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Premier LEague

Morocco vs Malawi: Match Preview



After the shock exit of Nigeria and the elimination of Gabon, the Round of 16 continues – the battle for the continental trophy is getting keener by the day.

This time 1976 AFCON winners, Morocco come up against Malawi. Morocco will be seeking to win their 2nd Africa Cup of Nations title in 18 attempts , their first in 46 years. Malawi, on the other hand, have managed to make their 3rd AFCON appearance( the other two being 1984 and 2010).

After missing the last 5 AFCON tournaments, the Flames of Malawi are back with a bang. They have qualified to the knock-out stage of the AFCON for the 1st time in their footballing history. A huge task lies ahead of them, beating the Atlas Lions of Morocco who are seeking for a 46 year trophy drought.

Morocco, currently ranked 28th in the world and 2nd in Africa faces a Malawian team ranked 35th in Africa and 128th in the world. This a case of David vs Goliath. With the results the tournament has churned out so far, any “David vs Goliath affair” tends to produce surprising outcomes.

Equatorial Guinea beating Algeria, Sierra Leone holding Ivory Coast and Algeria to a draw, Gambia beating Tunisia and Comoros beating Ghana are typical examples.

These results are a portent to Morocco not to be complacent and lose focus like the Super Eagles did against Tunisia as it may cost them their place.

Morocco are the team to beat at the African Cup of Nations so far, especially with the strong defensive performances having kept clean sheets in two of their three games. The Atlas Lions of Morocco beat Ghana 1-0 in their opening game and defeated Comoros 2-0 in the next game before drawing 2-2 with Gabon.

After returning to Africa’s continental showpiece for the 1st time since 2010, Malawi stole a point from Senegal and staged a comeback against Zimbabwe and eventually defeated Guinea to qualify to the next stage. The Flames came through the group stages as one of the highest-ranked third-placed teams at the AFCONS and are enduring a miserable return in front of goal having failed to score goals in two of their three outings and may bow out of the tournament this week.

For Malawi, a case for respite is the fact that at the last AFCON in 2019, Morocco was eliminated by Benin, a lower-ranked side. Since finishing as runners-up in 2004, the Atlas Lions of Morocco have made it to the quarter-finals only once(in 2017).

That should jolt the Flames into shocking the Atlas Lions. Morocco’s 2-2 draw with Gabon is also an indication that victory is not far fetched.

The Flames are currently on a 2 game unbeaten run while 6 of Morocco’s last 8 AFCON victories have ended in 1-0.


Venue: Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, Yaounde
Date: 25th January 2022
Time: 19:00 HRS BST


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Ilias Chair, the attacking midfielder came off injured early in Morocco’s game against Gabon. The QPR player is the player who is doubtful for the Atlas Lions ahead of Tuesday’s game.

For Malawi, Captain Limbikani Mzava came off injured against Zimbabwe and is expected to miss Tuesday’s clash. The central defender is the only injury concern for manager Mario Marinica.

Lawrence Chaziya will be expected to be in his stead.


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Malawi have tried the 3-4-1-2 formation on 2 occasions against Guinea and Zimbabwe. However, in the final group game, they also implemented the 4-4-2 formation against Senegal. It is fair to say the formation worked to perfection and will be maintained a very potent Moroccan attack.

The 4-4-2 formation will provide the Malawians with a solid basic structure with defensive depth and attacking numbers, with clearly marked roles. In defence, the Malawians will have eight men defending the goal which will, in turn, make it numerically impossible for the Moroccans to threaten the goal.

Without the ball, the four defenders and four midfielders will cover the entire width of the field. The Moroccans will really need to be creative and resort to long through balls to wreak havoc on the Flames.

For Morocco, they have experimented with the 4-1-4-1 formation and it seems to be what Head Coach Vahid Halilhodžić will be employing against the Flames. Sofyan Amrabat will be the holding midfielder for the Moroccans who will have about 5 players in attack.

