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Premier LEague

Norwich City vs Everton: Preview

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Premier League game week 22 is going to be interesting for both Norwich City and Everton as both of them are struggling to achieve their targets. Everton are currently at 15th position in the table and would want to be out of the relegation zone while Norwich City are currently 20th and are battling to come out of the relegation zone. In the head-to-head battle between the two teams, Everton has a slight edge as it has won seven out of the nineteen games played between them but Norwich City would also not completely lose hope as they have defeated Everton 2-0 once. Predicting a winner would be very difficult but we’re definitely up for a hard-fought encounter.

WHERE AND WHEN?

Venue: Carrow Road Stadium, Norwich.
Date: Saturday, 15th January 2022.
Time: 15:00 BST.

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Robert Jones.
Assistants: Adam Nunn, James Mainwaring.
Fourth official: Peter Bankes.
VAR: Stuart Attwell.
Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin.

TEAM NEWS

Norwich City

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Norwich City will keep on dealing with its set of injuries and will play again without the services of Christoph Zimmermann, Lukas Rupp, Mathias Normann, Billy Gilmour, Andrew Omobamidele through injury. Good news for the Canaries fans as Todd Cantwell is back and ready for selection.

Speaking on Friday morning, Dean said: “We’ve got Todd Cantwell back training, he trained on Thursday. He’s back available for the squad. I wanted him to travel to West Ham but he came into the training ground and he was ill so we sent him home. Todd wasn’t quite ready for that first game (against Southampton) when I threw him in. It’s been a bit stop-start for him since he’s had a knee injury and illnesses. But we want to get him back as soon as possible”. Head coach Smith is expected to shuffle the squad with players like Jakob Sorensen who could get a chance in the central midfield. 

Everton

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Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Tom Davies will be the only absentee from the squad in the fixture against Norwich City. Good news for the Everton fans as Dominic Calvert-Lewin has resumed full training after a four-month layoff with a quadriceps injury. Benitez has confirmed that Tom Davies will likely be out for one or two more months after undergoing successful hamstring surgery.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference at USM Finch Farm, Benitez said: “All of the players were training yesterday [Thursday], so at the moment the only one not available through injury is just Tom Davies. He had his operation. All the others were training and now we have to treat them carefully. At the moment they are fine, then it is up to us to see who can be available for his game or the next games. We are quite confident we have people coming back…but they are still not fully fit. It is important to understand match fitness comes with games.”

Anwar El Ghazi will most likely make his debut after his loan move from Aston Villa while Alex Iwobi will miss out as he is occupied with the African Cup of Nations. Players like Yerry Mina, Richarlison, Branthwaite, Delph have also been taking part in training sessions and their match fitness will be assessed before the clash. 

MATCH ANALYSIS

Norwich have suffered their sixth straight Premier League defeat, which made it eight matches without a victory. Norwich have won two of their last four games against Everton but have lost the last two consecutive games. Everton will also be looking to record their first victory in the Premier League since the start of December. Both teams have been in poor form in the Premier League but have a lot to fight for as one will fight to steer clear of the relegation zone and one will fight to come out of the relegation zone.

KEY PLAYERS

Teemu Pukki – Norwich City

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Finnish striker Teemu Pukki has performed well and delivered when needed for Norwich this season. He is one of the few players who has been reliable for Norwich on the forward side of the pitch. In his nineteen appearances for the club this season he has scored five important goals and will be the danger man for Norwich. Everton will certainly close him out and not concede any penalties as the two of his five goals have come from scoring penalties.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Everton

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The 2021-22 season for DCL has been shaky due to long-term injuries. He has been missing most of the action this season and is back in full training for the Toffies. His lack of game time cannot make Norwich take him for granted as even in the four appearances for the club this season he has scored three goals and has been the danger man for Everton since two seasons scoring sixteen goals in the 20-21 season and thirteen goals in the 19-20 season. His comeback on the pitch will certainly make him crave for goals and will be the player to look out for Everton.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Norwich City predicted lineup Krul; Aarons, Kabak, Hanley, Giannoulis; Sorensen, McLean; Sargent, Idah, Rashica; Pukki.

Everton predicted lineupPickford; Holgate, Keane, Godfrey; Coleman, Allan, Doucoure, Mykolenko; Gordon, Calvert-Lewin, Gray.

         












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Premier LEague

Burnley vs Watford: Match Preview

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Burnley will be back in Premier League action for the first time since January 2, hosting Watford at the Turf Moor on Tuesday, January 18.

