Match Preview : Hull vs Chelsea

Chelsea have failed to win any of their last three league matches and have conceded seven goals in that period.

We are not seeing any of the defensive solidarity and cohesion expected when Antonio Conte arrived and the Chelsea manager is already under pressure after heavy defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal.

Hull’s good start to the season is over and Mike Phelan needs to get them back on track as soon as possible.

They haven’t won any of their last four league games and the last two has seen nine goals conceded.

Keeping 11 men on the pitch at one time seems to be a problem for the Tigers at present and they need to keep their discipline to have any chance of taking points from teams further up the table.

Chelsea have a very good record against Hull, which Conte will be banking on this Saturday. The Blues have won 10 of the last 12 matches against Hull and haven’t tasted defeat against the Tigers since 1988.

Having said that, neither team are playing well and that record may not help them too much at the weekend.

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Match Preview : Swansea vs Liverpool

Swansea will be glad to see the back of Manchester City after two straight matches against Pep Guardiola’s side but things do not come any easier as a free-scoring Liverpool await on Saturday.

Swansea have lost four of their last five matches in all competitions and another one could see the end of Guidolin as Swansea manager.

Liverpool are rampant at the moment. They have won their last four matches in a row and scored 14 goals in the process. Their front three are in top form and they should be eyeing another big win this weekend to strengthen their title credentials before the international break.

Liverpool have only won one of their last five matches away to Swansea and will need to end that funk to take all the points on Saturday. Naijabet

Liverpool haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league all season, which should give Swansea some confidence, but they may run out of steam, as they did against City last weekend.

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Ancelotti ready for Bayern next record


A sixth straight Bundesliga win for Bayern Munich at home to Cologne on Saturday will see coach Carlo Ancelotti equal the record for the best start in Germany’s top-flight.

Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Andre Schubert, who managed the feat last year, and Willi Entenmann, with Stuttgart in 1986, are the only two Bundesliga coaches to have won their first six league games.

Ancelotti had already steered Bayern to the best start to the season in the club’s history with eight straight victories before Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

But Cologne will provide a decent test of Bayern’s staying power: Peter Stoeger’s side, along with Bayern, newly promoted RB Leipzig – who host Augsburg on Friday – and Hoffenheim, are one of the four unbeaten teams after five rounds of Bundesliga matches. Naijabet

Andre Schuerrle, whose goal three minutes from time gave Borussia Dortmund a 2-2 draw at home to Real Madrid on Tuesday in the Champions League, hopes to be fit for their away match at Bayer Leverkusen.

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Emenike shine as Fener beat Feyernoord

Emmanuel Emenike scored a stupendous goal on Thursday night to inspire Fenerbahçe to a 1-0 win over Dutch club Feyenoord in the Uefa Europa League.

Emenike scored in the 18th minute of the contest decided at the Ülker Stadyumu Fenerbahçe Sükrü Saracoglu Spor Kompleksi as the Yellow Canaries eased to their first win in Europe’s second tier club competition.

The Super Eaglr striker received a pass from Ozan Tufan and proceeded to smash a powerful shot through the legs of a Feyenoord defender and past goal keeper Bradley Jones in off the post from an acute angle for the game’s only goal. Naija and Bet

Emenike has been in impressive goal-scoring form this season, netting twice in the league and two more times in the Uefa Champions League qualifying campaign.

He has now scored six goals in all competitions this season.

Serie A : Juventus, Napoli back to action

Juventus and Napoli get back to Serie A basics after impressive Champions League wins while Inter Milan’s league-leading scorer Mauro Icardi looks to add to his tally away to Roma on Sunday.

Champions Juventus, favourites for a record sixth consecutive ‘scudetto’, can feel confident of maintaining their one-point lead on Napoli at Empoli.

Having limped to a scoreless draw at home to Sevilla, Massimiliano Allegri’s men put four goals past Dinamo Zagreb in a 4-0 Champions League win on Wednesday that left them top of Group H.

Although veteran Empoli striker Massimo Maccarone has recovered from a sore back, the Tuscan minnows’ usually formidable home form could be hit by a rash of late injuries to their defence.

Giuseppe Bellusci could now join Vincent Laurini, Andrea Costa and Federico Barba on a growing injury list.