For the Atlas Lions to triumph over the Flames, they will need Selim Amallah, Imran Louza, Sofiane Boufal and Ayoub El Kaabi to be firing from all angles. Amalgam, Boufal and Ayoub El Kaabi have already got their names on the scoresheet for the team already and will be seeking to add more to their tallies.

The 4-1-4-1 is supposed to cushion the team into creating a lot of chances, holding on possession and controlling the game.


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Romain Saïss

The Wolverhampton Wanderers Centre back has featured in all 3 games so far, keeping 2 clean sheets against Ghana and Comoros. He has been defensively solid for the Atlas Lions and will be expected to bring his experience to bear.

Adam Masina

Watford‘s Masina has also been solid for the Moroccan team featuring actively in all 3 matches and will be in the thick of affairs for the team.


MOROCCO: Yassine Bounou; Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd, Adam Masina; Sofyan Amrabat; Tarik Tissoudali, Selim Amallah, Imran Louza, Sofiane Boufal; Ayoub El Kaabi

MALAWI: Ernest Kakhobwe; Denis Chembezi, Lawrence Chaziya, Gomezgani Chirwa; Francisco Madinga, John Christopher Banda, Chimwenwe Idana, Stanley Sanudi; Gabadinho Mhango; Richard Mbulu, Khuda Muyaba


Morocco 2-0 Malawi

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Premier LEague

Norwich City vs Tottenham: Preview





Norwich City host a raring Tottenham Hotspur side this weekend as the Premier League 2021/22 season draws to a close this Sunday. Having offered up an intriguing fight for the title, a place in the top-four, and a mouth-watering clash to avoid relegation going into the final weekend, gameweek 38 is expected to emerge as a major determinant for various clubs’ prospects heading into the summer transfer window.

Currently bottom of the table, having already been relegated, Norwich City will be looking to dampen Spurs’ hopes of securing top-four on Sunday. Although having secured only a point from their last five league outings, the Canaries will be hopeful of delivering a cheerful performance; remaining keen on gaining promotion back to England’s top-tier league next season.

With only two points separating them and North-London rivals Arsenal, Antonio Conte’s side will be desperate to avoid dropped points on Sunday. Having not lost a game in their five league outings heading into the weekend, Spurs remain the outstanding favourites for top-four, however, remaining wary of their tendency to succumb under pressure during pivotal moments in the club’s recent history.


Venue: Carrow Road.
Date: Sunday, 22nd of March 2022.
Time: Kick-off at 16:00 BST.


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Dean Smith will be without the services of Ozan Kabak, Mathias Normann, Josh Sargent, Kenny McLean, and Christoph Zimmermann on Sunday. Additionally, the likes of Andrew Omobamidele and Adam Idah are ruled out of the tie against Spurs.

Smith is expected to field the same line-up that succeeded in gaining a point against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend. Teemu Pukki remains the frontrunner to lead the line on Sunday, with Brandon Williams and Milot Rashica the two players likely to push for a starting spot against Spurs.

Antonio Conte is expected to field his strongest XI in hopes of avoiding any hiccups on Sunday. Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp, Matt Doherty, and Sergio Reguilon remain out of contention for the season finale while Cristian Romero will be hoping to recover in time from a hip injury in hopes of retaining his spot in the starting line-up this weekend.


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With an opportunity to improve their standings in the league table on the cards for both sides, Sunday’s mouth-watering encounter is likely to produce an intriguing watch for the neutral. Keen on salvaging a result and with nothing to lose, Norwich will be unafraid to take the game to the visitors on Sunday, while Spurs are expected to retain control of possession and dictate the game this weekend.

Having evidently lacked in quality as a result of the board’s failure to invest in the squad following their promotion, Norwich City remain the underdogs going into the tie. With Arsenal likely to pin all their hopes on the Canaries securing three points in hopes of moving into fourth place in the league table, Norwich will be looking to secure a prosperous result amidst playing with liberty and pressuring the opposition on Sunday. Although plagued with injuries, Dean Smith’s side will be looking to showcase their best in breaking Spurs’ formidable mid-block defensive system whilst finding hope in physically imposing themselves on the visitors this Sunday.

