Premier League Clubs Given Green Light For Return Of Fans

premier-league-fixtures-today
The Premier League was put on hold since mid-March due to COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: Twitter/Premier League.

 

Liverpool, Chelsea, Brighton and West Ham will be able to allow fans into their stadiums next month under a new tier system to tackle the spread of coronavirus in England.

The Premier League clubs are within tier-two areas, meaning clubs can welcome up to 2,000 fans.

The Premier League is yet to confirm the scheduling for matches to be played over the weekend of December 5 and 6.

Brighton will host Southampton, Chelsea are at home to Leeds, champions Liverpool take on Wolves at Anfield while West Ham could welcome fans to the London Stadium for the visit of Manchester United.

They would be the first top-flight matches to be attended by fans since the Covid-19 crisis took hold in March.

The other matches will be played in tier-three areas, where fans are still not allowed.

English Football League chairman Rick Parry said his competition was considering whether to switch next Tuesday’s matches to Wednesday if any of the home clubs were able to allow fans in after the general lockdown period ends.

The government had been set to allow supporters back into sports venues in limited numbers from October 1, but scrapped the plans after a rise in coronavirus infection rates nationwide.

Arsenal’s Europa League match at home to Rapid Vienna on December 3 could be the first European tie involving an English club to welcome fans.

AFP

Aguero Won’t Be Rushed Back, Says Guardiola

Manchester City’s Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero warms up during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on November 21, 2020. NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP

 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he will not rush Sergio Aguero back into action despite his side’s lack of goals in the Premier League.

City’s record goalscorer was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Tottenham as he nears a return from his latest injury problem.

The 32-year-old Argentine missed the end of last season and the start of the current campaign after undergoing knee surgery in June. He has since had another lay-off after suffering a hamstring injury last month.

City have scored just 10 goals in eight top-flight matches this season, though their strike record in Europe is more impressive, with nine goals in their three games.

“We want him to come back to training again so he can recover a good feeling in his knee, this is the most important thing,” Guardiola said on Tuesday.

“We wait for him and take it one step at a time. We have many, many games to play this season and we’ll need him. What we want is him to recover in his best condition.”

City travel to Greece on Tuesday ahead of their Champions League Group C match at Olympiakos on Wednesday.

After winning their opening three matches, victory would secure their place in the last 16, leaving them free to focus on improving their Premier League form.

City have dropped points in five of their eight games so far and are languishing in the bottom half of the table, eight points behind leaders Tottenham.

“One step at a time,” said Guardiola, who last week extended his contract until 2023.

“We’ll try to get through (Wednesday) to qualify and at the same time, recover, come back with good feelings that we can create chances and score goals.”

Captain Fernandinho has recovered from gastroenteritis and could feature while left-back Benjamin Mendy is also back in contention after injury.

AFP

Liverpool Set New Club Record, Extend Unbeaten Home Run To 64 Matches

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 22, 2020. Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP
Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 22, 2020. Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP

 

 

Liverpool shrugged off an injury crisis to move level on points with Tottenham at the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Leicester to set a new club record of 64 unbeaten league games at Anfield.

The champions were without the injured Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while top scorer Mohamed Salah was absent due to a positive coronavirus test.

READ ALSO: Arsenal’s Barren Draw With Leeds Takes Arteta’s Team To 11th On The Table

Yet, Jurgen Klopp’s men were still imperious in easing past a Leicester side that had started the weekend on top of the table.

The Foxes did not do themselves any favours when Jonny Evans turned James Milner’s corner into his own net to reward Liverpool’s bright start.

Diogo Jota then became the first ever Liverpool player to score in his first four home league games with a downward header from Andy Robertson’s cross.

File photo: Liverpool’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara (C) warms up before the English Premier League football match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on October 17, 2020. (Photo by Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP).

 

Only a combination of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and the woodwork kept Liverpool from a repeat of the 4-0 thrashing they dished out to Leicester when the sides last met in December.

READ ALSO: Tottenham Show Title Credentials Against Toothless Man City

But Robert Firmino then rounded off a fine night for the champions with a towering header from another Milner corner six minutes from time.

