EPL: David and Goliath as Norwich dare Reds

first_imgRelatedPosts Lampard: I still have confidence in Tomori Mane double eases Liverpool to win over 10-man Chelsea EPL: Chelsea, Liverpool in cagey duel Norwich vs. Liverpool Venue: Carrow Road Kick off: 6:30PMBottom faces top in the Premier League this evening when Norwich City host Liverpool at Carrow Road as both sides return to top-flight action following the mid-season break. An enormous chasm of 55 points separates the two sides in the standings, with Liverpool looking certain to end their 30-year wait for a title while Norwich would need a great escape to avoid an immediate return to the Championship. It was against Norwich that Liverpool’s remarkable season began back in August, when their 4-1 triumph at Anfield gave an early glimpse of what we could expect from both sides in 2019-20. Many expected Norwich to fare a little better than they have considering the number of problems they caused Jurgen Klopp’s side despite the heavy defeat, but no-one could have predicted just how dominant the Reds would go on to be, even when they were four goals ahead at half time. Twenty-four games later and Liverpool boast a 22-point lead over champions Manchester City – already the biggest lead in Premier League history and one which they have the chance to extend to 25 courtesy of Man City’s postponed game against West Ham United last weekend. No team in the history of Europe’s top five leagues can match Liverpool’s record so far this term, with Klopp’s side reaching the winter break having won 24 of their 25 league games, dropping only two points from a possible 75. Indeed, the remarkable record stretches further back than the last time these two teams met in August, with Liverpool picking up 100 of the last 102 points on offer in the Premier League in a run which now stretches back almost an entire year. A plethora of records have already been shattered and many more look destined to follow in a campaign the like of which has never been seen before and may never be seen again, but central to the relentlessness of their form is Klopp’s insistence to take every game as it comes. Such a zero-tolerance approach to complacency may be tested in a week which sees a much more alluring Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid follow this trip to the Premier League’s basement club, although even when chalking up win after win there have been enough scares to keep Liverpool on their toes. A 4-0 win over Southampton in the last league game was nowhere near as straightforward as the result suggests, and it remains to be seen whether the Premier League’s first ever winter break could have an impact on the winning momentum Liverpool have enjoyed almost unimpeded since the start of the season. Visiting the league’s bottom side is a kind way to get back into the groove, though, and should Liverpool avoid a slip-up at Carrow Road then it would be their 43rd successive top-flight game without defeat to move clear of Nottingham Forest’s 1978 team and haul the Arsenal Invincibles that bit closer. Another landmark within reach is the top-flight record for consecutive wins; victory on Saturday would see Liverpool equal their own mark of 17 which came to an end at Old Trafford earlier this season and leave them just one short of Man City’s record of 18. An away win looks to be by far the most likely result in this match, and Daniel Farke’s admission that his side would need a minor miracle to avoid relegation could also be applied to their chances of toppling Liverpool. The Canaries are seven points adrift of safety with 13 games of the campaign remaining, while their league-worst goal difference makes the gap even more difficult to make up. Norwich have conceded the joint-most goals in the league this season while only Crystal Palace have scored fewer, which is a worrying record when facing a team with the second-best attack and by far the best defensive record. Farke’s side have won just one of their last 12 league games too, although there is perhaps some cause for optimism within that run considering many of their best performances have come when they have been the biggest underdogs. Since the beginning of December Norwich have taken points off Arsenal, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur, and they will need to muster those levels of performance again in a run which sees Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester and Sheffield United next up after Liverpool. Indeed, six of their next seven league games come against teams currently in the top half, while trips to Chelsea and Manchester City also loom in the final three weeks of the season, so there will need to be more than one upset along the way if they are to haul themselves away from relegation. The Canaries will certainly need to improve their home form considering that Southampton are the only team to have picked up fewer points in front of their own fans this term, and they made a good start to that with victory over Bournemouth in their last outing at Carrow Road. The 1-0 triumph not only secured a first home league win since their unforgettable triumph over Man City in September, it also saw them keep a clean sheet at home in the top flight for the first time since March 2016 – a run which stretched back 16 games. Liverpool is an entirely different proposition, though, with Klopp’s side have scored in every game so far this season and conceded just one goal at the other end in their last 10 matches. Norwich possible XI: Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Byram, Tettey, McLean, Buendia, Duda, Cantwell, Pukki. Liverpool possible XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Firmino, Mane.Tags: Jurgen KloppLiverpoolNorwich Citylast_img read more

