Showing posts with label Sport Update. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sport Update. Show all posts

Friday, January 20, 2017

Nigerian Sports Legend, Chris Enahoro Is Died at 80years

Nigeria has lost one of its all-round sports legend, Chris Enahoro, who died on Wednesday morning in Lagos after a brief illness.

The 80-year-old Enahoro was a former captain of the Nigerian Cricket team and All-time school athletics record holder as well as former Chairman, Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF).

The late sports legend was supposed to have a meeting with NationSport on Wednesday but had to cancel the scheduled meeting following a brief illness.

According to his PA, Razak Adedigba, the deceased died around 6:30am on Wednesday.

“When the doctor came on Wednesday, he attended to him and told him to rest. He later woke up in the evening to have his dinner and told me he was getting better. Early today (Wednesday), he woke up at 5am to visit the toilet on his own. but he told me to lay him on the floor and I had to on the fan for him where he laid and breathed his last breath around 6:30am. It was painful for him because I have been with him for more than one decade. I was actually living with him before I got married last year but I still resumed each day to assist him. His death was painful and I noticed that he was passionate about sports,” he said.

Sport: Tunisia beat Algeria to boost quarter-finals chances

Tunisia on Thursday boosted their chances of reaching the quarter-finals of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Gabon with a 2-1 win over neighbours Algeria in Group B.

The the match’s first half was a cagey affair as both sides probed each other’s area in search of an opening goal.

But, both teams failed to take their chances as the first half ended 0-0.

However, it was Tunisia who drew the first blood in the second half, even though it was from an own goal.

They took the lead when Algeria’s Aissa Mandi directed Youssef Msakni’s right-wing cross into his own net in the 50th minute.

The Tunisians grew in confidence afterwards and continued to pile pressure on the Algerian defence.

Some dreadful defending by Faouzi Ghoulam led to his bringing down Wahbi Khazri for a penalty kick which Naim Sliti coolly slotted into the right corner in the 66th minute.

Algeria however got some consolation when Sofiane Hanni struck from the edge of the area in added time.

Senegal who face Zimbabwe later on Thursday currently top Group B with three points and a superior goal difference over Tunisia who are also on three points.

Tunisia’s chances of progressing to the quarter-finals appear to be higher, given that they will face rank outsiders Zimbabwe on Monday.

Algeria, placed at the bottom of the log having amassed only one point, will slug it out with Senegal in their final group game same day.

(NAN)

Amaju Melvin Pinnick got huge FIFA appointment

President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Melvin Pinnick has been named by World football –ruling body, FIFA, into one of its most important committees – the Organising Committee for Competitions.

Hitherto, the world body had different committees for organization of its several competitions, including the FIFA World Cup, FIFA Confederations Cup, FIFA Women’s World Cup, FIFA U20 World Cup, FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, FIFA U17 World Cup, FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Pinnick was a member of the Organising Committee for the FIFA U20 World Cup.

However, at its 66th Congress in Mexico City on 12th – 13th May 2016, and in accordance with the revised FIFA Statutes that came into force on 27th April 2016, the model of the standing committees was reviewed, cutting the number from 26 to 9.

The new model has only the following committees: Governance, Finance, Development, Member Associations, Referees, Players’ Status, Football Stakeholders, Medical, Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions.

Pinnick’s letter of appointment, dated 18th January 2017 and signed by Fatma Samoura, the Secretary General, read inter alia: “We are very pleased to inform you that you have been appointed member of the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions. We wish you our sincere congratulations on this appointment.

“The FIFA administration is at your disposal through the following Administration Officer, who will be in contact with you regarding the upcoming meetings and any further aspects relating to your office as member of this committee: Colin Smith, Chief Competitions Officer.

“We wish you great success and enjoyment in this role at FIFA and look forward to welcoming you soon to Zurich.”

The Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions is headed by Aleksander Ceferin, President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). The tenure of members is for 2017-2021.

In line with the new FIFA reforms, each proposed member of any of the committees was made to go through a comprehensive integrity check conducted by several organisations of global relevance and stature.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sport: West Brom table £17m for Ighalo

West Bromwich Albion FC are eager to sign Watford striker Odion Ighalo and have made a £17 million bid for the Super Eagles striker. Sky Sports News reported that a fee of £17m has been accepted between the clubs but another source claims talks are not yet that advanced.

