Chelsea have won both of their last two matches since changing to a back three and that looks to have given the team a new lease of life.
They have also kept a clean sheet in both of those matches but Sunday’s clash with Manchester United will serve their new formation its first real test.
Jose Mourinho will be desperate to get one over on his former club after being sacked by Chelsea in December. He returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time since his dismissal and only the second time ever as the opposition manager.
He took his Inter side there in March 2010 and recorded a 1-0 win en route to winning the Champions League with the Serie A giants.
United are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions but haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since October 2012. The away side cannot afford to drop many more points if they want to challenge for the title this season, which means a win is almost mandatory here. Naija and Bet
Mourinho and Conte’s paths have only crossed on one occasion (Atalanta vs Inter in December 2009) in which the match finished as a draw. That looks like the most likely outcome here, but you wouldn’t be surprised to see the ‘Special One’ enjoy a special return to Chelsea.
Chelsea – Willian missed their win over Leicester last weekend following the death of his mother and it remains to be seen whether he is in the right frame of mind to return this weekend. Pedro is on standby to retain his place if Antonio Conte is without the Brazilian.
Tottenham Hotspur continued their best start to a season for 26 years by maintaining their unbeaten Premier League record but were made to work hard for their point by buoyant Bournemouth in a full-blooded 0-0 draw on Saturday.
Bournemouth, fresh from three successive league wins at Dean Court, took a leaf out of Spurs’ famed pressing book to give as good as they got from the title contenders and were well worth the draw. Naijabet.com
Bournemouth’s resistance ensured they missed chance to provisionally go top of the table ahead of Manchester City and Arsenal but it could have been worse for the visitors if Hugo Lloris had not made a fine early save to thwart Charlie Daniels.
After Lloris had tipped his point-blank range shot against the bar, Spurs’ best opportunity in a game high on energy and industry but low on chances came when Erik Lamela shot against the bar in the opening half.
Manchester City’s 4-0 thumping at the hands of Barcelona means they have now failed to win their last four competitive outings and the title favourites need to quickly return to winning ways.
With those within touching distance playing on Saturday, City could find themselves in fourth by the time this match kicks off.
Southampton, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last four in the league and will be looking to quickly overcome a disappointing 1-0 loss in Milan to Inter on Thursday night.
However, they have struggled at City in recent seasons, losing their last five trips to face the two-time Premier League winners.
Saints won’t make things easy for City, but Pep Guardiola’s side have what it takes to return to winning ways here. Naijabet.com
Manchester City – With Bacary Sagna out and Pablo Zabaleta a doubt, Pep Guardiola could revert to a three-man defence used in the 1-1 draw with Everton last weekend.
Continue reading Match Preview : Manchester City vs Southampton
Mikel John Obi has warned his Chelsea teammates of the influence Jose Mourinho wields ahead of Sunday’s big English Premier League clash against Manchester United.
The Nigeria captain was in the Chelsea team beaten 1-0 by Mourinho’s Inter Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League six years ago when they were knocked out of the competition.
Mourinho used the build-up to that tie to make flattering comments about his former players and the club and is expected to do so again now.
The Super Eagles captain admits Mourinho’s behaviour last time affected the team and says the current generation must not make the same mistake.
“We have to put the fact we are playing against Jose to the back of our minds from the moment we are on the pitch. Naija and bet
“He is a legend of the club, had two spells in charge and won trophies. But we must ignore that.
Continue reading Mikel warn on Mourinho’s mind games
The former Manchester United manager says the Real Madrid star is a perfect example of a hard worker, hailing his work ethic and talent
Sir Alex Ferguson believes he can take little credit for Cristiano Ronaldo’s development into one of the finest footballers of all time.
Ferguson brought a teenage Ronaldo from Sporting to Manchester United in 2003 and oversaw his development to Ballon d’Or winner in 2008 before a then world-record move to Real Madrid a year later.
The 74-year-old Scot made his share of records tumble during a trophy laden reign at Old Trafford which lasted 27 years and he feels Ronaldo stands a cut above other stellar names he oversaw during 26-and-a-half years at the helm. Naijabet
“Ronaldo is a perfect example of someone who made himself. It’s easy for me to say, ‘yeah, I made Ronaldo’,” Ferguson said when he was honoured with the Walther Bensemann prize, which is awarded for outstanding work in football.
