number of changes for the fourth-round clash against the third tier side at the Emirates Stadium. Continue reading “Petr Cech will start against Blackpool in League Cup”
Nigeria has again left out captain Mikel John Obi from next month’s crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in South Africa after they named a 23-man squad.
China-based Mikel Obi, who made his Nigeria debut in 2005, has not played for the country since he captained the team to the World Cup in Russia in June.
Officials have said the former Chelsea star was previously left out of the squad to allow him time to recover from niggling injuries.
But he has since fully recovered and is now playing regularly for his Chinese club, Tianjin Teda.
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has recalled Sporting Charleroi striker Victor Osimhen and midfielder Mikel Agu, who is based in Portugal.
Villarreal young forward Samuel Chukwueze has been handed his first call-up. Continue reading “Mikel Obi out of Afcon qualifier clash against South Africa”
Tottenham’s hopes of progressing to the next round of the Champions League hang in the balance after they were held to a 2-2 draw with PSV in midweek. In the Premier League, they have won seven of nine games and are enjoying their best ever start to a top-flight campaign.
Manchester City top the table having too won seven of nine league matches so far, but are one of three teams yet to lose. Confidence will be high for Pep Guardiola’s side after their comfortable 3-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night.
Like with Spurs, the fixtures are starting to pile up for City, but with an extra day’s rest, they should capitalise with a repeat of last season’s 3-1 win at Wembley on the cards.
Tottenham- Jan Vertonghen is our until December with a hamstring issue, while Vincent Janssen is a long-term absentee for the home side.
Dele Alli and Danny Rose are closing in on a return to fitness, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll feature here.
Mauricio Pochettino could rotate as Spurs gear up to play two games in the space of three days, however, will likely save his fringe players for the Carabao Cup meeting with West Ham in midweek. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Tottenham vs Manchester City”
Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice, including a thunderous 25-yard drive, as Italian champions Juventus surged seven points clear in Serie A on Saturday following a battling 2-1 victory at Empoli.
Empoli, without a win since the opening weekend of the season, grabbed a 28th-minute lead at the Stadio Carlo Castellani as Francesco Caputo curled home following a lung-busting run by Afriyie Acquah.
But Juventus turned to their €100-million man Ronaldo in the second half, as the Portugal forward equalised from the spot before blasting home a magnificent second to secure a ninth win in 10 Serie A matches for Massimiliano Allegri’s team.
“It was a very complicated game. We knew it would be difficult, especially after a Champions League tie and we were a bit tired,” Ronaldo said.
“We stayed in the game, increased our possession, created more chances after the break and in the end deserved the victory. Bet Now
“I don’t remember the goal very well, I’ll have to watch it again! It all happened very quickly, but I felt confident and I went for the goal.”
After Caputo’s opener, the hosts appealed for a penalty when Miha Zajc’s shot glanced the arm of Leonardo Bonucci as he attempted to charge down the attempt, but the referee opted against punishing the Italy defender after reviewing the incident on video. Continue reading “Ronaldo shines as Juventus sinks Empoli”
Sergio Ramos insists Real Madrid’s players have been told nothing about a change of coach after their 5-1 defeat to Barcelona on Sunday left Julen Lopetegui on the brink of the sack.
Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick as Madrid were ripped apart at Camp Nou and familiar failings in defence were exposed again.
Philippe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal scored either side of Suarez’s treble while a Marcelo goal briefly threatened a comeback early in the second half.
The European champions have now managed only one victory from their last six matches and reports in the Spanish press on Sunday night indicated Lopetegui could be removed as soon as Monday, with Antonio Conte ready to take charge.
“We have to wait, they have not told us anything,” Ramos said after the match. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet
“These are decisions not made by us so we have to keep a cool head, look at ourselves and try to change things to get better results.
“We will see what happens in the coming hours and tomorrow but the players are always with the coach to the death.” Continue reading “Ramos says players are in the dark about the future of Lopetegui”
Empoli are without a win in eight games but did at least draw with relegation rivals Frosinone last time out.
Juventus have started the season with 11 wins from 12, drawing to Genoa last weekend.
Juventus were fantastic away to Manchester United in midweek and will be full of confidence on Saturday.
Empoli- Luca Antonelli and Manuel Pasqual will keep rotating at left-back, with the latter expected to sit out here. Bet Now
Coach Aurelio Andreazzoli is contemplating two systems: a 4-3-1-2 with Antonino La Gumina up front or a 4-3-2-1 with Rade Krunic pushed forward. Continue reading “SerieA Match Preview: Empoli vs Juventus”
Jurgen Klopp will hope Liverpool have rediscovered their best form after beating FK Crvena Zvezda 4-0 on Wednesday night in the Champions League.
Liverpool are unbeaten in the league this season and have a good chance to take the outright lead in the Premier League with Manchester City playing away to Tottenham on Monday night.
Cardiff climbed out of the bottom three last weekend after picking up their first win of the season, a hugely impressive 4-2 victory over Fulham.
This is the first meeting between the two teams since March 2014 when Liverpool ran out 6-3 winners, featuring a Luis Suarez hat-trick. Liverpool has not conceded a home league goal this season and that is unlikely to change here. Start forecasting your weekend games Now
Liverpool- Jordan Henderson will miss out once again for Liverpool, while Naby Keita remains a doubt after missing Wednesday’s Champions League action.
Fabinho excelled in their absence on his first big game and looks primed to cement a place in midfield on Saturday. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Liverpool vs Cardiff”
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Roger Federer won his 17th consecutive match at the Swiss Indoors on Thursday, dispatching Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals.
