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Nigeria vs Sudan: Match Preview

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The second round of fixtures continues on Saturday when Nigeria take on Sudan and Premier League News Now takes an enlightening look at what to expect ahead of this Group D game in this year’s Africa Cup of Nation.

Nigeria take on Sudan after a 1-0 victory over Egypt in the group opener as a win would automatically book a place in the knockout stages for them. For Sudan, all three points would be vital but a draw against the super eagles would be far from a disappointing result considering the fact that they drew their opening game against Guinea Bissau.

WHERE AND WHEN?

Time: 4pm GMT.
Date: January 15.
Venue: The Stade Omnisport Roumde Adjia in Yaounde.

TEAM NEWS

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Captain Ahmed Musa could get a run out for the Super Eagles although their attacking line impressed. Indeed, in tournament football, it’s important to keep players fresh ahead of the knockout rounds and perhaps they can afford to rotate.

Nigeria could do without the services of former Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo, who was stretchered off the pitch through a 79th-minute injury against Egypt last time out. His replacement Semi Ajayi, who plays for West Bromwich Albion in the Championship, could start and team up with William Troost-Ekong in the middle of defence.

For Sudan, there are no major changes expected. Al-Gozoli Nooh will be one of few pushing for a starting role and the Al-Merrikh forward could come in for Yasin Hamed, who struggled to make his mark last time out before coming off in the 66th minute

PRE-MATCH ANALYSIS

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After an entertaining game in what was a mesmerizing performance from the super eagles against the Pharaohs of Egypt, Nigeria come into this game confident that they have what it takes to lift up their fourth trophy as African champions as a win over Sudan would have them book their place in the knockout round of the competition.

Nigeria fired 15 shots against Egypt and were really impressive from defence to attack as they managed to keep Mohammed Salah out of the game. Kelechi Iheanacho’s half volley was Enough for a victory.

They emphatically stated that they can attack but converting their created chances or finding the final pass was quite disappointing on their part. Only a goal from 15 shots with just five on target. Rangers Midfielder Joe Aribo was quite impressive on the night as well as Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester and they will look to have the same control for Nigeria in midfield against Sudan. Moses Simon was absolutely incredible down the left-wing and so was Taiwo Awoyini of Union Berlin who played right behind Kelechi Iheanacho for the most part of the game.

This two will be very hard to contain for Sudan defenders and Sudan goalkeeper Ali Achrine will have to be even better than he was in their opening game against Guinea Bissau if Sudan stands a chance of getting anything out of this game.

The physicality of the tournament has not gone unnoticed. 15 fouls on the part of Nigeria in their opening game and penalties have been awarded to many teams already in the tournament. A foul against Sudan to give them (Sudan) the lead through a spot-kick would make the game very difficult for them.

Out of the six corners Nigeria had in their opening game, they failed to convert any into the back of the net. This is a major concern for Nigeria and Coach Augustine Eguavoen will be making his team know they have to improve in that aspect of the game.

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After a 0-0 draw against Guinea Bissau on Tuesday, Sudan approaches the second round of fixtures against a well-drilled Nigerian side.

Sudan made a squad overhaul right before the tournament and although they find themselves in a tough group with the super eagles and the Pharaohs of Egypt, a win or point could boost their chances of making it to the knock out stages before the final group games are played.

Goalkeeper Abu Eshrein’s penalty save in the last ten minutes against Guinea Bissau earned the team a crucial point to revive their ambitions in this year’s tournament.

The Secretary Birds sacked former boss Hubert Velud last month after a disappointing performance in the Arab Cup where they conceded 10 goals and failed to score across their three games.

Mohamed Abdelrahman went closest for Sudan, forcing a good stop from Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Maurice Gomis on the stroke of half-time. Creating clear cut chances have been a major problem for Sudan and against Nigeria, they would have to play at their upmost best to increase their hopes of qualifying to the next round of the competition.

Ten shots with just four on target for Sudan. They are yet to score in this edition of AFCON and the 1970 winners have a huge task ahead of them on Saturday

PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYER FEATURE

Wilfred Ndidi ( Leicester City)

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A great holding midfielder who reads the game magnificently. Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester is one to watch on Saturday when Nigeria take on Sudan. A key player for the foxes and a huge blow to Leicester Manager Brenden Rodgers, Wilfred Ndidi had a great game against Egypt. He controlled the pace of the game in midfield for the Super Eagles against Arsenal’s Mohammed Elneny. Together with Joe Aribo in midfield against Sudan, Nigeria have the game wrapped around their own fingers as they look to book a place in the next round of the competition.

Kelechi Iheanacho ( Leicester City)

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After an impressive game against Egypt on Tuesday, Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho approaches Saturday’s game against Sudan looking to find the back of the net in consecutive games. The Leicester forward who scored twice and assisted four times in the premier league this season before joining Nigeria in this competition is in blistering form and his positioning off the ball is a major concern for opposition defenders.

A half volley against Egypt secured all three points for Nigeria in their opening game and Kelechi is definitely one to watch on Saturday against the secretary birds of Sudan

Predicted Lineups

Nigeria predicted XI: Maduka Okoye, Temitayo Ola Aina, Trost Ekong (C), Kenneth Omeruo, Zaidu Sanusi, Joe Aribo, Wilfred Ndidi, Samuel Chukueze,  Moses Simon, Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoyini.

Sudan predicted XI: Ali Abu Eshrein, Saeed Elfadni, Salah Nemer (c), Mustafa Karshom, Alnour Mohamed, Abbas Omer, Khidir, El-Rasheed, Omer Yagoub, Hamed, Yousif.

MATCH PREDICTION

Nigeria 2-0 Sudan

         












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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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Premier LEague

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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