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Liverpool vows to give lifetime ban after flame throw

Timothy Aiyeku

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liverpool

Merseyside outfit Liverpool have made a decision to hand a lifetime ban to anyone who is found to have thrown flare into the stadium during the Sunday’s 2-0 win over Chelsea.

The Reds team had defeated West London outfit Chelsea earlier on Sunday and that led to their return to the top of the league table with two points clear.

Liverpool fans could not hold their feeling and chanted songs about the Stamford Bridge side which is perceived to be offensive.

Although the Reds team condemned the actions by some few fans but they appreciated the players and the club officials for protecting the Blues team when they visited the Stamford Bridge.

This act has been condemned by the Reds management as they stated that they will make move by the fans as their actions have resulted in a nine-year-old boy receiving treatment.

However, the Merseyside outfit are reported to be investigating the incident and will bring the perpetrators to book.

Meanwhile, the Reds team are hoping that they can secure a win in the remaining four games left to the end of the season as they hope to secure their first English Premier League title in 29 years.

Timothy Aiyeku is a Mass Communication graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He is a sports, everything football analyst.

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EPL

Potential Replacements For Outgoing Odion Ighalo At Manchester United

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Odion Ighalo

Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo is almost helpless as his Manchester United dream is set to come to an end after some months. The former Super Eagles star is on the verge of returning to parent club Shanghai Shenshua in the Chinese Super League as his loan deal at the Theatre of Dreams ends in a matter of days.

Ighalo wants to stay on at the Premier League club but the two teams have not been able to reach a conclusion to this effect. Manchester United want the striker to complete the current season with no obligation to sign him permanently, while Shanghai Shenshua are adamant that the Red Devils will have to sign the player if they want to retain his services beyond the May 30 expiration date for his loan transfer to Manchester United as agreed between the two clubs when Ighalo became a Red Devil at the end of January.

Odion Ighalo has been able to fulfil a lifelong dream of playing for Manchester United at the age of 30 and he has also done well more than expected with a return of four goals in just three starts. Age is however not on his side which is the main reason behind Manchester United’s reluctance to sign him on a permanent deal. The target for Manchester United is to sign a younger striker this summer leading us to possible striker targets to replace Odion Ighalo at the club:

1. Timo Werner – He has scored goals for fun in the German Bundesliga this season including a hattrick during the 5-0 thrashing of hosts Mainz 05 at the weekend. The RB Leipzig star now has 24 league goals.

2. Moussa Dembele – The Frenchman has been the subject of a €70m bid from Manchester United according to earlier reports. The Lyon striker is also a target for rivals Chelsea.

3. Harry Kane – The Spurs player would be the first choice on the list of potential replacements for Odion Ighalo if he’s made available for a transfer.

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Arsenal

Will Arsenal Pull Off The Philippe Coutinho Deal This Summer

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Philippe Coutinho

In the last 24 hours, Arsenal have surprisingly emerged as the favourites to sign Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho in the summer. This has led to the question on whether stingy Arsenal and owner Stan Kroenke can pull off a deal for Coutinho who’s the third most expensive player in the history of the round leather game.

Barcelona splashed the cash on Philippe Coutinho in January 2018 to make him the most expensive player behind Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, both of French champions Paris Saint Germain (PSG). Around £142m was the transfer fee for the player but he has not been able to repay that money mainly due to his poor performances for the majority of the last two years.

His Barcelona outings were not encouraging for 18 months and that led to him being loaned to Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga. Coutinho has stepped up his form in Germany but that has not convinced the Bavarian giants to make his loan move a permanent one.

With Bayern Munich reluctant to sign Coutinho permanently, the player has to find a new club this summer and Arsenal have emerged as a potential destination. Barcelona are prepared to cut their losses on the player by selling him for a fee much lower than what they paid Liverpool for his services.

Before now, Chelsea were considered to be the front-runner for his signature but that has cooled off in recent weeks. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is also interested in Coutinho having worked with the player during his time as the Liverpool boss but the Brazilian is not keen on the idea of joining the Foxes this summer.

Arsenal have already held discussions with Coutinho’s agents to show their seriousness in signing the player and this development has led to club fans wondering how they will pull off a transfer that would definitely be expensive including his wages. In addition, Arsenal and other big European sides have seen their income badly affected by Coronavirus. It’s only a matter of time before we find out whether the Coutinho to Arsenal transfer is for real or just like the other ‘could have been’ transfers before now.

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Chelsea

Chelsea: Top Three Players Earmarked For New Squad Numbers

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard deserves some accolades for the way that he has been able to introduce a lot of the young players into regular first team football at the club. Several football stakeholders had their reservations about Lampard and how he will thrive in his first big job as a professional football manager but he has been able to prove the doubters wrong in his first season as the Blues boss.

Lampard is very popular amongst the Chelsea supporters having enjoyed a hugely successful playing career with the club. He holds the record for the most goals in a Chelsea shirt even as a midfielder.