On the other hand, having secured crucial points since Conte’s appointment, Spurs will be desperate to secure Champions League football next season. Amidst the likeliness of the Italian manager’s preference to seek a different job in the summer, Spurs will be keen on cementing their place in Europe’s elite competition in a bid to retain Conte’s services ahead of next season. Having grown increasingly convincing and consistent in executing the manager’s ideas on the pitch, Spurs will be looking to keep a clean sheet whilst seeking three points on Sunday. With the Canaries having conceded a goal in each of their last seven league outings, Spurs will be hoping to avoid dropped points as they look to build a trophy-challenging squad for Conte to preside over in the summer.



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Having netted a crucial goal that sealed a point for the Canaries last weekend, Pukki’s tendency to find space between the centre-halves is likely to trouble Spurs this weekend. Although in the driving seat heading into the fixture, the visitors will be wary of the Finnish international’s ability to find goals at crucial junctures, although having kept consecutive clean sheets ahead of the game on Sunday.


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Only a goal behind current-top scorer Mohamed Salah (22) in the race for the golden boot, Son will be looking to improve his tally of goals on Sunday. Having been vital to the team’s results since Conte’s appointment, the South Korean’s overall ability in providing goal contributions amidst being an omnipresent threat on the pitch remains a potent weapon to be utilized by the visitors on Sunday. Additionally, having registered six-goal contributions in his last five league outings, Heung-min Son is likely to play a pivotal role in determining the result this weekend.


Norwich City (3-4-2-1) – Tim Krul; Sam Byram, Grant Hanley, Ben Gibson; Max Aarons, Billy Gilmour, Mathias Normann, Brandon Williams; Jonathan Rowe, Milot Rashica; Teemu Pukki.

Tottenham Hotspur (3-4-2-1) – Hugo Lloris; Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier, Ben Davies; Emerson Royal, Rodrigo Bentancur, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Ryan Sessegnon; Dejan Kulusevski, Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane.

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Brighton vs West Ham: Match Preview




It’s the last matchday in the Premier League with still a lot to play for with the title race, UCL places, UEL places, Conference League places and the relegation places yet to be decided. As the league heads into its final fixture, West Ham travels to the South coast to take on Graham Potter’s Brighton & Hove Albion.

Brighton are having a blistering end to their season with the Seagulls losing only once in their last 8 games having defeated Arsenal, Tottenham and Man United in this unbeaten streak. They are on course for a 10th placed finish this season and a win or a draw against David Moyes’ Europe chasing Hammers will do the job for them. West Ham United on the other hand are 2 points behind Manchester United in 6th and will look to take all 3 points from Brighton to clinch a Europa League berth sending the Red Devils to next season’s Conference League.

The clash at the Amex Stadium has really all the ingredients to be an interesting watch with both the home team looking to finish the campaign with a win in front of their supporters while the visiting team looking to play in the Europa League once again next season.

When and Where?

Date: 22nd May 2022.
Time: 3:00 PM (GMT).
Venue: Amex Stadium, Brighton.

Team News

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Graham Potter will be without Jeremy Sarmiento and Jakub Moder who are out with injuries. Tariq Lamptey, Adam Lallana and Adam Webster made a cameo in the last match off the bench and could be in contention to start for the Seagulls. Enock Mwepu is expected to return from injury and also be in contention to start on Sunday.

Michail Antonio was subbed off in West Ham’s last game against Manchester City and is set to remain on the sidelines for the game at Brighton. Benrahma is expected to be back in the starting XI having missed the game against Man City due to an injury. Moyes is expected to field a strong XI to do the job and hopefully secure a Europa League spot for next season.

Match Analysis

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Brighton have deployed a 3 at the back system for the majority of the season with yet another impressive season in the top flight. Graham Potter has played an integral role in his team’s improvement this season with the Seagulls set to finish 10th  (depending on Brentford and Newcastle’s result )or 11th, their highest finish since their promotion to the top flight in the 2019/20 season. Unexpected wins against Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United have proved that the Seagulls are capable of defeating the big boys in the league. The rampant 4-0 win against Manchester United was certainly the best performance under Graham Potter. Ralf Rangnick’s men had no answers to the problems Brighton caused them which saw the Red Devils put their Europa League qualification into further jeopardy. Potter’s men haven’t been at their best at home with only 1 win in their last 9 games.