“Playing them like that tonight, I do not take for granted,” said Klopp. “The boys were on fire.”

AFP

We Beat Man City By Strategy, Says Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian midfielder Giovani Lo Celso (R) reacts with Tottenham Hotspur’s French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (C) after the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on November 21, 2020. (Photo by NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Tottenham coach, Jose Mourinho has said his players’ commitment and their ability to follow through a strategy, ensured victory over Manchester City in a Premier League clash on Saturday. 

“The players gave everything and followed a strategy. They were amazing,” Mourinho said. “We found a way to play and it was magnificent to see them play how they did.”

Tottenham powered to the top of the Premier League with an impressive 2-0 win against Manchester City, while Chelsea are up to second place after their victory at Newcastle on Saturday.

Manchester United remain well off the pace in ninth but did manage a first home win in the Premier League for seven games as Bruno Fernandes’s twice-taken penalty saw off lowly West Brom 1-0.

Spurs end the day on top of the table for the first time in six years as goals from Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso saw off a toothless City at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Tottenham took the lead after five minutes as Son ran onto Tanguy Ndombele’s lofted pass, beat the City offside trap and slotted a cool finish under Ederson for already his 11th goal of the season.

City dominated possession but struggled to create chances and were cut open again for Spurs’ second with just their second shot on target.

Lo Celso came off the bench to score just 35 seconds after his introduction as he raced onto Harry Kane’s sublime pass to slot past Ederson.

On the one-year anniversary of Jose Mourinho’s appointment, Tottenham are unbeaten in their last eight league games since losing to Everton on the opening weekend, sparking hopes of a genuine title challenge.

Tottenham, who last won the top-flight title in 1961, lead Chelsea by two points with the two set to face each other next weekend.

City are languishing in 11th place, eight points behind the leaders, albeit with a game in hand.

Pep Guardiola extended his contract at the Etihad to 2023 this week, but his side look a shadow of the swaggering outfit that won successive league titles in 2018 and 2019.

Twelve points from eight games is City’s lowest total at this stage of a Premier League campaign since 2008-09.

“We had more chances than them but we lost. Mourinho’s teams are like this, you make a mistake and they punish you on the counter attack,” Guardiola said.

– ‘Stay humble’ –
Chelsea maintained their fine form as Federico Fernandez’s first-half own goal and Tammy Abraham’s strike sealed a 2-0 win at St James’ Park.

Frank Lampard’s side are unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and have not lost in their last six league matches.

With five clean sheets in their last six outings in all competitions, Chelsea’s third successive league victory was the perfect way to start a hectic period leading up to Christmas.

The visitors’ pressure was rewarded in the 10th minute when Mason Mount whipped in a low cross and Fernandez turned it into his own net under pressure from Ben Chilwell.

Chelsea put the result beyond doubt in the 65th minute when Timo Werner accelerated away from the Newcastle defence and slipped a pass to Abraham, who guided his shot in off the post.

“I won’t get excited about being top of the table for five minutes,” said Lampard. “It’s important to be humble and know it’s a long race.”

United still have a long way to go to claw themselves back into title contention as they again flattered to deceive at Old Trafford despite picking up a long-awaited win.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men got two slices of penalty fortune as West Brom were awarded a spot-kick first early in the second-half when Fernandes challenged Connor Gallagher.

However, on review, referee David Coote overturned his original decision.

Moments later, the Red Devils got a penalty for Darnell Furlong’s handball.

Fernandes’s first effort was saved, but he got a second chance as Sam Johnstone had jumped off his line prior to the Portuguese international’s kick.

Fernandes slammed home the reprieve, but was still not happy at missing from the spot for the third time this season.

“Ok, I scored the second one but I need to score the first one,” he said. “Three points is the most important thing but we know we can do much better and we will do for sure.”

Earlier, Aston Villa missed the chance to go top for a few hours as Brighton ended a run of seven games without a win with a 2-1 victory at Villa Park.

