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Premier LEague

Everton vs Leicester City: Preview

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Premier League table is heating up as we hit the final stretch of games. With only 7 games left to play, it is all to fight for. The midweek round of games sees Everton host Leicester City at Goodison Park in what is a huge game for the Toffees.

Everton were last in action against Manchester United at home, as they secured a 1-0 win. It was a win that gave the Toffees hope of survival, as they still linger around the relegation zone, just three points clear of 18th placed Burnley. Only positive results in the remaining games for Everton would keep them in the Premier League for another year, and manager Frank Lampard has a difficult task on hand. Everton are locked in a battle with Burnley now, with the Toffees having played a game less than the Clarets. A win on Wednesday night would see them move 7 points clear, providing some relief to the Evertonians. It will be a tough fight against Leicester City, but the Toffees cannot afford any slip up now. Everton had an extended break since their win against United, while Leicester City have had to play four games in the space of 10 days, which could give the Toffees an advantage taking into account fatigue and injuries.

Leicester City have not had the best of seasons, failing to match the heights they reached in the previous two seasons. The 19/20 and 20/21 seasons ended with two consecutive top 5 finishes, but will have to settle for a mid-table finish this season. Luck has not always been on their side, with Brendan Rodger’s squad hit with injuries consistently throughout the season. They have not been able to string a run of positive results this season, and the end of the season cannot come sooner for Leicester fans. They are almost certainly out of any European spot this season, with the Foxes also failing to get anything out of their Europa League campaign and were relegated from the competition to the Europa Conference League.

Brendan Rodger’s side were drawn to play against PSV in the quarter-finals, and were successful in the second leg, winning 2-1 away from home after a goalless draw at home in the first leg. The away win meant they progressed to the semi-finals of the newly founded competition, and could have a real shot at winning yet another trophy for the second season running. Rodgers and his side will be aware that winning the Europa Conference League is the only way of securing Europa League football for next season, and they could choose to focus all their attention on the cup instead of the league. The Foxes were last in action against Newcastle United away from home as they lost 2-1 thanks to a brace by Bruno Guimaraes. Leicester will hope to bounce back against the relegation-threatened Toffees here on Wednesday night.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Date: Wednesday, 20th April 2022.
Time: 6.45 pm BST
Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool.

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: David Coote.
Assistants: Gary Beswick, Nick Hopton.
Fourth official: Anthony Taylor.
VAR: Michael Oliver.
Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis.

TEAM NEWS

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Everton’s on loan midfielder Donny van de Beek, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Monday, should return to the squad after he missed out against Man United, being ineligible to play against his parent club. The Toffees will however be without a few other key players, with midfielders Tom Davies, Andre Gomes and Andros Townsend all injured. Defenders Yerry Mina and Nathan Patterson with both missing through injuries as well. Michael Keane and Allan returned to the lineup against United after serving their respective suspensions and will be expected to start again on Wednesday night.

Leicester City will have defender Ryan Bertrand missing through injury, along with goalkeeper Danny Ward who has undergone knee surgery. 35-year-old striker Jamie Vardy is also ruled out for Wednesday’s game, but is likely to make his return soon. Defensive midfielder Wilfried Ndidi has also been missing from action since mid-March and is not expected to play again this season. Boubakary Soumare remains a doubt after he missed out against Newcastle with muscle soreness. Rotation could be a heavy feature on Sunday, taking into account Leicester City’s fixture congestion.

MATCH ANALYSIS

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Everton are in a race to survive another year in the Premier League, and while the Toffees are in the driving seat, they have Burnley hot on their heels. The relegation battle between the two clubs seems set to go down to the wire, and it is hard to tell who will come out on top. Everton have to face Leicester City (x2), Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Brentford, Watford and Crystal Palace, from now till the end of the season, and their run-in is arguably one of the toughest in the league. In contrast, Burnley have got Aston Villa (x2), Newcastle United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Watford, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspurs to contend with, giving them some advantage over the Toffees.

On Wednesday night, the Toffees face a Leicester City team who are a shadow of their former selves. They have not shown the same quality of football that they have shown under Brendan Rodgers in the past couple of seasons, and Everton will believe they have a chance to get all three points at home, especially after their last home again.

It is no secret that Leicester City like to play with possession, which could bode well for Everton. Frank Lampard’s side has resorted to defending and counter-attacking the opposition, and they are expected to do the same on Wednesday. Leicester City have been nervy and vulnerable on the counter in recent weeks, more so since defensive midfielder, Wilfried Ndidi was ruled out through injury. Ndidi was the sole cover for their defence, and along with Youri Tielemans made the Foxes organized in defence and attack. Nampalys Mendy has not been up to the same level that Ndidi was, and that has hurt Leicester as their torrid season continues.