The 27-year-old Ighalo thrived under Quique Sanchez Flores last season but has struggled to recapture his best form in Walter Mazzarri’s side this term. He has only scored twice this season in all competitions – after notching 17 last term – while the Hornets have struggled for consistency in both their starting line-up and their general Premier League form. Ighalo joined Watford from Udinese in 2014 and has scored 39 goals in over 98 appearances.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Liverpool turn down Mamadou Sakho loan bid from Southampton

Southampton have been rebuffed in a request to take Mamadou Sakho on loan from Liverpool.

The south coast club made their move after West Ham made further enquiries about taking transfer listed Jose Fonte.

France international defender Sakho is available but Liverpool are looking for a permanent sale and have been asking for £20m for the 26-year-old.

Crystal Palace, Swansea and Sevilla have also enquired.

Sakho has not featured for Liverpool at all this season after falling foul of manager Jurgen Klopp during their pre-season tour of the United States.

Fonte has been excluded by Southampton since making a formal request to leave St. Mary's at the start of the transfer window. 

He has been with the Saints since 2010, when he joined them from Crystal Palace.

Steven Gerrard insists Liverpool still need Daniel Sturridge despite poor performance against Plymouth Argyle

Steven Gerrard says Liverpool cannot afford to lose Daniel Sturridge in the January transfer window and has backed the England international to improve despite another frustrating performance on Wednesday night.

Sturridge has struggled to produce his best form for the Reds this season and has fallen down the pecking order at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp.

The 27-year-old was handed a rare start against Plymouth Argyle in an FA Cup third round replay on Wednesday. However, he failed to impress and was substituted by Klopp midway through the second half.

Sturridge appeared unhappy to be taken off with the match finely poised at 1-0 and Gerrard admits he feels some sympathy for his former team-mate.

'There's definitely frustration there when he got taken off after 60-65 minutes and he's not starting week in, week out,' Gerrard told BT Sport.

'There's certainly frustration but I wouldn't say it's a crossroads because Liverpool still need him.

You can't just have one or two good strikers in the Premier League, you need three or four. 

'So there's going to be game time there for him but he needs to take the chances.'

Sturridge has been linked with a move away from Anfield this month but Gerrard believes the striker will remain with the club, at least until the end of the season.

'Only he knows whether he is happy, whether he is frustrated, whether he wants to go somewhere else,' Gerrard said.

One thing is for sure, Liverpool are not going to let him go for cheap. Liverpool need him. 

'He scores goals when he plays, his minutes to goals record is incredible. I'm sure if someone came along with a huge, huge offer – and Daniel wanted it – I'm sure there could be a solution. 

'As it stands Liverpool need Daniel Sturridge and I can't see him going anywhere short-term.

Manchester United agree deal for Memphis Depay to join Lyon for £21.6m as the Holland international arrives in France for a medical

Memphis Depay flew to Lyon on Wednesday night to complete his transfer after Manchester United agreed a £21.6million deal with the French club.

The fee is an initial £16m with add-ons. United have also inserted a buy-back option and sell-on clause. 

Lyon’s Twitter account on Wednesday night sent out a picture of Depay, 22, arriving in the city after the player took a two-hour private flight from Manchester. 

The deal should be finalised on Thursday following Depay’s medical.

Depay joined United from PSV Eindhoven for an initial £25million which represents a small loss but United were content to sell with the 22-year-old having failed to make the desired impact and on substantial wages of around £100,000 a week.

Depay will have a medical on Thursday and has already agreed a four-and-a-half year contract.

United had rejected bids of £9m and £11.5m before Lyon made a revised attempt on Tuesday and agreed to further add-ons on Wednesday.

Everton had shown interest in the Holland international but failed to follow up with an offer.

Manchester United agree deal for Memphis Depay to join Lyon for £21.6m as the Holland international arrives in France for a medical

Memphis Depay flew to Lyon on Wednesday night to complete his transfer after Manchester United agreed a £21.6million deal with the French club.