Solly March scored the winner after Ezri Konsa cancelled out Danny Welbeck’s opener.

AFP

Manchester United Confirm Cyber Attack

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrives back on the pitch for the second half of the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on January 7, 2020. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Cybercriminals targeted Manchester United’s IT systems in a “sophisticated” hacking operation, the club said.

“The club has taken swift action to contain the attack and is currently working with expert advisers to investigate the incident and minimise the ongoing IT disruption,” it said in a statement late Friday.

All “critical systems” required for games to take place at Old Trafford were secure, the statement said, adding Saturday’s game against West Bromwich Albion would go ahead as planned.

“We are not currently aware of any breach of personal data associated with our fans and customers,” it added.

“These type of attacks are becoming more and more common and are something you have to rehearse for,” a spokesman for the club told the PA news agency.

United are languishing in 14th in the Premier League table and a fine start to their Champions League campaign took a knock with a 2-1 defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir.

AFP

Safety Shooters Win 2020 Handball Premier League

Players and coaching staff of Safety Shooters in a group photograph after emerging league champions. Credit: Handball Federation of Nigeria

 

Safety Shooters are the new champions of the Prudent Energy Handball Premier League 2020.

The Federal Road Safety Corps male team defeated Plateau Vipers 30-23 on matchday 13 to ensure they maintain their lead on the standings with 30 points above Kano Pillars who despite defeating De Defenders 22-14, managed 26 points to finish second.

Seasiders Boys of Lagos are in third with 26 points but with lesser goal difference than Kano Pillars after they comfortably defeated COAS Shooters 42-31 in a match that tested their quality.

Borno Spiders have been relegated from the league 2020 after losing to Confluence Stars 34-21 while Rima Strikers continue to improve on their quest to get into the top three as they defeat Delta Force 31-24.

That result secured relegation for Delta Force.

Despite the terrible start of Niger United, managed to stay in the league on 9th position after beating Kada Stars 28-22

A champion is yet to emerge in the women’s category. But Edo Dynamos are now leading league standing despite losing 34-43 to the league’s surprise package, Adorable Angels.

The result confirmed Safety Babes will not retain their title as they are now second.

In other results, Imo Grasshoppers defeated Desert Queens 23-17 while Seasiders Babes secured their place in the league despite losing 29-28 to Kada Queens.

Matchday 13 Results

Men’s Category

Plateau Vipers 23 Safety Shooters 30

COAS Shooters 31 Lagos Seasiders 42

De Defenders 14 Kano Pillars 22

Delta Force 24 Rima Strikers 31

Niger United 28 Kada Stars 22

Borno Spiders 21 Confluence Stars 34

Women’s Category

Imo Grasshoppers 23 Desert Queens 17

Edo Dynamos 34 Adorable Angels 43

Kada Queens 29 Seasider Babes 28

Premier League ‘Can’t Give Blank Cheque’ To Lower-League Clubs: CEO

Photo Credit: Premier League

 

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said on Tuesday there could be no “blank cheque” to bail out the English Football League (EFL) despite the financial crisis engulfing clubs.

The top-flight is in negotiations with the EFL over a financial package to ensure no sides go out of business due to the coronavirus pandemic, though an agreement has yet to be reached.

England’s lower-league clubs, forced to play their matches behind closed doors, last month rejected an offer from the top-flight of a £50 million ($66 million) rescue package.

EFL chiefs said the bailout, which would have covered clubs in third-tier League One and fourth-tier League Two was insufficient and insisted outfits in the second-tier Championship should also be included in any offer.

“The Premier League has engaged and wants to seek resolution but there can’t be a blank cheque or an underwriting of losses,” Masters told lawmakers on the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

“We believe our proposal is appropriate and goes to the heart of the problem and is in line with government policy on how it deals with other sectors.

“We believe we are stepping up and helping the pyramid of football. We have yet to reach an agreement with Rick (EFL chairman Rick Parry) but I am confident we can do that.”

Masters said the Premier League could make money available immediately to ensure clubs “don’t suffer distress or get to the point of administration”.

