Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Dortmund bus blast treated as 'targeted attack' as police confirm letter found at crime scene

Dortmund bus blast treated as 'targeted attack' as police confirm letter found at crime scene
A letter containing a claim of responsibility has been found at the scene of the explosion that hit the Bundesliga team's bus
Police have found a letter claiming responsibility for what they are describing as a "targeted attack" on the Borussia Dortmund team bus.
The vehicle was damaged as three explosions occurred while the coach was making its way from the team hotel in the Hochsten area of Dortmund to Signal Iduna Park for the Champions League quarter-final first leg with Monaco.
Dortmund-Monaco called off over bomb
Defender Marc Bartra was injured in the incident, with the club later confirming that he had been taken to hospital to have surgery on his wrist.
Police were unable to specify what type of explosives were used but they described the devices as "serious", stating they believed they had been hidden under a hedge next to a car park.
Speaking at a news conference, public prosecutor Sandra Lucke confirmed that the incident was being treated as attempted murder and gave assurances that additional security would be in place on Wednesday, with the match rescheduled for 18:45 local time.
Police chief Gregor Lange said: "This evening, there were three explosions at 7:15 in the area surrounding the hotel in which BVB had been a guest.
"We assume that it was a targeted attack on BVB's team. The services were tasked with securing the crime scene on a large scale.
Borussia Dortmund bus after explosionBorussia Dortmund Monaco police fans
"We decided at a very early stage not to rule anything out. At the present time, the concrete background for this act is not yet clear.
"I would like to express thanks for the good co-operation with BVB. We're preparing for a large-scale operation tomorrow [Wednesday]. The protective measures for the teams have already begun. Bomb detection dogs are still in use."
Lucke added: "The investigation is being carried out based on suspicion of attempted murder. A letter was found near the crime scene. We are checking its authenticity intensively.
"We found someone taking responsibility for the attack in the letter. Due to the investigation, we cannot comment further on this.
"Another object that did not explode was found. Our current point of view is that it was a dummy."

Painful night for Barcelona, says Ter Stegen

Painful night for Barcelona, says Ter Stegen
The goalkeeper wants to focus on facing Real Sociedad before thinking about the second leg against Juventus
Marc-Andre ter Stegen has described Barcelona's Champions League defeat by Juventus as a "painful night" for the club.
Juve romped to a 3-0 victory in the first leg of their quarter-final tie, Paulo Dybala scoring twice in the first half before Giorgio Chiellini added a header after the break.
Ter Stegen thinks it is best for Barca's players to discuss what went wrong internally, but acknowledged the loss had hurt.
"It was a painful night," the goalkeeper told the club's website.
"The first half especially was far from perfect. There are things we need to work on improving.
"I think it would be better for us to speak among ourselves. We know the first half wasn't perfect, we need to lift our heads up and start planning for the next challenge.
"I hope the fans will come out and support us for the second leg."
Before trying to replicate their famous comeback from the previous round against Paris Saint-Germain, Barca face Real Sociedad in La Liga at Camp Nou on Saturday.
"First we have to think about the league," said Ter Stegen.
"I know how tough this is for the fans, but now we have to think about getting some rest."

Dortmund confirm Bartra surgery 'went well' as Watzke issues rallying cry

Dortmund confirm Bartra surgery 'went well' as Watzke issues rallying cry
The Bundesliga side's players trained on Wednesday morning ahead of their rescheduled Champions League tie with Monaco
Marc Bartra's wrist surgery "went well" after the defender was injured in the explosion that appeared to target the team's bus ahead of their Champions League match against Monaco.
Bartra seriously injured in bus attack
Bartra was the only person hurt in the incident, which happened as the coach left the team hotel ahead of Tuesday's quarter-final first leg.
Police were unable to specify what type of explosives were used, but they described the devices as "serious", suggesting they had been hidden under a hedge next to a car park.
The match was subsequently postponed and re-arranged for Wednesday, with Dortmund holding a training session ahead of the game.
Dortmund had confirmed Bartra would undergo an operation on his broken wrist and club president Reinhard Rauball provided a positive update.
"We have heard that everything went well," he told n-tv.
’Dortmund bus blast a targeted attack’
Meanwhile, Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke visited the team prior to their training session and issued a rallying cry to everyone associated with the club.
"I have just told the team in the dressing room to show society that we will not bow to terror," Watzke told the club's website.
Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund players after explosion
"The BVB family was particularly strong when it had to cope with difficult situations.
"This is perhaps the most difficult situation we have had in the past decades and I am sure that we will show ourselves as BVB as strong and united as never before.
"We do not just play for us. We play for everyone. No matter whether Borussian, Bavarian or Schalke.
Mkhitaryan sends Dortmund support
"We want to show that terror and hatred can never determine our actions. And of course we play for Marc Bartra, who wants to see his team win!
"We ask all BVB fans to support our team with full energy for 90 minutes."
The local police force – Polizei Nordrhein-Westfalen Dortmund – confirmed on Wednesday that the federal prosecutor's office for Germany has taken over the investigation.
The office will hold a media conference at 14:00 CET to provide an update on the case.
Messages of support have flooded in from across the world of football, including from former Dortmund player Henrikh Mkhitaryan, now at Manchester United, who tweeted the club his best wishes on Wednesday.
Mkhitaryan made 140 appearances for the German club over three seasons before joining Manchester United last summer.