Everton will need to go all out for a win, with Burnley dropping points on the weekend after a 1-1 draw with West Ham United. They will have the chance to open up a 7-point gap to the Clarets, Frank Lampard will hope his men can grab the opportunity with both hands.

KEY PLAYERS

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

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The English striker had a wonderful 20/21 season, scoring 21 goals in 39 games in all competitions, and was expected to carry on in the same fashion this season. However, Calvert-Lewin has struggled with injuries and has not had a consistent run of games, playing only 14 games in all competitions this season. DCL has 3 goals and an assist in the Premier League so far, and while he has recovered from his injuries now, the Englishman is gradually easing in. He played the full 90 minutes against Burnley in the midweek, only his first full game since February 19th. He has not scored in the league since August last week, and will be hoping to get one on Saturday. Leicester City have a few defensive issues which the English striker could capitalize on, and Lampard will hope his main striker can get back among the goals on Wednesday.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

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The young English midfielder is a product of the Leicester City Academy, making his debut in January of 2020. He made only one appearance, subsequently going on loan for the next 18 months. However, a series of injuries in the Leicester squad saw the 23-year-old make his Premier League debut this season on 28th August 2021, and since then has been a regular feature in the starting 11. He has put in some strong performances of late, and has become a reliable choice for Brendan Rodgers. A goal and assist in the win against Crystal Palace, was followed by another strong performance in Leicester’s defeat to Newcastle United. Dewsbury-Hall has all the makings of a future star, and will be expected to line up in the Leicester midfield again on Sunday

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Everton predicted XI: Jordan Pickford; Seamus Coleman, Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey, Vitaliy Mykolenko; Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Alex Iwobi; Anthony Gordon, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.

Leicester City predicted XI: Kasper Schmeichel; Justin James, Jonny Evans, Caglar Soyuncu, Luke Thomas; Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Youri Tielemans; Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Ademola Lookman; Kelechi Iheanacho.












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Premier LEague

Sao Paulo President – Marquinhos “didn’t want to stay”

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There’s been a lot of coverage recently regarding the Brazilian media’s enthusiasm for Marquinhos’ transfer from Sao Paulo to Arsenal. Following numerous rumours stating that the Gunners’ proposal had been accepted, journalist Jorge Nicola revealed yesterday quoting a source who said the move is taking place.

Sao Paulo president Julio Casares was interviewed by Sportv on Wednesday evening. He was queried about sales, and Marquinhos’ departure was also highlighted. The official revealed that the winger is leaving the club owing to a contract dispute, but he did not specify where he will go.

“He didn’t want to stay, we tried everything. Even before the game against Racing, where he blew up, he didn’t want to stay. It was a contractual issue, that he had this condition,” Casares told Sportv.

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According to Globo Esporte, Marquinhos will join Arsenal for about €3.5 million. They point out that because of this, Paulo had to ‘accelerate’ his sale. This is because FIFA will not recognize the five-year contract he signed when he was underage. He is due to become a free agent this summer because he could only agree to a three-year contract, so the club decided to accept the Gunners’ offer rather than lose him for nothing.

This will be Arsenal’s second recent acquisition from the Brazilian market with winger Gabriel Martinelli also signed from the South American country. Mikel Arteta is building his side into a team with a blend of experience and youth. The likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Martin Odegaard have all flourished under the Spaniard and expectations will be very high for Marquinhos who is rated very highly among the club hierarchy.

Marquinhos is said to be in London already and have undergone his medical with a possibility of announcement down the week as Premier League comes to its conclusion.

Although this one looks like a bit different kind of an acquisition; Arsenal are trying to take advantage of a poorly negotiated contract by Sao Paulo here and Marquinhos’ imminent arrival is likely to get him involved at either Hale End or possibly send him out on loan to get much-needed experience in his legs. Edu, alongside Per Mertesacker, have keenly invested in Arsenal’s academy in the last couple of years and it looks like despite Mikel and his plans of acquisitions – the Gunners will continue to boost the pasture Hale End has always been to London Colney.












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Barcelona offer Raphinha 200% of current wages

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According to GOAL, Leeds United star Raphinha has agreed on personal terms with Barcelona ahead of a possible summer move to the Nou Camp. As Goal initially reported on Tuesday, it is known that the Brazilian will have his salary doubled if he joins the Spanish giants on a contract until 2027.

According to OUL Sports, Barcelona has made an opening bid of £55 million for the Brazilian sensation. Raphinha’s current deal expires in the summer of 2024, and the player is willing to leave Elland Road. If Jesse Marsch’s team are to keep the Brazilian’s services, they must fight for Premier League survival. Raphinha’s final game for Leeds is against Brentford on Sunday [22 May] and he will be more determined than anyone to keep the club in the Premier League.