The fee is an initial £16m with add-ons. United have also inserted a buy-back option and sell-on clause. 

Lyon’s Twitter account on Wednesday night sent out a picture of Depay, 22, arriving in the city after the player took a two-hour private flight from Manchester. 

The deal should be finalised on Thursday following Depay’s medical.

Depay joined United from PSV Eindhoven for an initial £25million which represents a small loss but United were content to sell with the 22-year-old having failed to make the desired impact and on substantial wages of around £100,000 a week.

Depay will have a medical on Thursday and has already agreed a four-and-a-half year contract.

United had rejected bids of £9m and £11.5m before Lyon made a revised attempt on Tuesday and agreed to further add-ons on Wednesday.

Everton had shown interest in the Holland international but failed to follow up with an offer.

Manchester United lead Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of Deloitte Money League after posting record revenues of £513m in 2015-16

Manchester United have regained top spot in the Deloitte Money League for the first time in more than a decade.

The Red Devils, benefiting from a return to the Champions League, posted a record revenue of £515.3million over the course of the 2015-16.

That was enough to knock Real Madrid off the top spot after 11 years at the summit. The Spaniards slipped to third, despite returning their own record of £463.8m - an increase of almost £45m. Barcelona move into second.

Figures were up at Old Trafford across the board, with improved revenues showing in the matchday, broadcast and commercial sectors. 

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: 'In recent years, (United's) ability to secure commercial partnerships with value in excess of that achievable by their peers has been the crucial factor in enabling the club to regain their place at the top of the Money League.

'They'll face strong competition from FC Barcelona and Real Madrid to retain the top spot in next year's edition, due to the lack of Champions League football, the weakening of the Pound against the Euro and, over the longer term, as other clubs enter the commercial market demanding similar deals, using United as the precedent.'

Over the course of the Money League's 20-year existence, United are the only side other than Real to have held top spot, and the huge wealth of English clubs was evident again in 2015-16, as eight teams made the top 20.

Manchester City moved into the top five for the first time, their revenues up £40m to just under £400m, while Leicester made their debut appearance in the list.

The £128.7m generated by the Foxes during their surprise title-winning season is almost five times more than the club recorded during the 2013-14 campaign.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all had the money to be placed in the top 10, Tottenham finished 11th and West Ham also made the cut, having seen revenues rise by more than a third.

Combined revenues for the clubs who made the top 20 grew a whopping 12 per cent to £6.4billion, of which eight Premier League sides contributed £2.4b.

Further growth is expected from English team's next year, with Deloitte senior manager Tim Bridge predicting almost total domination of the Money League top 30 next term.

'We can expect the growth rate to be strong again next year as the Premier League clubs benefit from increased revenue due to their record television contracts,' he said, referring to the £5.14b TV rights deal which began at the start of the current campaign.

'There is a strong chance that almost all Premier League clubs will be in the top 30 clubs next year.'  

The report, put together by business advisers Deloitte, uses figures extracted from the annual financial statements of the company or group in respect of each club. 

Liverpool hero Xabi Alonso confirms decision to retire at end of Bayern Munich season after 18-year career

Xabi Alonso has confirmed his plans to retire from football when his Bayern Munich contract expires at the end of the season. 

According to reports in Germany, Alonso approached the Bayern board prior to the Bundesliga winter break and told them of his intentions to hang up his boots in June.

Sport Bild reported on Wednesday that the German giants accepted his decision but have kept the door open should he perform a U-turn and carry on playing. 

Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti, who worked with the Spanish midfielder at Real Madrid, remains a great supporter of the Liverpool hero. 

The 35-year-old, however, is understood to have made up his mind and wants to call time on his career after 18 years in the game. 

He started his career in his homeland with Real Sociedad before arriving in the Premier League in 2004 where he became a key member of the Liverpool squad.

During his time in England with the Reds, he won the Champions League, FA Cup and Super Cup under Rafa Benitez's guidance. 

The Spaniard's achievements at Anfield earned him a £30million move to Real in 2009, where he helped the club to yet another Champions League triumph in his final season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Alonso also starred as the Spanish giants won La Liga, Copa del Rey twice and the Spanish Super Cup.

