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Wolves vs Southampton: Match Preview

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On Sunday afternoon, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton will face off in the Premier League, with Wolverhampton Wanderers hosting Southampton at Molineux. Wolves are in eighth place in the table, with 28 points from 19 league games this season, while Southampton are in 11th place, four points beneath their hosts.

Wolves have been gradually collecting up points for some time now, with Bruno Lage’s side presently eighth in the rankings, just three points below seventh-placed Manchester United, thus they may be regarded in the top-four hunt.

The Wolverhampton outfit have managed to pick up seven points from their last three league games, with victories against Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United, as well as a point shared with Chelsea at home. Wolves have also advanced to the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, after defeating Sheffield United 3-0, with Lage’s side scheduled to face Norwich City in the following round in early February.

The hosts have triumphed over Southampton in their last two meetings, including a 1-0 victory at St Mary’s early in the season, in which Raul Jimenez scored the game’s only goal. Wolves finished a mediocre 13th in the league last season, but Lage has generated a strong impact in his first season in charge, and a win on Saturday would improve their European ambitions.

Southampton, on the other hand, will be coming off a 4-1 win over Brentford on Tuesday night, which took them up to 11th place in the Premier League table. Saints have endured their problems this season, but they are presently 13 points away from the drop and only four points behind eighth-placed Wolves, so Saturday’s match is crucial for both teams.

In all competitions, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad is undefeated in their past five games, drawing with Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur in the league, defeating West Ham and Brentford in the FA Cup, and defeating Swansea City 3-2 on January 8.

Southampton, on the other hand, will face Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United in their next three league games. The Saints have struggled to find stability on the road this season, collecting  just nine points from eleven games, although they did overcome Wolves in the FA Cup last season at Molineux.

WHEN & WHERE?

Venue: The Molineux.
Date: Saturday, 15th of January 2022.
Time: Kick-off at 15:00 BST.

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee: Michael Salisbury.
Assistant Referees: Darren Cann, Simon Long.
Video Assistant Referee: Robert Jones.
Fourth Official: Andre Marriner.

TEAM NEWS:

WOLVES:

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Wolves will be without two of their first choice center-backs in Willy Boly and Romain Saiss, as they represent their respective nations at AFCON. They will also remain without Yerson Mosquera, Pedro Neto, Hwang Hee-Chan and, Jonny Castro as they are all sidelined with injuries.

With Daniel Podence and Trincao certain to line up behind Jimenez, Adama Traore, who has been linked with a move away from Molineux, is uncertain to be selected for a start in the final third.

In midfield, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho are both in fine form, while Saiss’ unavailability at the back could allow Leander Dendoncker to play in a three-man defense.

SOUTHAMPTON:

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Southampton will be without Valentino Livramento and William Smallbone owing to illness, while Kyle Walker-Peters is a concern due to COVID-19.

Moussa Djenepo is absent owing to his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations, while Alex McCarthy is a doubt due to a thigh injury. However, Armando Broja should be able to start despite a head ailment.

Last time out, Che Adams came off the bench to strike against Brentford and might possibly start in the final third, although Hasenhuttl is anticipated to remain in his 3-5-2 shape.

MATCH ANALYSIS

A battle for the European spots?

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Wolves have been silently gaining back their momentum and are on track to repeat the heroics of the 2019/20 season where they finished 7th in the Premier League table and went on to qualify for the subsequent season’s Europa League quarter-finals.

Bruno Lage has helped manage the Wolves to a newfound stability in their shape and has also heavily improved their defensive numbers when compared to the other teams in the league. While they might have scored the second-least amount of goals in the league, they have also conceded the second-least amount of goals this season. They are just a win away from occupying the seventh spot and could surely be on their way to yet another successful year in the Premier League.

Southampton, meanwhile, are on a run of their own. They have not lost in their past four league games and are in the eleventh spot on the table. They are however just four points away from Wolves and the matchup this weekend should nonetheless be interesting as it will be a cagey tactical battle between two defensively solid, 442-influenced managers. However, this does seem like a game where both the managers are likely to employ a more attacking approach with Lage using his trusty 3-4-3 and Hasenhüttl using a 3-5-2.

KEY PLAYERS:

WOLVES – MAX KILMAN:

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With Willy Boly and Romain Saiss both out on international duty while representing their nations at AFCON, the main defensive responsibility falls on Conor Coady, Leander Dendoncker, and Max Kilman. Kilman, however, has been the standout performer out of this Wolves team.