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Rivers Hoopers sign American basketball player

first_imgRelatedPosts FIBA releases guidelines for basketball’s return D’Tigers’ captain hints at retirement NBBF postpone FIBA technical training indefinitely Nigeria’s representative in the maiden edition of the Basketball Africa League, Rivers Hoopers, have signed American Kaylon Deshaun Tappin for the tournament which tips off in March. Tappin was a junior college standout at Arkansas State-Mid South in West Memphis, Arkadelphia in the 2014/2015 season. He also had an outstanding year with Henderson State, a NCAA Division 2 school in AR. In his senior season, Tappin was named First Team All-Great American Conference after averaging 18.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.4 APG and 1.5 SPG and had a career high 34 points against Arkansas Tech. Since turning pro in 2018, Tappin has played for Nift Al-Janoub in the Iraqi IBL League where he averaged 24.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 4.7 APG. The 6’11” point guard also played for Piratas de Quebradillas in Peurto Rico and most recently Svendborg Rabbits in the Danish Basketball League. The 23-year-old is one of the four foreign professionals the team hopes to add to their roster for the Basketball Africa League. Meanwhile, Rivers Hoopers head coach Ogoh Odaudu is optimistic the new additions will add quality to the team. Odaudu said: “The rule says we can get two Americans and two from Africa. “That is what we are working on right now. “We don’t know how it will turn out if we will succeed in getting everyone that we want or get some and make do with what we have. “The Americans add a lot of value so we are hoping we are going to get players that are aggressive and would match the foreigners on the other team. “That’s what we are thinking at the moment.”Tags: BasketballBasketball Africa LeagueKaylon Deshaun TappinRivers Hooperslast_img read more

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COVID-19: Man U to refund tickets if season is abandoned or finished without fans

first_imgRelatedPosts COVID-19: NCAA to revoke erring airlines licence over non-compliance FRSC to Schools: We’ll arrest, prosecute drivers who flout COVID-19 rules Sanwo-Olu: We’re committed to fulfilling promises to Lagosians Manchester United will offer fans either a pro-rata cash refund or a rebate on next season’s tickets if this season’s remaining Premier League games are cancelled or played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, the club said on Friday. The outbreak has brought sport around the world to a virtual standstill, with the Premier League suspended until at least April 30. United said in a statement that they had also suspended the May 1 deadline for season ticket renewal until the club received confirmation of when next season would start. “We know our fans will not want to miss any games played in the coming months… but clearly we must all play our part in the efforts to combat coronavirus,” group managing director Richard Arnold said. “By pushing the season ticket renewal deadline back and confirming our policy if games were to be cancelled or played behind closed doors, we want to ease any concerns our loyal fans may have.” The club added that all tickets would be valid if the current season resumes and games are played as normal from a later date. Reuters/NAN.Tags: COVID-19Manchester UnitedPremier LeagueRichard Arnoldlast_img read more

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Losing title will be failure – Kompany

first_imgManchester City captain Vincent Kompany admits the club will have “failed” if they lose their Barclays Premier League title to rivals Manchester United this season, but refuses to blame the missed opportunity to sign Robin van Persie for United’s nine-point advantage. Questions have been asked about how much City improved – if at all – during a frustrating summer transfer window, with Van Persie’s move to United just one of a number of disappointments. “United hit the jackpot with Van Persie,” Kompany added. “But you can’t think “What if” about Van Persie. I am not sitting here thinking, “What if we had signed Lionel Messi” either. “His transfer has made a direct impact but to say he’s the reason we can’t make it – if it turns out that way – is not correct. “I still believe we can do this but if we don’t, there will be plenty more reasons than the fact we didn’t sign one player and another club did.” Kompany has missed a number of recent games through injury, but at least avoided a three-match suspension when his red card for a tackle on Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere was overturned. The 26-year-old Belgium international believes it is vital for the English game that tackling is protected and the game does not go the way of other European leagues. “It’s the way the game is played here that makes it possible for fans from all around the world to watch it on TV,” he said. “The intention of what you do – if it’s wrong – should be punished severely. I’m clear on that. But let’s not ruin the game.” Van Persie was pursued by both Manchester clubs last summer but opted for United and his 22 goals so far – including a last-minute winner in the first Manchester derby – have helped Sir Alex Ferguson’s men build a healthy advantage with 13 matches left in the season. City might sense their title slipping away but Kompany is not giving up the fight. He told the Daily Mail: “Nothing matters apart from being first. Anything below that then you are just another top team that’s failed. We are not about to give up but the reality is that we are up against a very good United team.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Adkins keeps cards close to chest