The ex-England international was very impressive in his first managerial job at Derby County last season and that prompted his elevation from the English Championship to the Premier League after just one season with the Rams. His appointment coincided with a transfer ban imposed on the Blues for breaching rules on the transfer of young players and this left Frank Lampard with just old players plus young players to work with for the current season. Lampard has been able to get the best out of these young players from leading goalscorer Tammy Abraham to teen midfielder Billy Gilmour to teen right-back Recce James and many more.

Some of these young players have been lined up for new squad numbers as from next season which will kick off in few months time. Here are the top three players earmarked for new squad numbers:

1. Reece James – The England junior international has made the right-back spot his own at Chelsea. He currently wears the jersey number 24 at the club.

2. Fikayo Tomori – The Chelsea no. 29 has been able to establish himself as one of the four centre backs at the club upon his return from a successful loan spell at Derby County last season.

3. Billy Gilmour – The young midfielder wears jersey number 47 and he’s the youngest player on the Chelsea first team.

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EPL

What Man United Will Miss If Ighalo Leaves On May 30

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Odion Ighalo

Lifelong Manchester United supporter Odion Ighalo could leave the club at the end of May as talks over the extension of his loan deal at Old Trafford continues to stall. His parent club Shanghai Shenhua of the Chinese Super League and the Red Devils have not been able to reach an agreement over an extension for the ex-Super Eagles attacker.

Ighalo was handed a remarkable opportunity to fulfil his dream of playing for boyhood club Manchester United in January 2020 when the Red Devils secured a four-month loan deal for him from Shanghai Shenhua. He was seen as the short-term replacement for star forward Marcus Rashford who had a long-term injury as at then.

His loan transfer to Manchester United was heavily criticised by fans and stakeholders but the player was able to silence his doubters with impressive performances on the pitch before Coronavirus struck and caused football to be suspended. Odion Ighalo scored four goals in just three starts for his new club including a memorable strike in the 5-0 away win at LASK Linz of Austria in the first leg, Europa League round of 16 clash.

Football was suspended in March until recently when leagues like the German Bundesliga and the Korean league resumed activities once again. The Premier League is also preparing to resume football as from next month and that could be without Ighalo.

His Chinese club wants him back as they prepare for the resumption of the Super League. Shanghai Shenhua are open to a permanent deal for the player but Manchester United prefer a loan extension till the present season ends. On his own part, Ighalo’s preference is to continue to play for his dream club either on loan or permanently.

Manchester United are reluctant to negotiate a permanent deal for 30-year-old Ighalo with the club keen to sign a younger striker this summer. The situation is likely to end with Ighalo’s exit from Manchester United on May 30. What will the club miss if he leaves.

1. Goals – Odion Ighalo has been very prolific in his short time at the club and his goals would certainly be missed.

2. Plan B – The Nigerian striker was seen as a Plan B when he signed for the Red Devils on loan and the club will definitely miss that. No other Manchester United attacker has the aerial prowess that Odion Ighalo offers.

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Arsenal

Is It Time For Alexander Lacazette To Find A New Club?

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Alexandre Lacazette

One of the biggest news on the transfer front in recent days is the revelation that Arsenal are open to the idea of letting striker Alexander Lacazette. As reported by several reliable news portals, the Gunners are open to an offer for the player this summer thus leading to the question: ‘If this is the right time for the player to move on from Arsenal after three years’.

Lacazette was the record signing when he moved to Arsenal from Lyon at the start of the 2017/18 campaign. The Gunners spent around £46m to secure his signing shortly after his move to Atletico Madrid fell through mainly due to the transfer ban on the part of the Spaniards. His transfer beat the previous record held by German playmaker Mesut Ozil who moved to Arsenal from Real Madrid for £42m in 2013.

The Frenchman held the record for just six months before the club spent £57m to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund at the start of 2018.

Alexandre Lacazette had a great start to his Arsenal career as he took him just some minutes to get his first goal for the club during the Premier League opener for the 2017/18 campaign, a 4-3 win at home to Leicester City. He was the main striker at Arsenal during that period and even ahead of compatriot Olivier Giroud who was referred to him by manager Didier Deschamps in the French national team setup.

His position as the main attacker at Arsenal lasted for six months until the arrival of the aforementioned Aubameyang but he was still able to produce his best goal/game at the club till date during that season. Lacazette scored 17 goals plus 4 assists in 39 games.

The French striker scored more goals (19 in 52 games) in the second season but his goal/game output was lesser than that of his debut campaign as an Arsenal player. He made more assists (10) and was rewarded with the Player of the Season award. However, things have gone from good to bad for him this season.

The ex-Lyon skipper struggled with an injury at the start of the current season having picked it up during pre-season and that seemed to affect him as he failed to rediscover the form of his last two seasons at the club. Young attackers like Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah have been picked ahead of him in the Arsenal attack this season after he failed to ignite the frontline with goals and assists. Lacazette has just nine goals and three assists in 35 games for the Gunners in the present campaign.

Lacazette is now seen as someone dispensable in the Arsenal attack thereby leading to the suggestion that a new club could be the catalyst for him to resurrect his ailing football career. Atletico Madrid are long-term admirers and the La Liga giants are also in the market for a new striker thus making it a big possibility for him to move to Madrid this summer.