Just like Burnley, Watford are also struggling upon their return to the Premier League, as they find themselves without a win in their last eight matches across all competitions.

The Hornets held Newcastle to a 1-1 draw over the weekend  Joao Pedro scored late in the game to salvage a point for Claudio Ranieri’s men.

Burnley are rocked-bottom of the league table after taking just 11 points from their opening 17 games in the top-flight. Sean Dyche’s side has won just one game all season, coming against Brentford back in October.

Since then, the Clarets have struggled to find a good run of form as they only managed four draws since that win over Brentford.

A game against Watford could be the opportunity Burnley so much need to pick up their best run of form with interesting fixtures lined up for them.

After the game against Watford, the Clarets face Norwich City, West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion in their next three games.

Watford’s draw over the weekend means they are just a point above the relegation zone and Ranieri would have a lot of work to do if he does not sort out the challenges in his team.

WHERE AND WHEN?

Venue: Turf Moor
Date: Tuesday, January 18
Time: 19:30 GMT

TEAM NEWS

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If Burnley are struggling, it’s quite understandable as Dyche’s team have had some notable injury concerns. Going into the game against Watford, the team could be without Johann Gudmundsson, Nathan Collins, Dwight McNeil, Charlie Taylor, Erik Pieters, Connor Roberts and Matej Vydra. Maxwel Cornet’s absence is due to the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations while Ashley Barnes will also sit out.

Watford on the other hand also have injury concerns in their team. Kwadwo Baah and Ismaila Sarr are out due to injuries while the AFCON has taken the attention of William Troost-Ekong, Adam Masina and Imran Louza.

MATCH ANALYSIS

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Burnley may have won their last three games against Watford across all competitions with the Hornets winning only one (one draw as well), but Tuesday night’s fixture is far from the past games we have seen. Both teams seem to be struggling but Watford have fared better as compared to the Clarets.

Watford have failed to score a goal in the last three games against Burnley but that could be about ending following the likely involvements of Joshua King and Emmanuel Dennis with Pedro supporting them in the attack. The trio have been directly involved in 24 league goals already this campaign and have been the driving force for Watford. Pedro was in sight against Newcastle but the game against Burnley will need all three firing if Ranieri’s side are to walk away with the maximum points.

Burnley losing Chris Wood is a huge blow but it would now be the turn of the defence to help the team considering the departure of a key goalscorer for the rest of the season until a replacement can be brought into the team in time.

POSSIBLE STARTING XIs

Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; McNeil, Westwood, Cork, Gudmundsson; Rodriguez, Lennon

Watford: Foster; Femenia, Cathcart, Samir, Kamara; Sissoko, Kayembe, Kucka; Dennis, King, Pedro

MATCH PREDICTION

Burnley 1-2 Watford












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Aston Villa January Transfer Window 2022: Analysis

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Aston Villa fans are getting their hopes high for all the right reasons, it seems. As the new Villa manager, Steven Gerrard, has gone all guns blazing in the winter transfer window so far.

The Liverpool Legend is slowly making his way back into the Premier League. This time as a manager of an out of confidence Villa side. The early days have not been that telling for Gerrard though. But for sure it is looking a development in progress from Villa’s perspective. The Claret and Blue faithful are pretty much accepting the style of play that their new manager has brought with him.

Although, all of the developments were ongoing. Gerrard was still looking to add some fresh new faces to his squad through this transfer window. And so far as it turns out it has been a saving grace for the Lions. And the Villa fans could be hopeful for some more signings as the team looks to get back on track.

Coutinho returns to the PL

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In the blink of an eye it happened, and it is the dream duo back together! Coutinho and Gerrard reunite, but this time for a new outfit. Gerrard has made his intentions clear, after signing Coutinho on loan from Barca till the end of the season. The deal saw the Villa fans, as well as the Liverpool faithful around the globe appreciate the move. Although, it had been 4 years since the little magician left Premier League for Spain.

Aston Villa faced Manchester United in the Match day 22 of the Premier League. It is the 68th minute, Villa are 2 goals down and you can see some of the fans already leaving the Villa Park. On comes the Brazilian from the bench to mark his return in front of thousands of Villa fans, hoping for a masterclass from their main winter signing. What happened next is just football at its most beautiful.

But you just knew it had to be him. Coutinho returns the backing by an equivalent player of the match performance. Scoring and assisting upon his return to the English top tier football, and that too against Manchester United. You just cannot write such scripts.

