Arsenal must respect the Europa League next season and take the tournament seriously if they fail to qualify for the Champions League, goalkeeper Peter Cech has said.
Arsenal’s 2-0 win over relegated Sunderland on Tuesday moved them within a point of fourth-placed Liverpool and gave the London side an outside chance of qualifying for the Champions League if results go their way on the final day of the season. Naija and Bet
English clubs have become more prominent in the Europa League in recent years with Chelsea winning the competition in 2013, Liverpool finishing runner-up last year and Manchester United set to play the final next week.
“A European trophy is a European trophy,” Cech said.
“I have to say you want to have the Champions League one rather than the Europa League one but you can see more and more, big teams are treating the Europa League with respect because it is a European trophy. Continue reading Cech – Arsenal must respect UEL
Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur each have three players among the eight nominations for the Premier League Player of the Season, while the coaches of both teams have also been shortlisted for the Manager of the Year award.
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is the favourite for the players’ prize, having already been named the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) Player of the Year and the FWA (Football Writers Association) Player of the Year. Naija and Bet
Belgium international Eden Hazard and Spain full back Cesar Azpilicueta are the other Chelsea players on the list, while Tottenham are represented by striker Harry Kane, midfielder Dele Alli and defender Jan Vertonghen.
Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez has also been included, along with Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, who currently leads the league’s scoring charts with 24 goals. Continue reading Chelsea, Spurs Players dominate PL nominations
Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool’s 4-0 rout of West Ham proves they can cope with the pressure of fighting for Champions League qualification, but he warned his stars to guard against complacency.
Liverpool’s destiny is in their own hands after a dominant display at the London Stadium and victory over relegated Middlesbrough next Sunday will secure a top-four finish in the Premier League.
If Arsenal drop points against Sunderland on Tuesday, Liverpool will make it back into Europe’s elite club competition before the last weekend of the season. NaijaBet
“Part of our life is to handle pressure, to ignore the bad part of pressure and to use the good part of pressure,” Klopp said.
“We drew in the last game with Southampton, we didn’t score with a penalty and maybe people say then: ‘They can’t deal with pressure.’
Continue reading Klopp urges Liverpool to keep fighting for UCL spot
Gonzalo Higuain scored both goals as an imperious Juventus beat Monaco 2-0 in their Champions League semifinal first leg on Wednesday to take a huge step towards next month’s final in Cardiff.
Both of Higuain’s goals came from Dani Alves assists, with the Argentine hitman rounding off a breathtaking team move to open the scoring just before the half-hour mark and converting the second from close range after the break.
While the second leg in Turin next Tuesday will be no formality, Juventus have never lost a two-legged European tie to French opposition and so impressive were they at the Stade Louis II that it is hard to imagine Monaco recovering.
Higuain, who now has 31 goals this season, received applause from all around the ground as he came off to be replaced by Juan Cuadrado late on after a clinical display that showed just why Juve paid 90 million euros ($98m) to sign him from Napoli last year. NaijaBet.com
In contrast Monaco, having won their previous 13 matches at the Stade Louis II and been so thrilling going forward all campaign, could not find a way through the brilliant away defence.
They will now need something very special next week if they are to make it to a first Champions League final since 2004. Continue reading Higuain brace assist Juve to sink Monaco
Liverpool must maintain their focus and get results in their three remaining Premier League games as they fight for a top four finish to play in the Champions League next season, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has said.
Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Watford on Monday helped them pull three points clear of fourth-placed Manchester City and four clear of fifth-placed Manchester United, both of whom have a game in hand.
The race for a top four spot will go down to the wire and Mignolet is wary of getting complacent after three wins in their last five league games. NaijaBet.com
“We have to keep going how we are. We are in good shape but things can still change. We have to keep our focus, keep our feet on the floor and keep grinding out results,” Mignolet said. Continue reading Liverpool fighting for Champions League spot
Tottenham Hotspur must beat West Ham United on Friday night to reduce the gap with Chelsea and hope the Premier League leaders falter under pressure, striker Harry Kane has said.