“We are huge supporters of the pyramid and understand its importance,” he added.

Parry said he hoped a deal could be agreed by the end of the month.

Asked by committee chairman Julian Knight whether that would be the case, Parry replied: “I think now we have a commitment that the Championship is going to be embraced we can move forwards. We sincerely hope so.

“We would very much like to come to a deal with the Premier League.”

Masters confirmed the Premier League would be “changing direction” away from the controversial decision to broadcast several games behind an additional paywall.

“We took a decision to move to pay-per-view and now we are reviewing that decision,” Masters said.

“We have listened to feedback, we will be changing direction and moving away from it and taking another step that will see us through lockdown, the Christmas period and into January. I can’t announce what it is.”

Leicester Go Top Of Premier League As Vardy Tames Wolves

Leicester City’s English striker Jamie Vardy strikes the ball but fails to score from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on November 8, 2020. Rui Vieira / POOL / AFP

 

Leicester moved to the top of the Premier League as Jamie Vardy’s penalty earned a 1-0 win against Wolves on Sunday.

Vardy netted from the spot in the first half at the King Power Stadium and, although the striker had a second spot-kick saved by Rui Patricio, the hosts held on for their third successive Premier League victory.

Brendan Rodgers’ side, who have won six in a row in all competitions, are one point clear of second-placed Tottenham, who had gone top with a win at West Bromwich Albion earlier on Sunday.

Liverpool will replace Leicester in first place if they beat Manchester City later on Sunday.

Whether Leicester finish the weekend in pole position or not, Rodgers will be delighted with his team’s start to the season.

They have shrugged off the pain of missing out on Champions League qualification on the final day of last season and look capable of challenging for a top four finish again.

 

Leicester City’s Austrian defender Christian Fuchs (L) vies with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Spanish midfielder Adama Traore (R) during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on November 8, 2020. Tim Keeton / POOL / AFP

 

“Everything about the game was very good and we should have been more than one goal up,” Rodgers said.

“Our football was outstanding against a very good side. You’re not always going to have it all your own way. The more we work together the more we are able to deal with that pressure.

“We had real challenge in this first part of the season with the players we had out, so to win nine of 11 in all competitions. The team have been fantastic.”

– Penalty duel –
Vardy was recalled after being rested for Thursday’s Europa League win over Braga.

Suitably refreshed, Vardy needed just 15 minutes to get on the score-sheet.

Dennis Praet’s cross hit Max Kilman on the hand in the Wolves area and referee Anthony Taylor awarded a penalty after consulting the pitchside monitor.

Vardy stepped up to calmly send Rui Patricio the wrong way from the spot for his ninth goal of the season.

It was the 33-year-old’s fourth goal in his last four appearances.

Leicester had only lost one of their previous 45 Premier League games when scoring the first goal at the King Power Stadium.

Vardy should have doubled the lead in the 39th minute when Wolves defender Rayan Ait Nouri took a heavy touch in the area and tripped James Justin in a panicked attempt to clear the danger.

Vardy drove his effort down the middle, but Rui Patricio saved and the rebound hit the striker before bouncing just wide.

Marc Albrighton came on for the Foxes at half-time and the winger’s fist contribution nearly brought a goal as Youri Tielemans headed narrowly wide from his cross.

Vardy’s fierce strike forced a superb tip-over from Rui Patricio before Wolves finally threatened when Pedro Neto’s shot was saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

Leicester’s James Maddison had a deflected effort that almost crept in, but Wolves substitute Adama Traore nearly set up Raul Jimenez for an equaliser in a frantic finale.

Schmeichel preserved Leicester’s lead with a brilliant save after Ruben Neves unleashed a blistering shot from the edge of the area.

Neto passed up a golden opportunity to equalise when he side-footed wide from close-range in the final minutes.