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Premier League: Players With Most Titles At Arsenal

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Dennis Bergkamp

Arsenal were the only club who challenged the dominance of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United team during the early part of the Premier League era. The Gunners didn’t pose much problems to Manchester United until the arrival of a certain Frenchman named Arsene Wenger in 1996.

Wenger was a relatively unknown quantity when he arrived on the shores of England despite winning the French league with AS Monaco plus managing successfully in the Japanese top flight. He was the catalyst for Arsenal who became a major threat to Ferguson and his players at Old Trafford.

Arsenal and Manchester United dominated Premier League football for the first 12 years. The two clubs won 11 from the 12 Premier League titles on offer with the only exception coming during the 1994/95 when Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish led Blackburn Rovers to the title.

Wenger became the Arsenal manager in the opening weeks of the 5th Premier League season and didn’t have to wait for long to secure his first league title. He won the Premier League trophy in his first full season in the competition before winning two more league titles including the unprecedented unbeaten campaign during the 2003/04 season. Several players thrived under his management and were instrumental to those league titles as follows:

1. Dennis Bergkamp – He is regarded by a lot of football fans and stakeholders as the best foreign import in Premier League history. He was already an Arsenal player before the appointment of Arsene Wenger and was available for all the three league wins.

2. Patrick Vieira – The Frenchman was the first signing of the Arsene Wenger era at Arsenal and he more than lived up to expectations. Vieira took over the captain’s armband from Mr. Arsenal Tony Adams before leaving the team through the entire league season unbeaten during the 2003/04 campaign. He also has three Premier League titles alongside Dennis Bergkamp and fellow midfielder Ray Parlour.

3. Ray Parlour – Nicknamed the Romford Pele, Parlour was one of the unsung heroes in the Arsenal team. He was an important member of the Arsenal midfield through the three Premier League titles won under Arsene Wenger.

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EPL

What Liverpool Need To Maintain Premier League Superiority

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Mohamed Salah

Liverpool were coasting home to the Premier League title for the first time in their history until Coronavirus happened in March. The Reds had not won any form of league title in the top flight for three decades until this season.

Until Premier League football was suspended two months ago at the end of week 29, Liverpool had the best record in the history of the competition at that point of the season. Liverpool won 27 games, drew one and lost just one from those 29 games thus amassing 85 points. They had a 25-point advantage over Manchester City in second position.

Liverpool won’t be denied their title for long as the Premier League is expected to resume next month and players have already returned to training ahead of the restart. Only two wins from the remaining nine games would be enough to hand Liverpool the title thus taking them to 19 league titles and just one behind leading club and rivals Manchester United who have won the league title 20 times.

The challenge for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his players would be to re-enact their insane Premier League form in this campaign as from the next season. The Reds are likely to break the most points recorded in Premier League history currently held by Manchester City (100 points during the 2017/18 season). Liverpool need just 16 points from the remaining nine games and 27 points.

After the league title win for this week has been sorted, the next target for Liverpool would likely be to usurp Manchester United at the top of the list of most Premier League title wins and they need to dominate the league for more seasons to achieve this starting from next season. Let’s examine what Liverpool need to continue their stay at the top of the Premier League:

1. Dynamic Striker – Liverpool have one of the best attacks in European football with the deadly trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane but they still need a better fourth option than Divock Origi who has always done well in that role. RB Leipzig star Timo Werner is the top target to fill this role ahead of the summer’s transfer market.

2. Left-sided Defender – The Reds need an able deputy for first choice left-back Andy Robertson who has been very consistent over the last two years.

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EPL

Manchester United Players With Most Premier League Trophies

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Ryan Giggs

Manchester United have been the dominant club in the Premier League era though it must be pointed out that they are yet to win the competition in seven years. The last win came during the 2012/13 season when legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson was at the club.

The last Premier League title at Manchester United coincided with the final season under Sir Alex Ferguson who retired as a manager in 2013 before moving upstairs as a director on the club’s board.

In the past few seasons, Manchester United fans have seen rivals Manchester City and Liverpool take their place as the dominant club in the Premier League. Despite the recent fall from the Premier League top, the Red Devils still have the most Premier League titles.

Manchester United won 13 Premier League titles under Sir Alex Ferguson to take them above arch rivals, Liverpool, as the most successful club in English league football. The Red Devils now have 20 league titles, while Liverpool is stuck on 18 league titles though that’s expected to increase to 19 in a matter of weeks after the compulsory Coronavirus break.

Let’s examine the top three Manchester United players with the most Premier League titles:

1. Ryan Giggs – The Welshman has the most league titles in the history of the Premier League (13). He also has the most assists in the competition plus the fact that he holds the record for the most appearances in the illustrious history of Manchester United.

2. Paul Scholes – The ex-Manchester United midfielder had to quit football for some years because of vision problems but was still able to win 11 Premier League titles. He quit football for two years before returning to win more titles at Manchester United.

3. Gary Neville – The former Manchester United skipper won 8 Premier League titles during his time at Old Trafford. Just like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, Gary Neville spent all his football career at Old Trafford.

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