The 24-year-old can be considered one of the main reasons for the Wolverhampton outfit’s defensive resilience and compactness this season. Kilman has performed his duties as a wide center-back extremely well and has helped Wolves maintain a healthy defensive record of just 14 goals conceded in the league this season.

SOUTHAMPTON – JAMES WARD-PROWSE:

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James Ward-Prowse has become quite the household name when talking about the best midfielders in the league bar the ‘big six’. The 27-year-old has nailed down the box-to-box role that he has been asked to play since Hasenhüttl’s appointment and now can definitely be considered one of the best midfielders in England.

An exceptional dead-ball specialist, Ward-Prowse, has now also been asked to provide more upfront and he has done exactly that. The Englishman has scored five goals and assisted two in eighteen league games this season. It will be interesting to see how Wolves, a solid team when it comes to defending set-pieces, fend off the threat posed by James Ward-Prowse’s extraordinary dead-ball talent and the Saints’ underrated attack.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Wolves (3-4-3): Sa; Dendoncker, Coady, Kilman; Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Marcal; Podence, Jimenez, Trincao.

Southampton (3-5-2): Forster; Bednarek, Lyanco, Salisu; Tella, Diallo, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Perraud; Adams, Armstrong.

         












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Premier LEague

Cameroon vs Comoros: Match Preview

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A much-anticipated game that sees the hosts and considerable favourites to win this year’s edition of the African Cup of Nations, Cameroon come up against Comoros in the round of 16 in Yaounde. Cameroon emerged victorious over Burkina Faso and Ethiopia and found the back of the net against Cape Verde in a one-all draw to top Group A with seven points.

Skipper Vincent Aboubakar netted five goals to equal a tournament scoring record for the Indomitable Lions.
On the other hand, Comoros handed a huge blow to the black stars’ chances of qualification after an intense 3-2 win which saw Ghanaian Captain Andre Ayew sent off in the first half.

After losing their first two group games to Morocco and Gabon, Comoros’ victory over the black stars saw them progress into the knock out stages as one of the best third-placed teams.

TEAM NEWS

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Cameroon have no major injuries and suspensions moving into this fixture and will look to take full advantage on the pitch with the unfortunate COVID 19 positive cases in the Comoros camp. Africa Cup of Nations giant-killers Comoros face a goalkeeping crisis before the biggest game in the country’s history on Monday.

The tournament debutants face hosts and five-time champions Cameroon in Yaounde on Monday, Unfortunately, 12 positive Covid cases including coach have struck the team. Seven players have been affected, including the two remaining fit keepers in the squad, Moyadh Ousseini and Ali Ahamada, with first-choice Salim Ben Boina out through injury. The absence of coach Abdou will be a huge blow to the side after his impressive work on this team since taking charge in 2014 and overhauled the squad. A major key to their successes.

Comoros will hope the injury of Ben Boina will not be considered extreme, considering the fact that the number one goalkeeper had to leave the field after a red-card challenge by Ghana captain Andre Ayew in Tuesday’s Group C tie.

WHEN & WHERE?

Date: 24th January, 2022
Time: 7:00 PM GMT
Venue: Olembw Stadium

PRE-MATCH ANALYSIS

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After completing a 2-1 comeback over Burkina Faso on the opening day, Cameroon went on to beat Ethiopia 4-1 in their next game. The Indomitable Lions ended their last game in a 1-1 draw against Cape Verde in their final group stage clash. With the nation’s support right behind their backs, hosts (Cameroon) look like a very tough side to beat and one of the favourites to win this competition but have many aspects of their game to improve if their hopes to cling onto the title is to be fulfilled.

Skipper Vincent Aboubakar has been absolutely vital to their current position and qualification into the knockout stages. Top scorer of the tournament on five goals and a forward who clearly understands what positioning and movement around the oppositions’ box, Aboubakar seems to be soaring and will look to find the back of the net against Comoros on Monday night. Napoli midfielder Frank Zambo Anguissa has also put in an incredible performance in terms of energy and control of the game in midfield for the hosts. On loan from Fulham, Anguissa looks to stamp his place on this tournament and an impressive performance looks likely when Cameroon takes on Comoros on Monday.