first_imgManager Nigel Adkins will happily use every trick he can to help keep Reading in the Barclays Premier League. Press Association “I will use an example I had at Scunthorpe. We had (striker) Gary Hooper and we went to a team, who I won’t mention, but there was no way Gary would be fit and we didn’t let anyone know. “All week that team had worked on stopping Gary Hooper and doing certain things. “We then went and played a totally different way with different personnel, and they were absolutely gutted as they had spent all week working on it. “If they knew Gary wasn’t playing, then they might not have been worried about it so much. “We are going to the Emirates and it will be a great challenge, but for now, I will keep my cards close to my chest and that might just give us something, or it might not.” Adkins suffered a 6-1 thrashing at the Emirates Stadium with Southampton in September. While his return to tackle the Gunners may have come sooner than expected in the wake of his controversial sacking in January, the 48-year-old intends to make the most of the opportunity. “It is all about experiences,” he said. “The experiences at Bangor, Scunthorpe and Southampton have helped me be the Reading manager. You can be placed in a situation once – make new mistakes, do not make the same mistake twice. If you are in that situation again, you know how you reacted last time and what the outcome was.” center_img Adkins gave little away on his likely tactics or indeed team news at his pre-match media conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with Arsenal, refusing to even confirm whether goalkeeper Adam Federici had shrugged off his ankle injury. “Normally, if someone is injured and it is obvious that they are out, then it is no good turning around and saying they will be fit, but just at this moment in time we need to somehow come up with that element of surprise and that is what I have to utilise,” said Adkins. last_img read more

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Di Canio mad as a hatter – Sinclair

first_img Di Canio’s appointment has sparked a flurry of controversy owing to comments made in 2005 to Italian news agency ANSA in which he stated: “I am a fascist, not a racist”. The Italian issued a statement attempting to play down the issue and named former England winger Sinclair and current Charlton manager Chris Powell as black players with whom he became close friends. And Sinclair told Thursday’s Daily Star: “I was not surprised to be named as a character witness. We genuinely got on well and I don’t mind giving my opinion on such a relevant and important issue within not just football but society. Paolo’s comments should be taken with a pinch of salt because he’s as mad as a hatter.” He added: “But I feel he should apologise for upsetting so many people with his actions and comments and make it clear once and for all if he is or isn’t racist or fascist.” Di Canio appeared to finally do that on Wednesday in a new statement on his club’s official website which read: “I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism. I respect everyone.” That came after the Dean of Durham wrote an open letter to the new Black Cats boss saying he was struggling to stay loyal to the club and that he found Di Canio’s “self-confessed fascism deeply troubling”. The issue had already prompted former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband to resign his non-executive role on the club’s board within minutes of Di Canio’s appointment. Trevor Sinclair has confirmed his friendship with Paolo Di Canio while team-mates at West Ham and claims the new Sunderland head coach’s historical claims that he is a fascist should be “taken with a pinch of salt”.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Question unanswered at celebrations

first_img Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed on Sunday that Rooney had submitted a transfer request, although added that it had been turned down. Speaking to MUTV, Rooney did not answer directly a question about what the retiring Ferguson had done for him, and was not asked whether he would be staying or not. “He has been brilliant for us all,” said Rooney. “He is a great manager. He is a winner and to do it for so long is incredible. He is a fantastic manager and a fantastic person.” Press Association Manchester United declared they had “got their trophy back” at the end of the Premier League title-winning parade – but there was no word on whether Wayne Rooney will still be around for the start of their defence. center_img Rooney received a mixed reception when he boarded the open-top bus at Old Trafford for the start of the parade, although he did play an active part in the celebrations as it made its slow way along the route into the centre of Manchester, where huge numbers of United fans turned out to acclaim their team. With 20,000 fans packed into Sir Matt Busby Way, roads had to be closed prior to the Red Devils’ departure. And whilst there was space along the main route into the city centre, once the bus headed down the main shopping area, Deansgate, supporters found a variety of vantage points to see the team drive past. Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Young, who at times ditched the crutches he is supposed to be using to nurse an ankle injury that has ended his season, led the singing, with Ferguson also joining in. There was a moment of humour, as defender Jonny Evans was asked by MUTV interviewer Helen McConnell, who also happens to be his fiancee, whether he was going to have a good summer. “Yes,” replied Evans. “I am getting married, to you Helen.” But mainly, with the heavy rain that poured down just a couple of hours before the parade began, it was just a celebration of United’s 20th title. It is Ferguson’s 13th, and last of course. But the revelry was not enough to make the Scot think standing down in favour of David Moyes, who is also believed to have been in Manchester to witness the scenes, was a wrong move. “You always think about it (whether you are doing the right thing). But I think it is the right time. I really do,” said Ferguson, who also challenged his players to repeat the title hat-trick they last achieved between 2007 and 2009. “We have a young squad, with a lot of good young players, who are going to get better. The big test is to win it three times in a row.” last_img read more