Liverpool were disappointed to come away with just a point at home to Manchester United last time out and Jurgen Klopp will expect a response from his players at home to West Brom on Saturday. Nevertheless, the point shared means Liverpool are still unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions.
However, this isn’t the home banker many expect. Tony Pulis is actually unbeaten in his last eight matches against Liverpool, but the loss of Jonny Evans in this fixture could prove definitive in their attempts to prolong that record.
West Brom have drawn each of their last three matches 1-1 and have only lost two league matches in eight this season. Four of the last five meetings in this fixture have finished in a draw and it will require a good performance from Liverpool to ensure they end that streak.
Liverpool – Georginio Wijnaldum has returned to full training after missing the 0-0 draw against Manchester United on Monday with a hamstring injury. Naijabet.com
Adam Lallana is also in better shape having been forced to start that match from the bench and both should come into contention to start this weekend.
Continue reading Match Preview : Liverpool vs West Bromwich Albion
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal are finally equipped to last the pace in the Premier League title race this season.
Wenger’s side have struggled to match the financial muscle and strength in depth of the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City in recent years.
But the Gunners appear in much better shape to slug it out with their title rivals this season after reeling off seven successive wins in all competitions.
Arsenal have enjoyed similar hot streaks before fading in the past, but boss Wenger, speaking ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Middlesbrough, sees a more steely side to his squad this time.
“Before the season everybody would say that it could be a very tight, interesting championship,” said Wenger, whose side are behind leaders City on goal difference. Naija and Bet
“After the first two or three games people felt that City would run away with it, or Man United would after they won their first three games as well.
Continue reading Arsenal to keep pace high in title race – Wenger
“And I think it is a very useful moment in his career. A big name: [Robert] Lewandowski. There were times when he didn’t score.
“Gerd Muller. There were games he didn’t score. I still can’t believe it. You look back on his career and he scored 600 times but there were moments when he didn’t score.”
Jurgen Klopp insists Daniel Sturridge’s goal drought can be a “very useful moment” in the Liverpool forward’s career.
The England international is yet to score in the Premier League this season and cut a frustrated figure in Liverpool’s goalless draw with Manchester United at Anfield on Monday.
Sturridge touched the ball just once in the opposition box and did not have a shot at goal before being replaced on the hour mark. Naija and Bet
Reports in the national press have suggested Sturridge could be dropped for Liverpool’s home match with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, with Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum pushing for recalls.
But Klopp has given his backing to the 27-year-old, highlighting how prolific goalscorers like Robert Lewandowski and Gerd Muller also went through dry periods in front of goal.
Continue reading Klopp backs Daniel Sturridge despite goal drought
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he would rather quit his post than change his footballing philosophy.
City have gone four matches in all competitions without a win and head into Sunday’s Premier League clash at home to Southampton on the back of a 4-0 thrashing at Barcelona in the Champions League.
It was suggested to Guardiola this week that he might consider a more pragmatic approach to games in the future, given City’s recent run.
But the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss insisted he would remain true to his attacking principles and style of play that requires his goalkeeper and defenders to play the ball out from the back.
“No, no, I’m not going to change,” Guardiola said. “First, it’s going to happen that if it’s not going well in the future, next season isn’t going well in that way, I will go home. Naijabet.com
“I won 21 titles in seven years. So it’s three titles per year playing in that way.
Continue reading Guardiola won’t change despite Barca mauling
Lionel Messi is back in the Argentina squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Colombia after missing the last three due to injury in which his team have dropped seven points.
Messi was named on Friday in coach Edgardo Bauza’s 26-man squad and will captain Argentina away to arch-rivals Brazil in Belo Horizonte on November 10 and at home against Colombia in San Juan five days later.
Argentina have slipped down the South American group standings to fifth after a shock 1-0 home defeat by Paraguay and 2-2 draws with Peru and Venezuela, all without Messi. Naijabet.com
They have 16 points from 10 matches, five less than leaders Brazil with Uruguay second on 20 and Ecuador and Colombia on 17. The top four go through to the 2018 finals in Russia with the fifth qualifying for an intercontinental playoff for another berth.
Continue reading Messi returns to Argentina squad for WQ