After five years in Madrid, Alonso moved to Munich where he has remained; winning the Bundesliga twice, the German Cup and the German Super Cup.

The experienced midfielder called time on his Spain career in 2014 after 114 caps, two European Championship crowns and one World Cup triumph.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Crystal Palace 2-1 Bolton: Christian Benteke nets brace as Eagles come from behind to book tie against Manchester City in FA Cup fourth round

Out of the misery finally came a win. With it Sam Allardyce punched the air and allowed himself a grin, but just as quickly it was gone - he knows there are far more meaningful hurdles to clear than this one.

It has been a rotten time for Crystal Palace's manager since he rocked up at Christmas, with five winless games before this fixture and the increasing realisation that his side are deep in the muck.

For a decent stretch of time here, that crisis was getting worse. His side looked sloppy, nervous, damaged by recent experiences in the Premier League and then they fell behind when James Henry lobbed Julian Speroni three minutes in the second half. 

But a Christian Benteke header moments after he came off the substitutes' bench got Palace back into the tie. And a half volley with 13 minutes to play turned the match and the narrative. 

Allardyce had his win, while Palace have a tie with Manchester City in the fourth round, even if Allardyce had made it abundantly clear earlier in the week that he has bigger concerns than the FA Cup.

That was underlined on the night with seven changes to the side last fielded in the Premier League and for more than an hour, until Benteke came on, Allardyce must have been alarmed to see how his fringe players struggled against League One opposition.

'I would not have wanted that team to lose to Bolton,' he said. 'Some of that team are playing quite regularly in the Premier League, so if they'd lost they'd be telling me they're not good enough to beat a League One side at home.

'But winning gives everyone a bit of relief for a short period of time. By the morning it'll be about getting minds on Everton (for Palace's next league game, on Saturday).

'Everton is more important now. I need them at their top form and to stay there for a period of time, and that comes from believing in their ability, going to watch videos from 2015 when they went fifth in the Premier League. Let that bring them confidence to play like that again.'

The greater need, which goes beyond motivational messages, is for reinforcements to arrive, with Allardyce hopeful of completing a deal for Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson this week. He added: 'I'll be speaking to the chairman after this at some length to see what is what, where we are, what has been accepted and what hasn't.

'We are spreading our wings far and wide. Hopefully, in the next 48 hours, at least one of our targets will say yes and sign on. I know we've had five or six or eight bids in for players, all across Europe as well as in this country, and only Jeffrey Schlupp accepted.'

For so long in this game their need for new faces was obvious. 

The only real bright spark had been Sullay Kaikai, a 21-year-old attacking midfielder who progressed through Palace's academy before spending much of the past three seasons on loan assignments from League Two to the Championship.

His contribution here added a degree of entertainment to a frequently tedious game, particularly in the first half. Never one to hesitate when a shot might be available, he was responsible for two of the best early chances, with one swerving free-kick grazing the post and a chipped finish clearing the bar.

Self-belief, clearly, is not an issue for him. But beyond Kaikai, all they had was a Joe Ledley goal disallowed for handball and Martin Kelly had a header saved by Ben Alnwick.

Those missed chances set up the inevitable Bolton punishment, delivered on 48 minutes by Henry, who looped a shot over Speroni from the edge of the area.

It was almost enough for an upset, but Mathieu Flamini delivered a cross from the right after 68 minutes and Benteke buried the header, six minutes after coming on for Loic Remy.

That had Bolton's former manager grinning and Benteke's winner nine minutes later had him celebrating like a man desperate for any kind of positive momentum, even if the cup might get in the way of a relegation battle. A win, any win, will do right now.

The question is whether the habit will stick in the format where Palace need it most.

Diego Costa and Antonio Conte make peace after fitness row

Antonio Conte and Diego Costa have drawn a line under last week's fitness row at Chelsea’s training ground.

And Costa will now be given the opportunity to win his place back in the starting XI for the clash against Hull City on Saturday.

The Spain striker has been introduced back into senior training at the club’s Cobham HQ as he looks to prove himself ahead of the weekend's Premier League clash.

The striker had been training away from the rest of the first-team squad following a row with manager Conte over his fitness.

Costa has complained of a lower back problem, but certain figures at the club fear his head has been turned by a money-spinning offer from China.