The latest rumours from Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and all the top teams

Eden Hazard Diego Costa Chelsea
Goal summarises the biggest transfer talk from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga and beyond

KEY DUO TO LEAVE CHELSEA


Eden Hazard Diego Costa Chelsea
Both Eden Hazard and Diego Costa are set to leave Chelsea this summer, according to The Sun.
Real Madrid are increasingly confident of completing a £100 million move for Hazard while Costa wants to leave England and is set to join a Chinese Super League side.

CITY PLOT MENDY MOVE


Benjamin Mendy
Manchester City are set to make a bid for Monaco defender Benjamin Mendy, according to France Football.
Pep Guardiola is keen to rejuvenate his backline next season and is hopeful of completing a quick deal for the full-back.

BAYERN IN PAULINHO TALKS


Paulinho Brazil
Bayern Munich have held talks with Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho regarding a summer move, according to RMC.
The Brazil international has been in great form recently, and Carlo Ancelotti has been impressed with the former Tottenham man's versatility.

ZAHA TOPS CITY SHORTLIST


Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha is top of Manchester City's summer transfer wishlist, according to The Sun.
Pep Guardiola has been impressed by the Ivory Coast international and is ready to battle Tottenham for his signature.

CITY LEADING ALEXIS CHASE


Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal
Manchester City have pulled out in front in the race to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, established Chilean daily Cooperativa reports.
Until recently, reports had placed Chelsea at the head of the queue in the attacker's ongoing transfer saga, but it is claimed that Pep Guardiola's side are prepared to shell out £50 million for Sanchez's services, with the 28-year-old set to bank upwards of £200,000 per week in the prime years of his career.

MAN CITY JOIN LACAZETTE CHASE


Alexandre Lacazette AS Roma Europa League 09032017
Manchester City have joined Arsenal in the hunt for £40 million Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, according to the Daily Mirror.
The France international is expected to be on the move this summer, with Atletico Madrid also weighing up a big-money approach.

MADRID TO SELL ONE OF BBC


Karim Benzema Gareth Bale Cristiano Ronaldo Isco Real Madrid
Real Madrid are prepared to sell one of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Karim Benzema this summer, reports Don Balon.
The Santiago Bernabeu board are said to have been unimpressed by recent showings and are ready to freshen up their forward line.

MAN UTD PLOT OZIL RAID


Mesut Ozil Arsenal
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is plotting a shock summer move for Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, according to the Daily Mirror.
German midfielder Ozil played under Mourinho at Real Madrid and, with 12 months left on his contract in June, the Gunners could sell to their Premier League rivals in a big enough offer is tabled.
Arsenal famously sold star striker Robin van Persie to Old Trafford when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge, then watched their former player win the title that had eluded him with Man Utd the following season.

ARSENAL SCOUTING PICKFORD


Jordan Pickford, Sunderland
Arsenal have sent scouts to watch Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, according to Sunderland Echo.
The Gunners have been impressed by the England Under-21 international's performances this season, but they would likely face competition for his signature this summer.
Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton have all shown an interest in the former Preston North End loanee.

 MADRID PLAN GRIEZMANN MOVE


Antoine Griezmann
Real Madrid are making plans to move for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann at the end of next season, according to L'Equipe.
The France international insists he will not leave the Rojiblancos this summer, but their city rivals believe the player could be tempted by the package they are putting together in 2018.

MARSEILLE WANT GIROUD


Olivier Giroud
Marseille want to capitalise on Olivier Giroud's lack of starts for Arsenal by tempting the striker to return to Ligue 1, according to France Football.
The club now owned by American businessman Frank McCourt have already signed France internationals Dimitri Payet and Patrice Evra, and Giroud is next on their list.

ARSENAL CONSIDER CHILEAN STARLET


Marcelo Allende - Chile U17
Arsenal are considering offering a contract to Chilean youngster Marcelo Allende after he turned 18 on Friday, according to the Daily Mirror.
Allende, who currently plays for Deportes Santa Cruz in his home country, has spent time on trial with the Gunners but is unable to sign for the club until his 18th birthday due to FIFA regulations.