If this return is anything to go by, then this is surely the beginning of something very major being about to happen at Villa Park. The Claret and Blue could be in for a treat if the Brazilian performs consistently throughout the rest of the season.

MUST READ: How will Coutinho fit in at Aston Villa

Digne, the answer to defensive woes?

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Digne in French means ‘worthy’. Lucas Digne was surely worthy of being handed his debut, just after getting transferred here to Villa Park. The Frenchman made the most out of the runout, and did not fail to impress his new gaffer. Steven Gerrard could take a big sigh of relief by his sudden signing, in this creative left back from the rivals at Merseyside. As per the recent changes are concerned, the signing of the French full back just increases the competition in the squad. Matt Targett’s position has come under an obvious threat, by the addition of the in-form Digne.

But at the same time it just ensures a healthy competition in the squad for the place in the playing XI. As a manager you want your players to give their best, game in game out. But you also need to make some strong changes to just let them know that their place in the squad is not invincible, even though they have not been performing up to the billing.  Luckily for the Villa fans the Frenchman comes in buffed with experience and a lot of skill-set to offer. Gerrard’s system requires a strong a flank play. That Villa were missing. Now with the addition of Lucas Digne, it looks all sorted. But we will still have to wait and see how this deal turns out in the long term.

In hindsight the transfer market for The Lions  have surely been eventful. Although, they will be watched keenly over the coming months, as to how things are shaping up. But given a good balance, and some terrific new signings, Villa could be a side to beat as we come to the business end of the Premier League season.












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Burkina Faso vs Ethiopia: Match Preview

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Burkina Faso were gifted a lifeline to stand a chance of qualifying from Group A after beating Cape Verde in their second group game in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.

The Stallions will now face Ethiopia in the last group game on Monday, January 17 as they looked to cement their place in the knockout stages.

Hassane Bande was the match-winner in the game against the Blue Sharks as Burkina Faso recorded a 1-0 win to earn their first three points.

Ethiopia’s tournament seems all over following a demolishing defeat to host nation, Cameroon in their last game. The Walyas were on the receiving end of the first four-goal scored in the competition as braces from Karl Toko Ekambi and Vincent Aboubakar ensured a 4-1 victory for the Indomitable Lions.

The last group game is crucial for Burkina Faso considering they are levelled on points with Cape Verde, who face Cameroon in their last game.

WHERE AND WHEN?

Venue: Kouekong Stadium.
Date: Monday, January 17.
Time: 16:00 GMT.

TEAM NEWS

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Burkina Faso have a number of injuries to worry about ahead of the important clash against Ethiopia. Captain, Bertrand Traore is yet to recover from testing positive for coronavirus. He missed the win over Cape Verde last week and will see out this game as well. Dango Ouattara, Saidou Simpore and Soumaila Simpore are doubtful for the game but their presence has not been ruled out.
Bande, who came in and scored as the replacement for Traore should keep his place in the team for the game against Wubetu Abate’s side.

The one-time  AFCON champions have no injury concerns for the upcoming game while Yared Baye, who received a red card in the opening game is set to return to the team after serving his game ban. With no chance left, Abate will look to give opportunities to some players who are yet to receive any appearance in the competition.

PRE-MATCH ANALYSIS

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Burkina Faso stands out as favourites in this game but they will have a lot to do to get past Ethiopia with ease. A tactically disciplined side, Ethiopia’s lack of goals has been due to their failure to take their created chances. Abate’s side have put on a good show in their opening two games, creating openings and clear cut opportunities but failing to take them.

Burkina Faso were clinical with their only big chance against Cape Verde, and if that feat will be followed, they could be gaining six points from three games. Traore’s absence may be a worry, but it should Kamou Malo’s team the needed confidence to play collectively on the attack.

PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYER FEATURE

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Aston Villa may not be missing Bertrand Traore after all following their return to Premier League action saw them record a dramatic 2-2 draw with Manchester United. However, on the path of the player, he may not be having a spot tournament. The 26-year-old has just one appearance and will miss the third group game due to testing positive for covid. With regards to goal contribution, Traore has just one assist and a knockout qualification could see him return to action.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Burkina Faso: Koffi; E.Tapsoba, Yago, Dayo, Kabore; Toure, Guira, Sangare; A.Tapsoba, Bayala, Bande.

Ethiopia: Shanko; Yusef, Tamene, Debebe, Hamid; Yohannes, Alemu, Dagnachew; Nesir, Hotessa, Gebremichael.

MATCH PREDICTION

Burkina Faso 2-0 Ethiopia












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