And it has since emerged that Costa's agent, Jorge Mendes, travelled to China to hold talks over a move to big-spending Tianjin Quanjian.

Shu Yuhui, the club’s owner, has revealed Mendes made a special visit to China to discuss a move for the 28-year-old, whose current contract expires in 2019.

'I made an appointment with (Jorge) Mendes and he came to my hometown to visit me,' he told Tianjin Sports Channel.

Tianjin were in the market for a top European striker until new rules implemented by the Chinese FA reduced the number of foreign players allowed to play at any given time from four to three.

At that time, we were interested in signing Costa,' Yuhui added.

'PSG told us (Edinson) Cavani would only be allowed to leave in June, even though the player himself was willing to join us. The same can be said for Costa because Chelsea would only let him leave in June.

'However, the new season of CSL will almost reach the halfway stage in June, we can't wait so long.’

Manchester City star Yaya Toure rejects lucrative offers to move to China on £430,000 per week

Yaya Toure has rejected a £430,000-a-week offer from the Chinese Super League to stay at Manchester City.

Toure, who turned down a £520,000-a-week package from Jiangsu Suning 12 months ago, would have earned £22.5million-a-year from the unnamed club.

The 33-year-old Ivory Coast star will see out the final six months of his contract at the Etihad and has not given up hope of securing a new deal. 

Toure has regained his place after being frozen out by Pep Guardiola at the start of the season, and the City boss confirmed at the weekend that he is likely to include the former Barcelona midfielder in his Champions League squad for the knockout phase of the competition.

His agent Dimitri Seluk said: ‘Yaya plays on another level. He wants to play at the highest level. He’s happy at Manchester City. Yaya likes football more than money.”  

Toure, signed from Barcelona for £24m in 2010, has produced a number of fine performances and regained a place in the heart of City's midfield over the past two months. Prior to that it seemed his glittering spell at the club, which includes two Premier League titles, would end ingloriously following a row between the club and his agent.

Toure was frozen out of the first-team picture by manager Guardiola after Seluk claimed the midfielder had been humiliated by his omission from City's Champions League squad.

That situation was resolved with an apology from Toure in November and his response since, Guardiola has confirmed, has ensured he will be restored to that squad for the remainder of the season.

As his contract winds down, Toure is now entitled to speak to other clubs but he said earlier this month he would not.

He said: 'No, I won't do that. My focus (is) on City, the future is there because for now the league is not finished.'

Regarding the possibility of a new deal at City, Guardiola last week said of Toure and other out-of-contract players: 'We are going to see at the end of the season.'

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sports: Liverpool don't need to waste time - Dortmund

Liverpool have once again been told to not waste their time by pursuing Dortmund's Christian Pulisic.

The Reds are admirers of the talented American teenager, but Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc has told them it's not worth submitting an offer.

'We have communicated very clearly that we won't sell Christian and that he's very much part of our plans,' Zorc told Bild.

'Liverpool don't need to waste time. They can save their money.'

Sport: Cesar Azpilicueta sign new contract with Chelsea

Cesar Azpilicueta has today signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract, keeping him at Chelsea until 2020.

Azpilicueta, 27, will make his 200th Chelsea appearance if selected at Sunderland tomorrow night as Antonio Conte's side seek a 10th successive Premier League victory.

Upon signing the new deal, Azpilicueta said: 'I’m really happy to have signed a new contract. Since I arrived here my target was to progress as a player and win trophies.

'This new contract gives me the chance to continue my relationship with the club, that’s what I wanted and obviously I’m really happy here.'

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sport: Cristiano Ronaldo beats Lionel Messi to win Ballon d'Or 2016

The Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award for a fourth time.

Ronaldo, 31, helped Real Madrid win last season’s Champions League and scored three goals as Portugal won Euro 2016.
It adds to the titles he won in 2008, 2013 and 2014.

Ronaldo is now one behind Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who received the honour in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

The former Manchester United forward has scored 19 goals in 20 games for club and country this term, to add to the 54 he got last season.

Ronaldo’s Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale finished sixth in the vote, while Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy – the only Englishman included on the 30-player shortlist – was eighth.