MAN UTD'S €60M PERISIC OFFER 


Ivan Perisic Inter Crotone
Manchester United are planning a massive move for Inter winger Ivan Perisic, but face competition from Chelsea, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
Jose Mourinho is a big fan of the former Borussia Dortmund star and are ready to offer €60 million this summer, but Antonio Conte has been convinced by the 28-year-old and a bidding war could be imminent.

INTER APPROACH SPALLETTI


Luciano Spalletti Palermo Roma Serie A 03122017
Inter have approached Roma coach Luciano Spalletti to take over from Stefano Pioli at the end of the season, according to SportItalia.
The former Zenit boss has been linked with a move to Juventus should Massimiliano Allegri leave, but after reports that Antonio Conte looks set to stay at Chelsea emerged, the Nerazzurri have already been in contact with him.

ARSENAL TO SWOOP FOR GORETZKA


Leon Goretzka Schalke
Arsenal are preparing to make a move for Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka, The Sun reports.
The 22-year-old joined the Gelsenkirchen side from Bochum in 2013 and has impressed over recent seasons, chipping in with six goals in all competitions this term. With his contract expiring in June 2018 and yet to agree to a new one with the German side, Arsenal are reportedly monitoring his situation, though he could cost around £21 million.

GRIEZMANN MAY SNUB MAN UTD


Antoine Griezmann
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann is prepared to turn down an £89 million move to Manchester United if the club fails to make the Champions League, says The Sun.
The France international is still considered to be a top target for the Red Devils, but Real Madrid are also keen and the 26-year-old has stated no desire to move on.

CHELSEA CLOSE IN ON LUKAKU


Romelu Lukaku Everton
Everton's Romelu Lukaku is closing in on a transfer to former club Chelsea, according to a report from Sky Italia, via Calciomercato.
The Belgian is establishing himself as one of the top centre-forwards in European football, hitting over 15 Premier League goals for the fourth time in his five full seasons.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is preparing for life after Diego Costa as the Brazilian-born Spain international looks set to leave the club in the summer, with Lukaku leading the Stamford Bridge attack once more now a real possibility.

ARSENAL IN TALKS WITH COMAN


Kingsley Coman
Arsenal have opened talks with Juventus in regards to a summer transfer for attacker Kingsley Coman, according to Telefoot.
The 20-year-old has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich and is set to be at the centre of a transfer battle at the end of the season, with Chelsea and Manchester City both thought to have had £50 million bids turned down.
Coman, a senior France international, graduated through the Paris Saint-Germain academy before signing a five-year contract with Italian champions Juventus in 2014.

LIVERPOOL WANT THEO


HD Theo Hernandez
Liverpool are set to go up against Real Madrid for the signature of Atletico Madrid left-back Theo Hernandez, according to a report from The Independent.
The 19-year-old, who is the younger brother of Atletico centre-back Lucas, has made 25 La Liga appearances for loan side Alaves this season and could command a fee of up to £20 million should he be sold.
Jurgen Klopp is determined to find a long-term solution to the left side of his defence ahead of next season, with the Atletico man topping his shortlist.

 PEP & MOU CONTACT ALEXIS


Alexis Sanchez Arsenal
Both Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have spoken to Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez regarding summer moves, according to Prensa Futbol.
The Chile international is keen to leave the Emirates Stadium at the end of the season and both Manchester clubs are keen on adding him to their ranks.

Hazard & Courtois IN, Batshuayi & Begovic OUT - who Chelsea should sell this summer

Hazard & Courtois IN, Batshuayi & Begovic OUT - who Chelsea should sell this summer
The Blues will want to build on what is looking like a successful season as they mark their return to the Champions League
Chelsea will be as busy as ever making big-money signings, but they will also be offloading players and using the loan market to increase the value of their extensive pool of talent.
Hazard stays, Costa goes - Desailly
Antonio Conte will remain Chelsea's manager and is keen to make sure that he builds a bright future for his club, who are looking almost certain to win the Premier League and return to playing in the Champions League next term.
The Blues are currently in the process of scouting talent, while Conte is in regular communication with other decision makers at the club over new players. The Italian is faced with a number of charges coming into the last year or two of their contracts, but the boss wants the league title in the bag before working on renewals.
Goal takes a complete overview of the first-team squad and who should be kept, sold and for whom the club should at least entertain offers.