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Wenger will look beyond Suarez deal

first_img The Arsenal boss admitted it had not been as easy to do business as he had hoped, but remains determined to bolster his squad, which faces a crucial Champions League play-off later this month. ”We try and get what we want; if that doesn’t work we will look somewhere else,” Wenger said in an interview with Al Jazeera Sport. ”The clubs with talented players don’t want to lose them. ”Some clubs acted very early so the choices were reduced and there is more competition coming from France with Paris St Germain, who buy big players for huge amounts of money, so it’s tough, difficult and slow. ”I can assure the fans we will try very hard to keep them happy. We are certainly ready to spend the money, but the process is going slowly, but surely.” The Gunners have seen a specific offer of £40million plus £1 – which was believed would trigger Suarez’s release clause – rejected out of hand by Liverpool. However, Suarez has made it clear he wants to leave and, in a wide-ranging interview, complained of what he saw as broken promises from Reds manager Brendan Rodgers. The 26-year-old – currently serving a domestic 10-game ban imposed by the Football Association for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic at the end of last season – could yet force the situation by handing in a formal transfer request, or even asking the Premier League to intervene over the interpretation of the now infamous get-out clause. Whatever transpires, if Arsenal are to be able to field Suarez in their crucial two-legged Champions League play-off, the draw for which will take place on Friday morning, then the final squad list must be registered with UEFA by 11pm on Monday, August 12, leaving little time for the finer details of what has become one of the summer’s most protracted transfer saga to be thrashed out. On the pitch, Arsenal – who failed to win a match as they hosted the Emirates Cup last weekend – will finalise their pre-season build-up with a friendly against Premier League rivals Manchester City in Helsinki on Saturday. By then, the club are expected to have confirmed the departures of Ivory Coast forward Gervinho to Roma and Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh to newly-promoted Crystal Palace, further reducing the wage bill. Despite chief executive Ivan Gazidis having talked up the club’s new ”financial firepower” at the end of last season, so far the free transfer of France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo from Auxerre remains the only confirmed summer signing at the Emirates Stadium. After failing to deliver Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain, given the Argentinian striker eventually opted for Napoli instead, Wenger does appear to have several other players on the radar apart from Suarez, with reports in Romania suggesting a free transfer deal for forward Ciprian Marica was close following his release by Schalke. Press Associationcenter_img Manager Arsene Wenger has moved to reassure Arsenal fans the club are “ready to spend the money” on the right players – and will look elsewhere if they cannot push through a deal for Liverpool’s wantaway striker Luis Suarez.last_img read more