AFP

Premier League: Chelsea Trounce Sheffield To Go Third

Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner (R) celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with Chelsea's English striker Tammy Abraham (L) during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge in London on November 7, 2020. Chelsea won the game 4-1. Mike Hewitt / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s German striker Timo Werner (R) celebrates scoring his team’s fourth goal with Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham (L) during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge in London on November 7, 2020. Mike Hewitt / POOL / AFP

 

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea came back from a goal down to comfortably beat Sheffield United 4-1 on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

Goals from Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, and Timo Werner were enough to cancel out David McGoldrick’s ninth-minute opener for Sheffield United.

Chelsea are beginning to pick up the pace after their expensive summer rebuild and are now just one point behind Southampton and Liverpool, who play Manchester City on Sunday.

Lampard’s side, now unbeaten in six Premier League matches, went behind early at Stamford Bridge when McGoldrick’s neat flick put Sheffield United in front.

But they hit back quickly, with England forward Abraham slotting home from Matteo Kovacic’s cutback and Chilwell put Chelsea into a 2-1 lead just past the half-hour.

Brazilian veteran Silva bagged his first Chelsea goal to put the Blues 3-1 up before Werner blasted past Aaron Ramsdale to put the home side in total control.

Nigeria’s Ola Aina Scores Stunner As Fulham Sink West Brom

Ola Aina was part of the Nigerian team that won bronze at the 2019 AFCON. Photo: [email protected] FC

 

Super Eagles defender, Ola Aina was on the scoresheet as Fulham beat West Brom 2-0 in a Premier League clash on Monday. 

Scott Parker’s side avoided their worst start to a season since 1951 thanks to first half goals from Decordova-Reid and Aina at Craven Cottage.

Fulham deservedly ended a run of six games without a win — a dismal stretch including five defeats — since their promotion from the Championship last term.

The Cottagers had lost all three of their previous home games this season, but their first success in west London lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Third bottom West Brom are still chasing a first win since returning to the top-flight last season.

With just three points from their opening seven league games, West Brom have made their worst start to a campaign since 1985-86, failing to win any of their opening seven games for the first time since 2004-05.

Fulham went ahead in the 26th minute through Decordova-Reid.

Antonee Robinson fired in a cross from the left to an unmarked Aleksandar Mitrovic at the far post, who nodded across goal before the ball was turned in by Decordova-Reid.

Four minutes later, Fulham doubled their lead when Nigerian defender Aina blasted his shot past Sam Johnstone from the edge of the area.

AFP

Guardiola Defends Aguero Over Contact With Female Assistant Referee

Manchester City’s Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero (3L) is substituted by Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (2L) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on October 17, 2020. Alex Livesey / POOL / AFP

 

Pep Guardiola backed Sergio Aguero after the Manchester City striker was criticised for putting his arm on the shoulder of assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Arsenal.

Aguero disputed a throw-in call which went against him early in the second half of the Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

After arguing his case with Massey-Ellis, Aguero briefly put his arm around the female assistant referee’s shoulder as she began to walk away.

The Argentine star, playing his first game since June after knee surgery, was criticised on social media and his former team-mate Micah Richards said on Sky Sports that Aguero should “know better”.

Under rules introduced in 2016 players can be cautioned or sent off for touching match officials depending on the nature of the incident.

But City’s all-time record scorer went unpunished and in his post-match press conference, Guardiola told reporters: “Come on guys. Sergio is the nicest person I ever met in my life.

“Look for problems in other situations, not in this one.”

AFP

Chelsea’s Bakayoko Undergoes Napoli Medical Before Loan Move

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 19, 2018 Chelsea’s French midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko looks on during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England.  Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Chelsea’s French international midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko arrived in Rome on Sunday for a medical ahead of a loan move to Napoli, according to multiple media reports in Italy.

The 26-year-old spent last season on loan at Ligue 1 side Monaco, having played for AC Milan during the 2018-2019 season, then coached by Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso.

Bakayoko, who joined Chelsea in 2017 after three seasons with Monaco, will undergo medical tests in the Italian capital before a one-season loan move.

Napoli are expected to take on two million euros ($2.3 million) of the player’s annual 3.5 million salary, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport.

Bakayoko, who has one cap for France, will join up with his new teammates on Monday morning.

AFP