In defence, Michael Ngadeu Ngadui of Genk has found control over the back with Andre Onana in goal. Despite their efforts, the indomitable lions have conceded in every game they’ve played in the competition and this is a major concern for Antonio Concecào. On the left side of defence and attack for the indomitable lions, Nouhou Tolo has been absolutely impressed with his performance in the group stages after he replaced Abroise Oyongo in the team. Driving with enormous pace down the left flank, his overlapping runs and defensive positioning will be key against Comoros on Monday night.

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Facing Comoros seems like the favourable route to the last eight in the competition. Lyon’s Karl Toko Ekambi has also been impressive while Bayern’s Choupo Moting struggles to make his mark on the tournament. With Toko Ekambi, Choupo Moting, and Aboubakar in attack, it will be almost impossible for Comoros to not get behind on Monday night. Comoros have qualified for the knockout stages of the AFCON in their very first appearance in the tournament. They now look to pull more surprises in this tournament and the key to that mission will be upsetting the hosts Despite losing their first two games and failing to score in both encounters, a 3-2 win over Ghana was enough to secure a last 16 slot as one of the best third-placed sides in the group stage.

Comoros are one of the surprise sides to the last 16 of the competition. They have already made a mark in this tournament by knocking four-time winners in the black stars out of the competition. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that they will beat Cameroon considering their number of players out. Without finding the back of the net in any of their opening two games, Comoros scored thrice against the black stars of Ghana which saw them book a place into the next round of the competition.

A major turning point that facilitated their victory was the first-half red card to Ghanaian skipper Andre Ayew which saw them hit on the break as often as possible and eventually find the needed three points with a man as an advantage. Though this tournament has taught us to expect the unexpected it is obvious that Comoros will not get past the Indomitable lions and will crush out of the competition in the round of 16.

Pierre Kunde alongside Andre Zambo Anguissa and Vincent Aboubakar are ones to keep a close eye on in this highly anticipated fixture.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Cameroon Predicted XI (4-3-3): Andre Onana; Collins Fai, Jerome Onguene, Michael Ngadeu, Nouhou Tolo; Samuel Oum Gouet; Nicolas Moumie Ngamaleu, Pierre Kunde, Andre Zambo Anguissa, Karl Toko Ekambi; Vincent Aboubakar

Comoros Predicted XI (4-4-2): Ali Ahamada; Said Bakari, Younn Zahary, Kassim M’Dahoma, Benjaloud Youssouf; Faiz Selemani, Youssouf M’Changama, Fouad Bachirou, Ahmed Mogni; Mohamed M’Changama, El Fardou Ben

MATCH PREDICTION

Cameroon 2-1 Comoros












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Klopp Regards Star Centre Back Van Dijk In the Reds transition to title challengers

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Liverpool News: Liverpool’s January month mostly revolved around the absence of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane. Their competent defense lineup of the club, led by Van Dijk, was also in news. Taking all the fixtures into consideration, only Shrewsbury striker Daniel Udoh has scored against the Anfield club in January till now.

It looks like Liverpool will be able to survive back from the most threatened period in their current campaign. With the help of Diogo Jota, the Reds were able to score two goals against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup semi-final. Jurgen Klopp might now claim that he has found out the replacement for Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.

However, even Klopp knows that the Reds are now more dependent on the defense of the team and specifically Van Dijk. Liverpool defense has become a strong foundation for the team and will be crucial in the upcoming fixtures. Liverpool is known for the level of aggressiveness they bring on the ground in every match.

Their win over Crystal Palace in December 2020 is still not forgotten. The Reds’ score decimated the opposition with 0-7 and the score would have haunted the hosts for a long time. When it comes to the question of defense, Klopp believes his side is more cautious than kamikaze. “It was 100% clear that we need to be rock solid,” he says. “Maybe you don’t see it all the time, but we are defending first.”

Liverpool News: Klopp Regards Star Centre Back Van Dijk In the Reds transition to title challengers

Van Dijk for the Reds

Van Dijk has turned out to be the most crucial player for the club in recent times. Looking back to 2020, Dijk was not at all present for the team. He suffered a ligament injury in October 2020. Klopp gave him his time to cope with that injury and the player made a good comeback from it.

In the current season at first, he missed two crucial games because of a positive Covid report. However, the Dutchman has played a strong role in all the 19 matches he has been part of. Klopp has shown his belief in Dijk and expressed trust in players’ intelligence and adaptability.