KEEP AT ALL COSTS

Christensen | Chelsea
Eden Hazard - Chelsea's talisman isn't expecting to leave London in the summer and his club want to keep him. Real Madrid are interested in making him one of their trademark Galactico signings but may find it hard to convince a player who is happy at Stamford Bridge. Zinedine Zidane was Hazard's footballing idol growing up and the former France captain is a huge admirer of the Belgian.
RUMOURS: Chelsea closing in on Lukaku
Andreas Christensen - It isn't an exaggeration to say that Chelsea have one of the world's best under-21 defenders on their books and Christensen is expected to return to Stamford Bridge in the summer. He has spent two good years on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach and, despite the Bundesliga club being desperate to keep him, his parent club will likely bring him back.
Thibaut Courtois - Real Madrid have outlined Courtois as their number one target for the summer - ahead of Hazard, even - and will push to sign him. Chelsea are going to resist offers for their number one goalkeeper and they will only be forced to sell the shot-stopper if they receive an obscene offer from the Santiago Bernabeu.
N'Golo Kante - His all-star displays in a Chelsea shirt have led him to be a front runner for the PFA Player of the Year award. Kante only signed for Chelsea in the summer and despite rumours of Real Madrid being interested in his services, it is looking highly unlikely that he will leave.
Cesar Azpilicueta - The Spain international renewed his contract this season, tying him to the club  until 2020. Azpilicueta could find himself staying at Stamford Bridge until the end of his career - he has been as consistent as anyone under Conte, who is a huge fan of his defender's talents.
Cesc Fabregas - Fabregas' future was in doubt ahead of the January transfer window as he struggled to break into the team ahead of Matic and Kante. A lot of hard work in training and a good attitude saw him eventually get recalled to the first team and Cesc has since gotten key assists and goals for the club. The Spaniard is settled in London and he will likely choose to stay for at least another year.
Nemanja Matic - Conte fought to keep Matic from the clutches of Juventus in the summer and it has proven to be a smart decision after he banished the nightmares of last season with title-winning displays. Calm, simple and focused - Matic hasn't found himself in the limelight for his performances this season but he has been a key cog in Conte's winning machine. He will likely stay, although his contract expires in June 2019 which might alert clubs to try their luck with him.
Victor Moses - Moses extended his contract in March to earn the pay-rise he deserved after becoming a first team regular under Conte. His deal now runs until 2021 and he will likely be a fixture of Chelsea's team for many years to come after being patient for his chance.
Marcos Alonso - The wing-back has proved to be a specialist at his duties in Conte's 3-4-3 formation this season and has been an ever-present in the starting line up. Chelsea has been a step up from Fiorentina since his £23 million move in the summer but he has shown his quality in the blue shirt. There may be greater competition for places as the Blues look for wing-backs in the summer, but Alonso will be part of his boss' plans.
Kurt Zouma - The France international's career should continue at Stamford Bridge but a large offer may tempt Chelsea. He returned from his anterior cruciate ligament injury picked up last season but  has found consistent appearances hard to come by. Zouma remains committed to the shirt but major clubs around Europe may be tempted to test the water for a bright talent.
David Luiz - Chelsea's deadline day signing has proved doubters wrong with consistent displays in what looks like a title-winning season. His attributes make him uniquely suited to playing in a 3-4-3 formation and Conte will likely look to Luiz for leadership duties alongside the likes of Cahill and Fabregas.
Gary Cahill - He came in for criticism earlier in the season but talks of his downfall came too soon. Cahill will stay at Chelsea for many years to come and he will likely take over Terry's captain duties if the skipper departs the club.
Nathaniel Chalobah - Chalobah is a shining example to Chelsea's loan army of over 35 players. The England Under-21 star returned from Napoli in the summer and he impressed Conte enough to give him a spot in the first team. He hasn't been a regular but hopes remain high.
Lewis Baker Chelsea
Lewis Baker - The attacking midfielder has undoubtedly emerged as Vitesse's best player and he is a key player for England's Under-21 side. He could end his season having lifted the KNVB Cup and he has made over 60 appearances for the Chelsea feeder club since joining in 2015. The Blues should keep hold of this youngster but he might need a spell in a more challenging division before returning to the club on a full time basis.
Tammy Abraham - Chelsea won't look to sell one of England's most talented young strikers who is scoring goals for fun despite being at struggling Bristol City in the Championship. He has hit 21 goals for the season and broken records for teenage strikers in the competitive division. There are high hopes that Abraham may have the quality to make it at Stamford Bridge but it will likely be following another year on loan.
Man City confident of signing Alexis
Izzy Brown - Brown has made his debut for Chelsea in 2015 but he hasn't played since. He is on his third successive loan spell, at Huddersfield Town, having been at Vitesse and Rotherham. Despite not earning as many of the headlines for his displays in the Championship as Abraham, Brown has been very impressive this season and put in quality performances on a weekly basis. The Blues could look to promote Brown next season, but they may look for a Premier League loan move to ensure that he is ready upon his return.
Willian - It has been a mixed year for Willian, who looks set to win the Premier League title. However, he is increasingly having to come off the bench with Pedro and Hazard in such good form. He has been impressive when called upon and has said that he wants to end his career at Stamford Bridge.
Diego Costa - Chelsea's top scorer should stay on but there are question marks over his commitment to the club and there are still doubts on whether he is comfortable living in England. He had offers from the Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian in January which left him unsettled and Atletico Madrid remain keen on re-signing their former striker.
Jérémie Boga - The Frenchman has followed up a successful loan spell at Rennes with another one in La Liga with struggling Granada. He has been one of the club's brightest talents this season and will likely be given more time to prove his worth.
John Terry - There are still doubts over whether the Chelsea captain will remain at the club that he has been at for over 20 years, but Conte will at least consider renewing Terry's contract at the end of the season. However, the veteran may decide to leave over a lack of first-team opportunities, with interest in him high from Chinese and English football clubs.

