Denis Suarez Set To Debut In Arsenal, City League Clash

 

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery is ready to throw new signing Denis Suarez in at the deep end by handing him his club debut at Premier League champions Manchester City.

The Gunners travel to the Etihad Stadium for Sunday’s match after a quiet transfer window saw them recruit Suarez on loan from Barcelona until the end of the season.

The 25-year-old, who made two senior appearances for City during an earlier spell at the club, was the only arrival for Arsenal, who were hamstrung by a lack of funds for permanent signings.

The loan deal includes the option to sign Suarez full-time in the summer as the Spain international links up with Emery again, having played under his compatriot at Sevilla.

“I will make my decision tomorrow but if he starts I have confidence in him,” Emery said when asked if Suarez would go straight into the Arsenal team on Sunday.

“I know the player and he started to train individually yesterday. Today he was with the group. It’s good, his adaptation has been quick.

“He’s a player with quality and I think he can help us with his quality and also his ambition to do something important here. It’s a good challenge for him to help us.”

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Victory for Manchester City would see them close to within two points of league leaders Liverpool, who travel to West Ham a day later.

Pep Guardiola’s side were Emery’s first opponents in English football as they ruined his debut by winning 2-0 at Arsenal in August.

Emery is expecting another difficult test but said his players were keen to show their abilities against such strong opponents.

“It will be a tough match — we are playing against the best,” he said.

“Now, with Liverpool, they are doing a very big Premier League this season. Maybe they have lost some matches but that is an accident.

“When they are home for us it is difficult. But we want to show everybody we can play. Every player has a big ambition to show their best quality.”

While Suarez is in contention to make his debut, Emery has also been handed a boost by the news that captain Laurent Koscielny is back in training after a jaw injury.

AFP

Bournemouth New Recruit Solanke Facing Delayed Debut

Liverpool’s English striker Dominic Solanke attends a training session and media day at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north west England. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Dominic Solanke may have to wait until February to make his Bournemouth debut because of a hamstring problem, manager Eddie Howe said on Saturday.

Howe insisted the Cherries were well aware of the 21-year-old’s injury prior to signing the 21-year-old striker from Premier League rivals Liverpool for £19 million ($24 million) on Friday.

“Dominic will miss most of January I would say, because he’s got a bit of a hamstring issue,” said Howe, after Bournemouth lost 3-1 to fellow south coast top-flight side Brighton in the third round of the FA Cup at the Vitality Stadium.

“It will be more February before we’re likely to see him in action, but we knew about that because he’s been through all the medicals and checks.

“He adds a slightly different dynamic to our front line. He can hold the ball up in play, he’s technically gifted, has a good physical presence and all-round he’s a very good player.”

AFP

Madagascar To Make Debut At AFCON Finals

 

A file photo of AFCON trophy

 

Madagascar won a place at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament for the first time when they triumphed 1-0 at home against Equatorial Guinea in Group A on Tuesday.

Thailand-based midfielder Njiva Rakotoharimalala scored the only goal four minutes before half-time on the huge Indian Ocean island.

The victory lifted the ‘Barea’ (prized cattle) to 10 points from four games and beyond the reach of Equatorial Guinea and Sudan in a four-team mini-league from which the top two qualify.

It was the second 1-0 victory for the Malagasy over the Equatoguineans within four days after captain Faneva Ima Andriatsima scored the winner in West Africa last Saturday,

Madagascar is the first country apart from hosts Cameroon to secure a place at the biennial African football showcase, with the 2019 edition set for June 15 to July 13.

They qualified despite having to play a preliminary tie, won 4-2 on aggregate against Sao Tome e Principe, and being seeded fourth behind Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, and Sudan.

Senegal will also secure a place among the 24 finalists if they defeat pointless Sudan in Khartoum later Tuesday.

Qualification for the Malagasy came after 18 failed attempts since 1970, with French coach Nicolas Dupuis drawing players from Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The standard starting side includes four footballers based in France, one each in Algeria, Belgium, Egypt, Reunion, Saudi Arabia and Thailand, and one local.

Previously unknown in Africa, Dupuis took charge in March 2017 and has transformed Madagascar from traditional whipping boys to a team that held Senegal last month.

AFP

Ronaldo Jr Outshines Dad With Four Goals On Juve Debut

 

Nothing is going right for Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo since his summer move to Italian champions Juventus.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who lost out to Luka Modric for the UEFA Player of the Year award during the week, drew another blank for a third straight Serie A game on Saturday as he chases his first goal for his new club.

Liberated by his departure his former Real Madrid teammates have gone on a goal spree and now he has even been outshone by his son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr, who scored four goals in his debut for Juventus’s Under-9 team.

Wearing the number 7 of his famous dad, eight-year-old Ronaldo Jr scored a brace in either half in a 5-1 win against Lucento, watched by Ronaldo‘s partner Georgina, according to media reports in Italy on Sunday.

Ronaldo has failed to score in his first three competitive games for Juventus, including Saturday’s 2-1 win at Parma with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in the stands.

Real Madrid are not suffering following the exit of their record all-time goal scorer, earning three wins from three games after thrashing Leganes 4-1 on Saturday thanks to Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

“Three more points! Good teamwork,” Ronaldo tweeted after Saturday’s game in Parma as his team sealed maximum points from three games courtesy of goals by World Cup stars Mario Mandzukic and Blaise Matuidi.

“He (Ronaldo) played a great game, put in a lot of effort, but unfortunately he did not find the net,” said Matuidi, who netted the winner.

“He wants to score and we’ll help him to do so, because he’s very important for this team.”

Coach Massimiliano Allegri added: “Italian football presents different problems and it takes time.

“He’s not getting the rub of the green at the moment either – the ball is not bouncing right for him or he’s shooting just off target.

“We’ll all be fresher after the break and that’s when the real season starts.

“The individual joys will come.”

The 33-year-old’s next chance to break his duck will be in Turin against Sassuolo on September 16 after the international break.

Ronaldo has been left out of European champions Portugal’s squad for the Nations League and friendly matches in the next week at his own request to focus on Juventus.

AFP