David Moyes certainly will have to go all guns blazing for this fixture with the chance to once again compete in the Europa League next season. This season’s campaign in the competition saw the Hammers bow out of the semi-finals against Eintracht Frankfurt who went on to win the trophy. The visit to Brighton will not be easy with both the teams sharing the spoils in the reverse fixture in December.

Key Players

Jarrod Bowen

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The Englishman is having his best season in the Premier League with 12 goals and 12 assists this season. The winger has been key to his team’s attack and stepped up remarkably when Michael Antonio was injured for a lengthy period mid season. Bowen has certainly drawn attention from England manager Gareth Southgate and with the World Cup just around the corner, a potential call up for the 25 year old could be on the cards.

Marc Cucurella

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The 23-year-old has been sensational under Graham Potter with the Spaniard winning the club player of the season and players’ player of the season. He has hit the ground running in the Premier League after his move from Getafe in the summer. His versatility has been put to good use by Potter with the 23-year-old playing as a Left Wing Back and Left Center Back for the Seagulls this season. Jarrod Bowen vs Cucurella on the wings would be a fierce battle on the wings and it would be interesting to see who manages to come out on top.

Predicted XIs

Brighton(3-4-3): Sanchez, Cucurella, Dunk, Veltman, Trossard, Lallana, Bissouma, Lamptey, Trossard, Allister, Welbeck.

West Ham(4-2-3-1): Fabianski, Coufal, Zouma, Dawson, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Bowen, Lanzini, Benrahma, Yarmolenko.

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Premier LEague

Twist in the tale for Liverpool’s bid for Fabio Vieira




The Reds face a major blow in their chase to sign Vieira, as the Portuguese outfit has reported that ‘Liverpool’s first right of refusal with Porto‘ doesn’t exist.

The Porto attacking midfielder has been in sublime form, scoring 6 goals while assisting another 14 goals in the Primeira Liga this season. Vieira was one of the key players in his team’s title winning campaign, this term. So much so, that the 21-year-old Portuguese midfielder caught eyes of the several big European teams.

While Arsenal had been monitoring the player’s development for some time, Liverpool were said to have been in the driving position to land the player at Anfield.  According to the several reports from the Daily Mirror, The Reds reached to an agreement with Porto that allowed them to have the “first refusal” on Vieira.

But, it seems that there is a twist in the tale, as a Portuguese news outfit namely: O Jogo, has provided further more clarity into the whole situation.

According to these reports, Porto FC are not looking to sell either Vitinha or Vieira, in the coming summer transfer market. Moreover, no side have made forward offers for any of the players. This means that, Liverpool have not reached the agreement with the Portuguese side regarding the First refusal of Vieira.


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Meanwhile, on the contrary to the Daily Mirror claims, O Jogo confirmed Vieira’s actual release clause to be £42.3m and not £12.7million. This could a huge report coming in from Portugal, as the release clause does not look in the budget of Liverpool’s scheme of things.

Having already spent an initial fee of £37m for the purchase of Diaz, it does not look sensible from the Reds point of view to pay more way more than that for a player who has not played outside of Portugal.


Given the recent developments in the saga, I don’t think Liverpool are going to pay this huge sum for the midfielder. And rightly so! Vieira is good, don’t get me wrong, but we do not need to pay a crazy amount like that given there are other players in the same position, of same age group, who will be costing much less.

The Reds have already reached an agreement with Fulham, that would see Fabio Carvalho at Anfield before the start of the next season. Adding to this, the Red Merseysiders are heavily linked to another wonderkid in Calvin Ramsay. So with all of these moves, I think we should not go for any more players, and look to focus on the contract renewal of the players like Keita, Mane, Firmino and Salah- who are into their last year of the contract with the Reds.

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