Liverpool is currently at number two in the Premier League point table. They are 12 points below the league leaders Manchester City. To end their league title camping successfully, they will have to win some crucial away games.

Liverpool News: Klopp promises to get Real Madrid Star

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool Boss, has expressed his interest in Real Madrid star Eduardo Camavinga. According to reports, the boss is trying to convince Anfield Management to get the midfielder to the Premier League.

Liverpool News: Van Dijk Has Become Liverpool's Rock
Liverpool News: Van Dijk Has Become Liverpool’s Rock

Camavinga has already been let go of by Real Madrid. The reason was only the less game time for the youngster. On a lot of occasions, the player already expressed frustration with the club. For Madrid, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro are the go-to players in most of the fixtures.

The 19-year-old made the move to the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer for a reported fee of £27.9million from Ligue 1 club Rennes. According to reports by journalist Daniel Nielson, the player is the most elite class footballer at the time of his transfer.

Nielson has also claimed that Liverpool is interested in Camavinga and he is available for £50million with Florentino Perez looking to make a profit on the player.



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Guinea vs Gambia: Match Preview

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What an exciting tournament it has been for Gambia in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. Gambia came into the tournament as one of two debutants but their performances in the group stage have earned them a spot in the last 16 of the tournament, where they face Guinea.

Guinea finished second in Group B, despite losing their last game in the group stage. Kaba Diawara’s men earned four points in their opening two games against Malawi and Senegal before suffering defeat to Zimbabwe. The Syli Nationals managed just two goals in their games while also conceding two.

Compared to Guinea, Gambia were unbeaten in the group stages of the competition, winning two games and drawing the other. The Scorpions were joined in Group F by Mali, Tunisia and Mauritania – advancing into the knockout stages with the first two.

Gambia are aware the game against Guinea will be quite different compared to the ones they have had to deal with in the group stage. While history has already been made, the Scorpions will love to continue writing a nice fairytale in Cameroon. Tom Saintfiet could forever be in the history books of Gambia should they manage to pull this off.

Guinea are also on a search for their first continental trophy and a win over Gambia could be the beginning of their dreams.

WHERE AND WHEN?

Venue: Kouekong Stadium.
Date: Monday, January 24.
Time: 16:00 GMT.

TEAM NEWS

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Toulouse midfielder, Issiaga Sylla played 88 minutes of action against Zimbabwe before being forced off due to an injury. The 28-year-old is a doubt for the round of 16 tie against Gambia. Diawara made changes to his starting line-up in the final group game. However, his strongest team should be available for selection on Monday, January 24. Mohamed Bayo and Josse Kante should return to the starting line-up to face Gambia.

For Saintfiet, there are no injury concerns for him heading into the fixture. However, he will have some selection headache following the performance of some of his fringe players who got the chance to feature in the final group game. Albie Jallow came off the bench to score a last-gasp winner against Tunisia and could be in line for a starting berth.

MATCH ANALYSIS

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Considering this is the first-ever appearance at the continental showpiece for Gambia, this match – a knockout game means a lot to them than it means for Guinea. The Scorpions have been the surprise package in the competition and it was quite an interesting feat finishing level on points with Mali while also beating Tunisia to the second spot.

Their fluid attack and compact defence has been key to where they have gotten to in this competition and should they keep their heads cool, a place in the quarter-final could be closer than they imagined.

Guinea have been far from convinced in the three games they have played, although the game against Senegal proved to be deciding moments for them. They have not been able to control games as much as they would like like to since the narrow win over Malawi.

PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYER FEATURE

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Premier League fans and Liverpool fans will be keeping an eye on Naby Keita, who has scooped two Man of the Match awards so far in the tournament. The midfield dynamo’s best performance came in the game against his clubmate, Sadio Mane while he also scored his first goal of the tournament in the loss to Zimbabwe. Progressing to the next round means he is not available for Liverpool for at least the next two games.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Guinea: Keita; Cisse, Sow, Conte, Sylla; Moriba, Diawara, Keita; Bayo, Guilavogui.

Gambia: Jobe; Touray, Gomez, Colley, Jagne; Colley, Marreh, Adams, Barrow; Jallow, Ceesay.

MATCH PREDICTION

Guinea 0-1 Gambia












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