The top seed, unbeaten in Basle since 2013, is an eight-time winner of his home event and will next play Frenchman Gilles Simon, who defeated Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/0).
Federer admitted he was not satisfied with his slow start, going down a break in the third game.
“I didn’t really get into the game. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a match a match without being broken.
“I have to improve in the next round.”
The 37-year-old, ranked third in the world, trailed to the early break but soon recovered for 3-all in the opening set.
He then broke for 5-3 before closing out the opener in 27 minutes.
The second set stayed on serve until a fifth double-fault from Struff, which opened the door for Federer to move 6-5 ahead.
Continue reading “Tsitsipas sets up Medvedev clash; Federer winning powers on”
Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola says it would be impossible for him to ever coach another team in England and says he is now a Mancunian for life.
Guardiola, who led City to the Premier League title last season with a record points tally of 100, signed a contract extension with the champions earlier this year that will take him to the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
One of the most successful managers in world football, Guardiola has been known to keep his coaching stints brief, spending four years at Barcelona and three at Bayern Munich.
However, even if he ended his stay at City after five years in 2021, he said he could not envisage one day managing a Premier League rival.
“I will be Mancunian for rest of my life. I will (always) be a Manchester City fan, it would not be possible to train another team in England like Manchester City,” Guardiola said in an interview. Start forecasting your weekend games Now
“I feel beloved from the people here… I want to make a better club to make them believe we are strong enough to do better things.” Continue reading “Guardiola ready to manage Man City for life”
Chelsea are unbeaten in all competitions this season but required a stoppage-time equaliser at home to Manchester United on Saturday to preserve that run.
Maurizio Sarri’s side has won their first two Europa League games, albeit both by 1-0 scorelines.
BATE Borisov followed up their 2-0 win over Vidi FC with a 4-1 defeat against PAOK.
Chelsea has not lost a European group game at Stamford Bridge since September 2013, unbeaten in 12 matches since then. Place bet on LIVE matches 24/7 on NaijaBet
Chelsea- Eden Hazard had a back injury against Manchester United on Saturday and is ruled out on Thursday. Youngsters Ethan Ampadu, Isaiah Brown and Callum Hudson-Odoi are also sidelined. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Chelsea vs BATE Borisov”
Sporting has only failed to win three of their first 11 matches in all competitions this season but two of those have fallen in their last five.
The Portuguese giants have a 100 per cent win record at home this season (5/5) and have only conceded two goals.
Arsenal has won 10 matches in a row in all competitions for the first time since 2007.
Unai Emery’s side has momentum but this will be their toughest test during that period.
Sporting CP- Sporting has injury concerns involving a number of key players ahead of Thursday’s tough Europa League contest with Arsenal.
Jeremy Mathieu has missed Sporting’s last five matches but reported for first-team training at the start of the week, suggesting he will be ready for Thursday. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Sporting CP vs Arsenal”
Marseille have won their last two matches without conceding. They are yet to win in the Europa League this season (D1, L1).
Lazio has also won their last two matches without conceding. They slipped to a shock 4-1 defeat at Frankfurt last time out in the Europa League.
This is the first competitive meeting between the two teams since 2000, when Lazio triumphed 5-1 courtesy of four goals from current Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi.
Marseille- Luiz Gustavo and Lucas Ocampos were both suspended against Nice at the weekend and could get some playing time here as a result. Rolando and Clinton N’Jie are the only injury concerns for Marseille. Naija and Bet
Lazio- Riza Durmisi is the only player expected to miss out for Lazio when they face Marseille on Thursday. Jordan Lukaku is yet to feature this season but is an option at left wing-back. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Marseille vs Lazio”
RB Leipzig are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions (W4,D2).
Celtic have won four of their last five in all competitions, but lost in the Europa League during that run.
RB Leipzig has kept successive clean sheets at home and are expected to beat Brendan Rodgers’ side.
RasenBallsport Leipzig- RB Leipzig has a clean bill of health ahead of Thursday’s Europa League encounter with Celtic.
20-year-old Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha has started RB Leipzig’s first two Europa League group games and is expected to lead the line again here.
Celtic- James Forrest is suspended after being sent off in Celtic’s 3-1 defeat away to Salzburg last time out in the Europa League. Bet Now
Scott Brown was forced off midway through the first half of Celtic’s 4-2 win over Hibernian on Saturday and is unlikely to feature here as a result. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: RasenBallsport Leipzig vs Celtic”
Barcelona overcame the absence of an injured Lionel Messi to defeat Inter Milan 2-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday, while Borussia Dortmund signalled their intent with a 4-0 demolition of Atletico Madrid.
Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool strolled past Red Star Belgrade, but Paris Saint-Germain needed a superb stoppage-time equaliser from Angel Di Maria to rescue a point at home to Napoli.
Barca collected a third win from three Group B outings as Rafinha, filling in for Messi after the Argentine star fractured his arm at the weekend, volleyed in the opener on 32 minutes at Camp Nou.
Philippe Coutinho rattled the crossbar in the second half before Jordi Alba sealed the points seven minutes from time to leave Barca on the brink of a spot in the last 16. Place bet on today’s Europa League Matches on NaijaBet
“We needed to step up given the absence of Leo,” Ernesto Valverde said. “It was in the head of us all.”
“We have a certain style, then Messi gives us a touch of brilliance that is extraordinary. When he is not there we have to supply it in some other way,” he added. Continue reading “Messi less Barca shine, Dortmund sinks Atletico Madrid”