OPEN TO OFFERS

Michy Batshuayi
Michy Batshuayi - Chelsea had a good summer transfer window in the main but their £33 million signing from Marseille has hardly had a look in. Diego Costa's good form kept Batshuayi out, but even as his performances dropped off the Belgian striker failed to get his chance. Batshuayi won't want to face another season with few opportunities coming his way and may look for a move. Plenty of clubs from England, Italy and France will be interested in signing him; he will likely leave on loan, however, rather than on a cut-price deal.
Asmir Begović - Chelsea's number two goalkeeper almost moved in January with a £10 million offer from Bournemouth ready to be accepted, subject to his club getting in a replacement. Begovic's move collapsed as the Blues failed to convince Celtic into the sale of Craig Gordon, but the honest goalkeeper is keen to get back to playing football regularly.
WATCH: PL loan stars shine
Nathan Ake - Bournemouth are also very interested in re-signing Ake after sampling his talents during his loan spell for the first six months of the season. Ake is hugely respected by Eddie Howe at the Cherries and they could even look for a permanent deal next time around.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek - Loftus-Cheek has been held up as the brightest English talent in Chelsea's academy but he may benefit from a loan move next season. He has played well in his sporadic appearances for the Blues this season but, as he develops into an attacking midfielder, it has not been enough to dislodge Hazard and Co. - Chalobah benefitted from his loan spells and the club may carefully pick one for his talented team-mate.
Charly Musonda - Musonda is loved for his YouTube-friendly talent and Conte is a fan of the youngster. However, he hasn't been able to force his way into even the match day squad under the Italian. Chelsea may be tempted to cash in for a big offer but they will more likely loan him out.
Ola Aina -  Chelsea still have high hopes for Ola Aina who has made several appearances this season. Conte did look into the possibility of loaning out Aina in January and he was unlucky not to find a move. The club will be careful about not just accepting any loan offer for the right-back, who is still in a position to make it at Stamford Bridge.
Marco van Ginkel - PSV will try to re-sign Van Ginkel next season on loan, or in a cut-price deal. Chelsea will be reluctant to sell unless the offer is a profit on what they initially paid, but other clubs may yet come in for the midfielder who has continually impressed in the Eredivisie.
Mario Pašalić – On loan at AC Milan, the midfielder has proved his quality in San Siro and Vincenzo Montella has been impressed with the Croatian. Milan have the money to secure a try-before-you-buy type deal for their loanee in the summer and they might look to make his stay permanent.

PACK YOUR BAGS - YOU'RE OFF!

Loic Remy Chelsea
Dominic Solanke - Conte has been open that Solanke will leave Chelsea in the summer. His contract expires at the end of the season and he will likely move to another Premier League club. He has won Chelsea Academy Player of The Year and England Youth Player of the Year, but his career has stagnated after he failed to agree a new contract with his boyhood club.
The race for the Golden Shoe
Loïc Rémy - Remy has just over a a year left on his contract but will leave as long as someone can pay a nominal fee and his wage. It is clear that Remy's future is not at Stamford Bridge and he has failed to break into the Crystal Palace team, where he currently plays, on a consistent basis.
Kenedy - Kenedy is part of Chelsea's first team squad after being recalled from Watford due to injury. He has made only one first-team appearance off the bench in the FA Cup and there is little evidence that Conte wants to use him regularly. The Italian boss may be tempted to cash in.
Christian Atsu - The Ghana international has just over a year left on his current Chelsea contract and he is unlikely to be signing a new deal. Chelsea will likely make a loss on him after initially signing him for for £3.5 million from Porto in 2013.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Injuries, suspensions & line-up vs Hull City

Man City Team News: Injuries, suspensions & line-up vs Hull City
Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday
Manchester City head into their home game against Hull City on Saturday having won just one of their last six matches in all competitions.
Premier League Team of the Week
Pep Guardiola feels his side have deserved more from some of those games but the Blues are just four points clear of Arsenal and Manchester United, who both have a game in hand.
City have also had some difficulty in breaking down the opposition at home, but while Marco Silva's side are fighting bravely against the threat of relegation, their away record is poor.