Second-placed Tottenham can keep their title chase alive and cut the lead at the top to one point if they beat West Ham and Chelsea fumble against Middlesbrough three days later.
“We just have to try to finish strong,” Kane said. Predict today’s UEFA Champions League Match on NaijaBet.com
“We’ve got another game Friday night and it’s good to play first. Hopefully, we can drop the gap to one point and then see what happens.”
Kane said that Tottenham knew the pressure of playing later as they often played after champions Leicester City in the closing stages of last season and eventually faltered. Continue reading Tottenham target win against West Ham
The Argentine FA have identified Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli as their choice to take charge of the national team and revitalize their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, AFA President Claudio Tapia said on Thursday.
Argentina, runners-up to Germany at the last World Cup, are fifth in South American qualifying with four matches to go.
Only the top four — currently Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Chile — go through automatically while the fifth-placed team has to go through an intercontinental playoff with a side from the Oceania confederation for a berth in Russia in 2018.
Tapia, who sacked coach Edgardo Bauza after his election to the AFA chair last month,said that Sampaoli was their man. NaijaBet.com
“Today I can confirm that Sampaoli is the only candidate,” he said, adding that the AFA would negotiate with Sevilla for Sampaoli’s release from his contract once the league season in Spain concludes next month.
Sampaoli joined the Spanish club on a two year contract last June. Continue reading Argentina FA target Sevilla coach Sampaoli
Real Madrid’s bid for a first La Liga title in five years will be put to test on Saturday when they host Valencia, who won their earlier meeting in the season.
A Cristiano Ronaldo double saw Madrid squeak past them 3-2 on the penultimate day of last season, but that was Real’s first victory over Valencia either home or away in the league since 2013.
A largely second-string Madrid side, missing the rested Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and without the suspended Sergio Ramos, recorded an impressive 6-2 victory away to Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday.
Coach Zinedine Zidane admitted that he has some big decisions to make regarding team selection for the business end of the season. Predict,Stake and Win Big on NaijaBet.com
“For me there’s not a first and second choice side; they all show their importance when they have the chance. We’ll see about Saturday and then the Champions League after that,” he said. Continue reading Real set to sink Valencia in a bid for laliga title
After a season that promised so much, Bayern Munich have been sent packing from two Cup competitions in the space of eight days and Carlo Ancelotti’s side are determined to take a step closer to the league title when they travel to VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.
A Bayern win combined with defeat for second-placed RB Leipzig against relegation candidates Ingolstadt would give them an unassailable 11-point lead with three games remaining.
After crashing out of the Champions League quarterfinals to Real Madrid and then losing to Borussia Dortmund in Wednesday’s German Cup last four, the feel-good factor from Ancelotti’s first season in charge has largely dissipated.
Bayern are without a win in their last five matches in all competitions.
They have drawn their last two league games and won just one of their last four, seeing a 13-point lead a few weeks ago shrink to eight with four games left. NaijaBet.com
“After wasting our chances against Dortmund and having gone out of the Cup we want to make sure of an early Bundesliga title with a win at Wolfsburg,” Bayern defender Mats Hummels said. Continue reading Bayern ready to secure Bundesliga title
Mauricio Pochettino claimed Tottenham’s gritty 1-0 win at Crystal Palace showed they were ready to pounce if Chelsea stumble in the title race.
Pochettino’s side closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to four points with five games left after Christian Eriksen’s late strike clinched a victory that looked unlikely for long periods at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.
Well below their best as they struggled to shake off the frustration of last weekend’s FA Cup semifinal loss to Chelsea, it seemed Tottenham were about to squander a chance to keep pace with Chelsea before finally recovering their composure. Naija and Bet
It was exactly the kind of pressure-packed situation that was Tottenham’s downfall last season when they allowed Leicester to wrap up the title after briefly threatening to overhaul them.
But Pochettino is convinced the way his team saw off a formidable Palace outfit bodes well for their chances of being crowned champions for the first time since 1961.
“We showed great character and personality after a very disappointing weekend,” Pochettino said. Continue reading Pochettino vows to take title fight to Chelsea