Yet the smaller sides in Serie A often find an extra gear against the Turin giants and Allegri – who saw Miralem Pjanic, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Dani Alves hit the net in the Croatian capital – remains cautious.

“When you have to win, it’s never easy,” Allegri said after Tuesday’s game in Zagreb.

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Ibrahimovic gets United moving

Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed in a 69th-minute winner as Manchester United got their Europa League campaign off the ground with a laboured 1-0 home win over Zorya Luhansk on Thursday.

Beaten 1-0 at Feyenoord in their Group A opener, Jose Mourinho’s side struggled to break down their unadventurous Ukrainian opponents until the introduction from the bench of Wayne Rooney.

The England captain’s mishit shot was headed in by Ibrahimovic to leave United a point behind group leaders Fenerbahce, who visit Old Trafford on October 20.

“It was difficult,” said Mourinho. “We had our chances in the first half. We could have scored and it would have been a different match. But we didn’t.

“They kept organised and had plenty of players behind the ball, but with players ready to do something on the counter-attack. It was difficult and we needed to win.

“One week, three defeats. One week, three victories. But I was not depressed by the defeats and I am not over the moon with three wins.”

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Robben wants Bayern contract extension

Dutch winger Arjen Robben wants to prolong his Bayern Munich contract beyond the end of his current deal which expires at the end of this season, German football magazine Kicker reported on Thursday.

“Arjen would like to stay but there are two parties involved in the debate,” the 32-year-old forward’s father and agent Hans Robben said. Naijabet

He explained that Bayern were monitoring the player’s fitness and form and stated he did not know if his son would accept a one-year extension.

Having won five league titles and the 2013 Champions League since joining Bayern Munich in 2009, injuries have been a feature of Robben’s career and he is just coming back from the latest lay-off with a thigh strain.

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Iheanacho, Iwobi in line Uefa for award

Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi have been named among the shortlist for this year’s edition of the Uefa Golden Boy award released on Thursday.

The Nigerian duo have impressed this season in the English Premier League but will face 38 other nominees for the award to recognise the best player under the age of 21.

Iheanacho has been in fine form since he got his bow in the first team of Manchester City last term under Manuel Pellegrini, and has since gone on to score 10 Premier League goals from just 14 shots on target in 30 appearances.

Arsenal midfielder Iwobi has made 17 league appearances and has scored twice in those run-outs for the Gunners.

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Ramsey out of Wales squad for WC qualifiers

Aaron Ramsey has been left out of the Wales squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Georgia next week as he continues to struggle with a hamstring injury.

The Arsenal midfielder has been sidelined since sustaining the injury during the Gunners’ opening Premier League game last month.

Ramsey, one of the stars of Wales’s run to the semifinals of this year’s European Championships in France, will miss the Austria game in Vienna next Thursday and the game against Georgia in Cardiff three days later.

Wales, who started their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 4-0 home win over Moldova, will also be without midfielder Jonny Williams, who has only recently returned to training following injury.

Wales squad for World Cup qualifiers against Austria (October 6) and Georgia (October 9).

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Higuain departure may be blessing in disguise

Napoli’s free-scoring, unbeaten start to the season has suggested that the departure of prolific forward Gonzalo Higuain, viewed as a crushing blow at the time, could have been a blessing in disguise.

Maurizio Sarri’s team have blasted 20 goals in their first eight games this season and turned on the style again on Wednesday as they thumped Portuguese champions Benfica, also previously unbeaten, 4-2 in the Champions League.

Higuain scored a Serie A record of 36 goals as he led Napoli to second place last season but the club reluctantly let him go when Juventus triggered a 90 million euro ($100.96 million) buyout clause in his contract.

Napoli fans were furious at the time and even on Wednesday night, toilet rolls were being sold outside the San Paolo stadium with Higuain’s photograph on the packaging.

But on the field, Napoli’s football has been flowing and, rather than depending on one player, the goals have been shared between Arkadiusz Milik (seven), Jose Callejon (five), Dries Mertens (four), Marek Hamsik (three) and Manolo Gabbiadini (one).

“We have changed a few things in the final 25 metres of the pitch, partly to respect the characteristics of our central forwards who are different to Higuain,” said Sarri. “The wide players have also changed their role.”

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