MAN CITY INJURIES


Bacary Sagna will miss at least another fortnight, while Gabriel Jesus is still a few weeks away from full fitness and Ilkay Gundogan is out for the season.
Bacary Sagna Manchester City
Gabriel Jesus Man City FA Cup

MAN CITY SUSPENSIONS


City have no suspensions to worry about, though Tom Huddlestone is banned for the visitors.

MAN CITY POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP


After Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph made shock returns to the starting line-up on Wednesday it is anybody's guess how City could line up on Saturday.
Pep still searching for answers
Kompany has played in back-to-back games whenever fitness has allowed this season, suggesting he could start yet again.
Guardiola appears to favour Jesus Navas at right-back rather than Fernandinho, although Pablo Zabaleta is also an option. Gael Clichy seems to have the left-back spot nailed down despite his poor form.
Fernandinho and Yaya Toure will contest the deepest midfield role, with the former likeliest to get the nod.
Delph is unlikely to start, given he was deployed to fill spaces that Chelsea usually exploit. At home, City are more likely to field their first choice forwards, with Raheem Sterling back in for Delph.

HULL CITY TEAM NEWS


Harry Maguire and Abel Hernandez are injury doubts after being withdrawn in the Tigers' midweek win over Middlesbrough. Omar Elabdellaoui has sat out the last two games and could also miss out at the Etihad, while Dieumerci Mbokani has been out with a hamstring injury since the end of March.
Hazard the PL's most important player
Moses Odubajo, Ryan Mason and Will Keane are long-term absentees, while Tom Huddlestone is banned.
Marco Silva has helped Hull pull out of the relegation zone since he was appointed manager in January, but although he has improved the Tigers' home form, they have lost all but one of their away games.
Indeed, the last time they won away from home in the league was at Stoke on September 21.
Tom Huddlestone Leicester City Hull City Premier League 14032015
Oumar Niasse Hull City Premier League

BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS


  • Manchester City have been beaten just once in nine previous Premier League games against Hull City, a 1-2 loss in February 2010 (W5 D3).
  • Hull City’s last win in any competition away at Manchester City was in the FA Cup in February 1930, drawing three and losing seven since then.
  • The Tigers have scored just two goals in their last 11 Premier League away games, despite attempting 114 shots (41 on target).
  • Manchester City have lost only one of their last 17 Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium (W9 D7 L1), with that defeat coming at the hands of league leaders Chelsea in December.
  • Since Marco Silva was appointed Hull manager on January 5 th , the Tigers have won 17 points in the Premier League – only Chelsea (23), Spurs (23) and Everton (21) have won more in this period.

TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME


The game kicks off at 15:00 UK time on Saturday April 8, and is not available on television in the UK.

'Man United will win the Premier League'

'Man United will win the Premier League' - Stankovic lauds special Mourinho effect
The ex-Inter midfielder said the Red Devils boss is simply special as he praised his former coach
Dejan Stankovic is sure former boss Jose Mourinho will restore the glory days at Manchester United as he told supporters to expect success from the 'Special One'.
Morata proving his worth to Madrid
Identified by United's hierarchy in the off-season to lead the Premier League club back among Europe's elite, Mourinho has overseen signs of improvement but also some teething problems at Old Trafford.
Since replacing Louis van Gaal and investing heavily in Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly, Mourinho has won the EFL Cup and is preparing for the Europa League quarter-finals, but United are stumbling in the race for the top four.
Tuesday's last-gasp draw at home to Everton - their ninth at the Theatre of Dreams this season and 12th overall in the Premier League - left United sixth in the table and four points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City but ex-Inter midfielder Stankovic has faith in Mourinho.
Speaking exclusively to Omnisport, Stankovic said: "I am sure he can, and will [win the Premier League].
"He drives on success and he definitely will not settle for partial success, especially in a club with tradition such as United.
"Expect success because it is simply Mourinho."
Former Serbia international Stankovic knows Mourinho very well, having spent two years playing under the 54-year-old at Inter.
During his time with Mourinho, Stankovic won numerous trophies, including the Serie A, Champions League and Coppa Italia treble in 2009-10.
Rodgers beaming as Rogic returns
When asked what separates Mourinho from the rest, the 38-year-old Stankovic said: "It is really hard to say, since it is difficult to choose only one thing. There are many good things that make him special.
"He is fully dedicated to his work. He is focused on football and tactics. He knows how to bring out the best from a team in a physical and mental sense and makes good relations with players.
"Mourinho is simply special."