The Ballon d’Or is given to the best Europe-based player as voted by 173 journalists from around the world.

It has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956, but for the past six years it became the Fifa Ballon d’Or in association with world football’s governing body.
However, Fifa ended its association with the award in September.

FIFA will hand out its own prize for the world’s best men’s player, along with the best women’s player and team of the year, at the Best Fifa Football Awards ceremony in Zurich on 9 January.

Ronaldo’s 2016 in numbers

-42 games, 38 goals, 14 assists
-Third best minutes-per-goal rate – 83.68 – of anyone scoring a minimum of 10 goals across Europe’s top five leagues during 2016, behind Luis Suarez (82.57) and Falcao (59.6)
-Directly involved in 39 La Liga goals in 30 games – 31 scored and nine assists.

Sport : Ballon d’or winners from 1956 To 2015

Glance through the Previous winners of the Ballon d’or:

1956: Stanley Matthews (ENG)

1957: Alfredo Di Stefano (ESP)

1958: Raymond Kopa (FRA)

1959: Alfredo Di Stefano (ESP)

1960: Luis Suarez (ESP)

1961: Omar Sivori (ITA)

1962: Josef Masopust (CZE)

1963: Lev Yashin (USSR)

1964: Denis Law (SCO)

1965: Eusebio (POR)

1966: Bobby Charlton (ENG)

1967: Florian Albert (HUN)

1968: George Best (NIR)

1969: Gianni Rivera (ITA)

1970: Gerd Mueller (GER)

1971: Johan Cruyff (NED)

1972: Franz Beckenbauer (GER)

1973: Johan Cruyff (NED)

1974: Johan Cruyff (NED)

1975: Oleg Blokhin (USSR)

1976: Franz Beckenbauer (GER)

1977: Alan Simonsen (DEN)

1978: Kevin Keegan (ENG)

1979: Kevin Keegan (ENG)

1980: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (GER)

1981: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (GER)

1982: Paolo Rossi (ITA)

1983: Michel Platini (FRA)

1984: Michel Platini (FRA)

1985: Michel Platini (FRA)

1986: Igor Belanov (USSR)

1987: Ruud Gullit (NED)

1988: Marco van Basten (NED)

1989: Marco van Basten (NED)

1990: Lothar Matthäus (GER)

1991: Jean-Pierre Papin (FRA)

1992: Marco van Basten (NED)

1993: Roberto Baggio (ITA)

1994: Hristo Stoichkov (BUL)

1995: George Weah (LBR)

1996: Matthias Sammer (GER)

1997: Ronaldo (BRA)

1998: Zinedine Zidane (FRA)

1999: Rivaldo (BRA)

2000: Luis Figo (POR)

2001: Michael Owen (ENG)

2002: Ronaldo (BRA)

2003: Pavel Nedved (CZE)

2004: Andrei Shevchenko (UKR)

2005: Ronaldinho (BRA)

2006: Fabio Cannavaro (ITA)

2007: Kaka (BRA)

2008: Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)

2009: Lionel Messi (ARG)

2010: Lionel Messi (ARG)

2011: Lionel Messi (ARG)

2012: Lionel Messi (ARG)

2013: Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)

2014: Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)