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Keane hits out at Ferguson

first_img Ferguson revealed on Tuesday that Keane “slaughtered” several of his team-mates in an interview for United’s in-house channel MUTV. The interview came following United’s 4-1 defeat to Middlesbrough in October 2005. He was released by the club the following month and joined Celtic. Ferguson reveals that Keane invited the United players to watch the interview, which has never been broadcast. The decision backfired as several senior players, including Edwin van der Sar and Ruud van Nistelrooy rounded on the Red Devils captain. Keane then accused Ferguson of bringing his own dispute with shareholder John Magnier over the Rock of Gibraltar racehorse into the club. That proved to be the last straw for the fiery midfielder. “Given the nature of the man you can expect a response. That is the type of personality Roy is,” the former United boss said in a press conference to publicise the book, which is out on Thursday. “We had to react to the situation so quickly because his actions were so quick. For one reason or another he decides to go and criticise his team-mates. “Most of you won’t have seen the video but you couldn’t release it. You just couldn’t. “It ended up with two of our young players being booed before a Champions League match in Paris because of it. “We decided we had to do something. The meeting in the room was horrendous. I just couldn’t lose my control in this situation. “If I had let it pass and allowed it to happen the players would have viewed me differently. Much more differently to how I would have liked to have been judged. “Throughout my career I have been strong enough to deal with important issues like that. Roy overstepped his mark. There was no other thing we could do.” Ferguson made Keane captain not long after his British record move from Nottingham Forest in 1993, and by the time the MUTV interview had taken place, the Irishman had already caused controversy with a brutal tackle on Manchester City’s Alf-Inge Haaland. Ferguson reveals in his book that he had doubts about the player in the summer of 2005. Then, Keane complained vociferously about the standards at the club’s base for their pre-season training camp in Portugal. Despite criticising the player in his book, Ferguson will never forget the midfielder’s efforts on the pitch for United, with whom he won seven league titles. “We did well by him,” Ferguson added in his press conference. “We paid up his whole contract. We gave him a testimonial the following season and there were 75,000 there. We did everything we could to honour the fact he was a great player for us.” Press Association “I do remember having conversations with the manager when I was at the club about loyalty and, in my opinion, I don’t think he knows the meaning of the word,” he told ITV1. “It doesn’t bother me too much what he has to say about me but to constantly criticise other players at the club who brought him a lot of success, I find very very strange. “But I won’t be losing any sleep over it.” He added: “I just don’t think the manager needs to do it. “I don’t know how many books he’s written now but he has to draw the line eventually to say ‘listen these players have been all top servants to Man Utd’. “And a lot of these players helped the manager win lots of trophies so imagine if we’d never won a trophy what he would have said. “We brought success to the club, we gave it everything we had when we were there. “But, as I said, it’s just part of modern life now, people like to do books and criticise their ex-players.” Roy Keane has accused Sir Alex Ferguson of disloyalty, claiming that his former Manchester United manager ‘does not know the meaning of the word’. Ferguson has lifted the lid on his feud with Keane in his soon-to-be-published book ‘My Autobiography’, with the Scot claiming his authority at Old Trafford would have been undermined had he not sold the increasingly volatile player in 2005. But the Scot has also turned fire on more of his former players, with David Beckham among those to come in for criticism, and Keane believes his former boss is out of order. last_img read more

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Evra: Wait until end of season

first_img It has given those who feel the Red Devils will struggle without Sir Alex Ferguson some food for thought and Evra underlined what United are capable of. “People always write Manchester United off,” he said. “They said the same things last year. In the end we won the league by 13 points. “Wait until the end of the season. “We are strong. We have mentally strong characters. “Every year is a challenge playing for Manchester United. It is never easy because when you put that shirt (on) you have the story of the club to consider. “We have to show we love this club.” A veteran of five Premier League title-winning campaigns, Evra’s hunger for honours remains strong. Patrice Evra has warned Manchester United’s critics to wait until the end of the season before jumping to conclusions about them. United head to Tottenham on Sunday seven points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal following the disappointing draw at Cardiff last weekend. Yet they do so buoyed by an amazing Champions League performance in midweek when they slammed five goals past Bayer Leverkusen without reply in what David Moyes described as the best display since he took charge. The 32-year-old takes comfort from the knowledge that despite winning only half of their Premier League games so far this season, only Arsenal have shown the consistency expected of title contenders. “If you calculate it, we drew against Southampton and Cardiff and were beaten at home by West Brom. If we had won those matches we would be top of the league,” he said. “That is why we are frustrated and upset. “Of course others haven’t taken advantage but I only look at Manchester United. “It doesn’t matter that other teams have dropped points. The most important thing is that Manchester United don’t.” Moyes now faces a tricky selection dilemma. Marouane Fellaini will certainly be available after suspension, whilst prior to the win in Germany, Moyes spoke optimistically about the speed Nemanja Vidic and Robin van Persie will be available for first-team duties after recent fitness issues. Leaving anyone out after recording a winning margin bettered by United only once in a European away game in their entire history would be harsh though. However, the big call would be whether to recall Van Persie should the Dutchman be available. For all his outstanding form last year, Van Persie has not reached the same level this term and both Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa excelled at the Bay Arena, leading to a school of thought Moyes would be better leaving things as they are for now. Press Associationlast_img read more

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