Monday, 20 March 2017

There is need for more dynamism

'There is need for more dynamism' - Onigbinde tasks Caf president Ahmad
The former Fifa technical committee member has tasked the Madagascan to be firm if he hopes to be successful as head of African football
Chief Adegboye Onigbinde has thrown his weight behind the change in leadership of the Confederation of African Football.
Ahmad Ahmad defeated incumbent Issa Hayatou 34 votes to 20 at the 39th Caf Ordinary General Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
And the former Fifa technical member who feels the change was long overdue has tasked Ahmad not to repeat the mistakes of Hayatou if he hopes to succeed.
"I congratulate him. I believe he will come in with new ideas. The only thing that is constant in this life is change and the situation of African football has been expecting some changes," Onigbinde told Sportmasta.
"There should be more emphasis on development because in Fifa regulations under objectives, the opening sentence reads - to improve the game of football constantly. Competition is supposed to be a by-product, it should be used to assess the level of development so if you’re concentrating on competition without development, you are wasting your time.
"Well, Mr. Hayatou is a gentle man and he is a man who was flexible with everybody but maybe there was a need for a little bit of more dynamism for him.
"He was easily buttoned, not dynamic enough, probably that is his own nature. Inspite of that, I think he did a lot of good work for African football, but football just like other sports needs dynamism and when you are in leadership especially in Africa, you need to be a man of yourself but if you are one that they can push around, of course you will be like a leaf on top of a flowing river. I think the new man should improve from that because there is need for more dynamism and self-confidence.''
Onigbinde who guided the Super Eagles to the 2002 Fifa World Cup also expressed his delight with the victory Amaju Pinnick - challenging him to put the nation's interest first at all times.
"Pinnick’s victory is a good one for Nigeria, once again we have another person there after Amos Adamu and we hope he can do some good works for Nigeria,'' he continued.
''I was in Caf technical committee for about 25 years and I know a few areas where I had to push things through for Nigeria, so I think if he takes more of Nigeria than of self, he should be able to do more for the country."

Paul Onuachu's strike rescues Midtjylland

Paul Onuachu's strike rescues Midtjylland
The Nigerian forward weighed in with a last-gasp winner to ensure the Wolves share the spoils at the Nordjyske Arena
Paul Onuachu scored as Midtjylland battled to grab a 1-1 draw at AaB in a Danish Superliga encounter on Monday evening. Morten Wieghorst's men took the lead in the 54th minute through Frederik Børsting but the Wolves had to count on the 22-year-old's strike on the stroke of regulation time to get a share of the points.
His compatriot, Rilwan Hassan played for 75 minutes before being substituted for Jonas Borring.
The goal was Onuachu’s eighth in 24 league appearances for Jess Thorup’s side. And they are placed fourth on the log with 38 points garnered from 25 games.
In their next Danish topflight encounter, they welcome eight placed Nordsjælland to the MCH Arena on March 19.

I never expected Moses to have a future at Chelsea

I never expected Moses to have a future at Chelsea, says Carragher
The Liverpool legend continues to be impressed by the puzzling Nigerian claiming he never gave him a chance to excel at the Stamford Bridge
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has praised the rise of Chelsea right wing-back Victor Moses in the Premier League this season.
Moses stepped up and sealed a place in Conte's first team this season after enduring three loan spells with Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham since he signed for the Stamford Bridge outfit from Wigan in 2012.
As a result of his impressive record this season, the Nigeria international was rewarded with a two-year contract extension earlier this month, and was on parade for 70 minutes in the Blues' 2-1 defeat of Stoke City.
The former Reds skipper was not only amazed by his development this season but by his quick adaptation in the new defensive role he finds himself this season.
"Another thing you want a manager to do is improve players — and look at Victor Moses. I never expected him to have a future at Chelsea," Carragher wrote on Daily Mail.
"Given he had been out on loan so much, and the levels he has shown have taken me by complete surprise. He has been excellent in his new role of right wing back."

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Twitter explodes as Africa votes Issa Hayatou out, Ahmad Ahmad in

Twitter explodes as Africa votes Issa Hayatou out, Ahmad Ahmad in
The long-serving Caf President was voted out of power on Thursday as African football's leaders voted for his Madagascan adversary
Issa Hayatou's 29-year grip in African football ended on Thursday when Caf voted for Madagascan football administrator Ahmad Ahmad as the confederation's new president.
Ahmad defeated Hayatou by 34 votes to 20, thus bringing to an end Hayatou's reign, which began when he replaced Abdel Halim Mohammad in 1988.
The surprise result, which was announced Caf’s 39th General Assembly in Addis Ababa, prompted shock and celebration across social media, with many fans, pundits and observers celebrating the departure of the 70-year-old, who has been accused of various controversies during his long stint at the helm.
However, the Cameroonian has overseen significant improvement in Caf’s standing within the global football community and considerable.growth within the continental game.