2015: Lionel Messi (ARG)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Arsenal have matured – Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes his Arsenal stars have finally developed the mental toughness required to fight for the Premier League title.
After a few wobbles of late, Wenger’s side have roared back into top gear with a 5-1 rout of West Ham last weekend followed by a 4-1 victory over Basel in the Champions League.
The Gunners are just three points behind Chelsea and they can temporarily take over at the top if they beat Stoke by two goals or more at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday before the leaders host West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
“I believe that first of all we have a good team dynamic, we have a very strong team spirit and we have more maturity, definitely,” said Wenger, whose team are on a 13-match unbeaten run in the league.
“On our side we are in the middle of the fight and we have a chance. In December that’s very interesting.
“As you know, this is a very important month and for us even more because we have big games. Overall I’m very happy with the way we behave and with the consistency of our desire.”
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea juggernaut rolls back into action against West Brom with the pace-setters chasing a ninth consecutive win.
Chelsea produced the most impressive display of their winning streak last weekend when they came from behind to win 3-1 at Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
They have not won nine successive league games within the same season since 2007 and ahead of West Brom’s visit, Marcos Alonso has urged his team-mates not to let their level drop.
“Winning game after game gives you confidence, but you have to keep working,” the Spanish wing-back told the Chelsea website.
“The results give you confidence to work in this way, though. We have got to use this momentum of the last eight league games and go on to have another good game against West Brom now.”
– Unravelling –
While most of Chelsea’s title rivals have been in European action this week, Conte’s side have once again had a full week to prepare for the visit of Tony Pulis’s side.
It is 32 years since West Brom last won at Chelsea, but they have drawn on two of their last three visits and have climbed to seventh in the table on the back of a four-game unbeaten run.
Guardiola’s City will look to kick their title challenge back into gear when they visit unravelling champions Leicester City on Saturday.
The ill-tempered defeat at Chelsea’s hands left a mark, with Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho picking up red cards that will keep them out until after Christmas.
City have slipped to fourth place in the table, four points below Chelsea, and although Leicester are toiling in 16th place, Pablo Zabaleta is taking nothing for granted.
“Always it’s a difficult place to go. Even if they are not doing great in the domestic competition, they are still a good team, very competitive,” said the City right-back.
“It is going to be a tough game. We need to win and get three points after the big defeat last weekend to stay in the fight for the title.”
While City have won their last three away matches in the league, they have won just four of their last 14 games in all competitions as Guardiola continues to search for a durable winning formula.
His problems pale in comparison, however, beside those of Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, who saw a second-string side trounced 5-0 by Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday.
With seven defeats already, Leicester’s league form is as alarming as last season’s was astonishing and has left them just two points above the relegation zone.
Like Chelsea, third-place Liverpool have had a week off to prepare for Sunday’s home game with West Ham.
Manchester United, in contrast, entertain Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday just two days after returning from a gruelling Europa League trip to play Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk.
Jose Mourinho’s side, currently sixth, trail fifth-place Spurs by six points and will have a mountain to climb in terms of Champions League qualification if they lose at Old Trafford.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Soccer: Iwobi Ends Eight-Month Goal Drought; Iheanacho Rescues Point For City; Adarabioyo Impresses ; Efe, Akanji, Akpom Not Involved

The performances of players of Nigerian descent in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.

Alex Iwobi ended his eight-month goal drought in Arsenal’s 4-1 rout of FC Basel at St. Jakob Park. 

The Gunners number seventeen, who played the full game, gave his team a 4-0 lead in the 53rd minute. Iwobi tapped the ball in , with Mesut Oezil providing the assist for the goal.

Summer signing Lucas Perez capped a perfect evening with his first hat-trick for Arsenal, while Seydou Doumbia pulled a goal back for the home team in the 78th minute. 

England U21 international Chuba Akpom is still recovering from injury and wasn’t in the traveling party to Switzerland, and Manuel Akanji wasn’t involved for Basel.

Over to the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho registered his name on the scorecard for Manchester City, who were forced to a 1-1 draw by Scottish champions Celtic.

Patrick Roberts fired home to give the visitors an early lead in the fourth minute, only for City’s Nigeria international to equalize four minutes later . He smashed into the roof of the net after receiving a pass from Nolito.

Iheanacho and central defender Tosin Adarabioyo put in a ninety minute shift, Efe Ambrose was absent for Celtic because he has not been registered for the group stage of the Champions League.

Sport: NFF President Insults Super Falcons Stars During Meeting, Oparanozie Leaves Mess Behind

Upon their return from Cameroon where they successfully defended the African Women Cup of Nations, players refused to be decamped unless they are paid their outstanding entitlements. 

During the meeting, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick insulted the players, made it crystal clear that the Federation have no money to pay the players, and told them they won’t get paid even if they remain at the hotel until January.

Pinnick only offered the players their traveling expenses but the players held their ground not to vacate the hotel.

The NFF supremo later sent General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi and Head of Women Football, Ruth David, to appeal to the players but they remained adamant. 

All the players that defended the colours of Nigeria at the AWCON are still with the squad except Guingamp striker Desire Oparanozie who left the team on Monday and will return to France today to join her club.

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