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Raphinha clearly cares for Leeds United, as evidenced by his response to Luke Ayling’s red card and an emotional moment following the Whites’ final home game of the season against Brighton. He certainly has the talent to play Champions League football, but he is of an age where he must develop for the sake of his career. Unfortunately for him, he will not be able to accomplish his ambitions at Elland Road.

A move to the Catalan outfit will provide the winger with the platform he needs to develop into one of Europe’s top wingers. The Spanish giants are playing a waiting game to sign the winger, which is understandable given their current FFP troubles.

Xavi is reportedly keen on signing the Brazilian as the former Blaugrana player looks to rebuild his squad in the summer to challenge arch-rivals Real Madrid for next season’s La Liga trophy.



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Crystal Palace vs Man United: Match Preview

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Crystal Palace are going into the last day of the season with nothing to play for but a higher midtable place, so this match doesn’t really mean much to them apart from it being their last match and wanting to go out with a win to finish their season well for the fans. However, for Manchester United, this could be the difference between a failure and an absolute catastrophe. They are currently in 6th (Europa League spot) and are only 2 points above West Ham, so if they lose and West Ham wins, then they could be dropped into the Conference League, the third tier of European competition.

WHERE AND WHEN?

Venue: Selhurst Park.
Date: Sunday, 22nd May 2022.
Time: 16:00 (BST).

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistant referee: Constantine Hatzidakis, Richard West.
Fourth official: Josh Smith
VAR: Peter Banke
Assistant VAR: Natalie Aspinall.

TEAM NEWS

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Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick said this when asked about availability, “We, once again unfortunately, have quite a few players missing and another couple of players with question marks.” The likes of Sancho, Shaw and Rashford are likely people with those question marks, but even if they aren’t all of them can start from the get-go.

In an interview with Football London, Patrick Viera said this about star winger Micheal Olise, “Michael was injured. He had a step back and he’s not going to play again this season.” This means that he’s not going to be playing against United, but that is their only injury, so they’ll be faring better than United, injury-wise anyway.

MATCH ANALYSIS

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Ralf Ragnick’s side hasn’t had the best season, so they’ll be looking to end it stably with a Europa League finish. It’s not exactly what the fans would have been dreaming of when they signed the likes of Ronaldo, Varane and Sancho, it’s not the top 4 and it’s definitely not the league title or Champions League title, but the Europa League isn’t the worst situation in the world for United, even though saying that is a controversial opinion. They’ll need to win this match, as it could decide the future of Manchester United.

Crystal Palace may have nothing to play for, but the difference between 14th and 10th could be looked back upon differently by fans in a few years’ time, and money-wise, it would definitely help the club. Viera’s side have built strongly this season, but the question in the summer will be if they can keep their foundations. A home win against Manchester United would be brilliant for the fans after losing at Everton would be a lovely way to finish the season.

KEY PLAYERS

CONOR GALLAGHER

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Gallagher was benched against Everton, and after their collapse against the Toffees, Viera will probably put him back into the heart of the team. Gallagher had a spell of brilliance, but it seems that he isn’t that same undroppable player he once was at Selhurst Park. And with his future in doubt, he’ll want to play well going into the summer window, and also have the option to stay with the Eagles long term.

Conor Gallagher will also be able to exploit the likes of Dalot and Lindelöf by goading them out of position due to them tracking the wingers and that will help him to get the ball through to the likes of Eze and Mateta or to take it on himself by exploiting the spaces in and around them.

DIOGO DALOT

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Dalot has been a solid right-back for Manchester United and has been able to give Wan-Bissaka some serious competition in that position. With reports coming out of incoming manager Eric Ten Hag’s preference for the Portuguese international of his counterpart, it makes sense that Rangnick starts to prepare Dalot for regular first-team football next season.

The 23-year-old did well on his first Premier League start of the season against Arsenal last month, and he’ll hope to have a similar impact against a team with similar attacking principles as the Gunners. With 8 ball recoveries and brilliant holding of possession against the North Londoners, he’s been yet to have the same impact on a game but will hope to this time around.

PREDICTED XI

Crystal Palace predicted XI vs Man United: Butland; Mitchell, Guehi, Andersen, Clyne; Gallagher, Milivojević, Eze; Zaha, Mateta, Ayew.

Man United predicted XI vs Crystal Palace: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelöf, Varane, Telles; Fred, McTominay, Fernandes; Sancho, Elanga, Ronaldo.

READ MORE

Manchester United and the Paul Pogba conundrum
Profiling Manchester United target Gonçalo Inácio: What could he bring to Old Trafford?
A potential return on the cards for Aaron Wan-Bissaka?












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