Issa Hayatou Out, Ahmad Ahmad In: African football speaks

Ahmad Ahmad
After a vote at the governing body's Congress in Addis Ababa, the Madagascan was named as the new leader, replacing Issa Hayatou
Madagascan football administrator Ahmad Ahmad has been named the new Caf President after defeating incumbent Issa Hayatou in Thursday’s vote.
In the election, which was held at Caf’s 39th General Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ahmad defeated Hayatou in a shock result after picking up 34 votes to the 70-year-old’s 20.
Hayatou had been in power since 1988 when he replaced Abdel Halim Mohammad, and has overseen significant growth in the continental game and in Caf’s standing within the global football community.

Breaking: CAF presidency: Ahmad floors Hayatou

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The incumbent President of the Confederation of African Football, Isa Hayatou, has been defeated.
Hayatou was floored by the man who has simply requested to be called Ahmad.
Ahmad defeated Hayatou by 34 votes to 20.
Nigeria before the election had declared support for Hayatou.
Nigeria’s position was made know by the Minister of Youth and Sport, Solomon Dalung.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

He's not N'Golo Kante, but Wilfred Ndidi can be star man for Leicester

He's not N'Golo Kante, but Wilfred Ndidi can be star man for Leicester
As the Nigeria international continues to shine, the Foxes could be forgiven for thinking their midfield crown jewel never left

The immediacy of N’Golo Kante ’s success at Chelsea , allowing for a initial brief toe-dipping period, has given ammunition to the notion Leicester City were wrong to let him leave following last season’s title win. Arguably the Foxes’ most impressive performer in all phases, Kante was the hound in their midst, not just hunting down opponents but also injecting urgency into his own ranks. His skill set is so unique as to be bespoke.
And yet, on Monday night against Liverpool, and in victory over Hull City on Saturday, there was the Leicester of old: Darth Vader, wheezing and improbably reanimated, but undoubtedly alive. As they hammered Liverpool, transferring the ball quickly into the channel to savage makeshift centre-back Lucas Leiva, it looked for all the world like Kante had never left.
It was a similar story on Saturday, as Leicester moved five points clear of the relegation zone with their second win in a week.
N'Golo Kante Chelsea 2016/17
Enter Wilfred Ndidi .
The Nigeria international has started impressively at the King Power, getting off the mark with a rasping effort in the FA Cup against Derby County, but amidst the general entropy within the ranks, he has been unable to truly shine. Against Liverpool, he delivered his most complete performance to date, before following that up with a commanding showing against Hull.
The role of the Leicester rank and file in the latter-day vicissitudes of Claudio Ranieri will forever be the subject of debate and speculation.
There was something rather soul-destroying in watching the group, previously hapless and supine, leap into battle against their Scouse visitors. Whether that was to do with the nature of the challenge Jurgen Klopp put forward, or with the fact the Premier League’s reigning champions were stirred to battle by the cry of Craig Shakespeare, we may never know for certain.
HD Riyad Mahrez Jamie Vardy Leicester City
What we do know is that the entire team put in a performance worthy of last season, finding in Ndidi a willing and able replacement for their departed French enforcer. In place of Kante’s Energizer bunny scurrying came Ndidi’s long-limbed contortionism; concerned, as was his predecessor, simply with winning the ball and laying it off to the more expansive ball players.
His passes were not simply square though. Against Liverpool, the 20-year-old completed only 20 of them in total – demonstrating the immediacy of the home side’s approach - but 10 of those were to Matthew Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez in the wide positions. To reach the latter especially, from his left-of-centre positioning, saw Ndidi play some impressive diagonals to pick out the Algerian.
Against Hull, he completed 49 passes, the third highest in the Foxes team.
Wilfred NdidiWilfred Ndidi
He stacks up excellently in the combative stakes too; eleven tackles won, six clearances, and seven aerial duels, just the one foul committed on Monday. The numbers are scarily Kante-esque, and indeed, no player had managed more tackles in a Premier League match since the France international against the Reds in January.
However, the biggest pointer to the player’s value and ability came before the game even began.
Kante Ndidi PS
Amid concerns over the club’s purchases under Claudio Ranieri this season, as well as a certain perceived loyalty to underperformers, it is no surprise that caretaker boss Shakespeare reverted to the line-up that contested the majority of games last season, even reinstating alienated Japan international Shinji Okazaki, with Islam Slimani available for selection.
This in spite of the fact that, of the lot, the club record signing from Sporting could most be considered useful.
Wilfred Ndidi
However, it was Ndidi, not Daniel Amartey, who was called upon to fill the Kante-hole. Considering Shakespeare’s public avowal of a consensual management style, with all its suggestions of undue player influence and cliquism, this is remarkable for a player just out of his teens, and who only joined in January.
More than anything else, it was a loud, ringing endorsement by the squad of his immediate impact and ability, and the esteem in which he is held. He is not Kante, might or might not be as good in the long run, and he most definitely will win no league titles with Leicester City. However, Ndidi is something special in his own right.