Some interesting matches in the Premier League this weekend.

The International break is over and most eyes are now turned back to club football. It was an interesting past two weeks as we saw many teams book their place for the upcoming world cup in Qatar. Portugal defeated North Macedonia by two goals to nil with Poland beating Sweden by the same scoreline. In Africa, the five (5) nations that will be representing Africa at the world cup are now known.

Senagal ensured that they would take part at Qatar 2022 by defeating Egypt on penalties after both nations won 1-0 and could not be separated in the two matches. Morocco won 4-1 against D.R. Congo. Tunisia went past Mali to seal their place while Ghana drew 1-1 against Nigeria in the second game to make it to the World cup. Cameroon miraculously qualified after scoring at the last minute of extra time against Algeria to shock the footballing world and book a seat at the prestigious event.

As mentioned earlier, the Premier League resumes this weekend and there are some interesting fixtures to look forward to.

Burnley vs Manchester City

This is an interesting fixture though there seems to be no match between the two opponents. Manchester City are first in the Premier league right now while Burnley sit 19th on the table. Man City have always been the favourites in the past as far as this fixture is concerned but in football anything could happen. Who would have expected Crystal Palace to be unbeaten in the Premier League against Man City?

Secondly, Burnley have nothing to lose given that they are fighting to spend another season in the top division. To do that, they will need to start winning matches. They are wounded right now and could cause an upset. Man City on the other hand have no choice but to win. They lead the league by just 1 point hence a draw for them will open the door for Liverpool to go top if they win against Watford. It’s a must win for the Cityzens if they are to consolidate their lead in the league.

Pep Guardiola will be hoping to make it another win against Burnley

Leeds United vs Southampton

This is not a top of the table clash but it’s bound to be a fierce one. Southampton are presently in 11th place on the table with 35 points while Leeds sit in 16th place with 29 points. Leeds United have been going through a rough patch this season, but they will not take this match lightly. The Peacocks will be encouraged by their unexpected comeback against Wolves last time out. Leeds United were 2-0 down at half time but mustered up an impressive comeback in the second half to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2.

Jack Harrison led the comeback against Wolves

Southampton have had an up and down season so far. The Saints, though in 11th place on the table have been very inconsistent this season. However, on their day they can give any team a good match, even the likes of Man City and Liverpool. Their captain James Ward- Prowse is a wonderful player and they can count on him to pull out a magic hat when needed. Any of the two teams can win this one.

Manchester United vs Leicester City

This is arguably the greatest game of the weekend. There are a lot of implications involved in this game especially for Manchester United. Ralf Rangnick’s side has been grossly inconsistent this season. They now sit 4 points behind Arsenal in sixth place, with the Gunners having a game in hand. Man United are hoping to qualify for the Champions League, but if they are to do so, they will need to win matches on a consistent basis.

The Red devils have a host of great players but these players have hardly played at the level expected of them. Cristiano Ronaldo, who was recently voted United’s player of the month leads the goal charts at the club with 18 goals in all competitions. Bruno Fernandes has not been at his best, and his midfield partners, Pogba, Fred and Mactominay have not been consistent. If they are to win this one and keep their top four hopes alive, then their best players will have to show up against Leicester City.

Bruno Fernandes has not been at his best this season

There is hope for fans of the Red devils as Fernandes scored two goals against North Macedonia during the international break. These fans will expect him to replicate this form at Man United as the season draws to a close. There are also reports of a bumper 5 year deal to be signed by the Portuguese to keep him at the club until 2027.

This game against Leicester City promises to be a season defining game for Man United and Leicester City will also want to win it to keep their Europa League hopes alive. The foxes, who won the reverse fixture earlier in the season at the King Power stadium, will make things difficult for United. James Maddison bas been in good form lately for Leicester and will be expected to cause the home side problems in this game. The Red devils have hopes for Champions league, but the foxes will want to put a dent in these hopes.

Do or die affair for Indomitable Lions of Cameroon against Algeria

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will be meeting the Algerian national football team on Tuesday at the Mustapha Taker stadium in Blida. The Lions will be looking for redemption after they suffered a 1-0 loss to Algeria when the two sides met in Douala at the Japoma stadium. The home side greatly dominated the match but we’re not clinical enough. Algeria had approached the game with a defensive mindset, trying to hit the Cameroonians on the counter. They eventually won a free kick in the Cameroonian third of the field and were rewarded with a goal when Islam Slimani rose highest to head his side ahead just before half time.

Islam Slimani celebrating his goal against Cameroon

The match was 1-0 at half time with the hosts downcast as they went down the tunnel to the dressing rooms. The second half began with more vigour from the Indomitable Lions but all their possession and fluid passing yielded no fruits as they had no focal point for their attack with Aboubakar Vincent having picked up an injury earlier. Tawamba who had come on in the second half did much to help his side as he had one chance after another to equalise but the Algerian defence held tight. Toko Ekambi also created a number of chances but the final pass was usually disappointing from the wing backs. New coach Rigobert Song, who himself had played for the Indomitable Lions and even captained the team could only look on helplessly as the Algerian team held on for a massive win.

There have been doubts over Song’s suitability to the role of Head coach of Cameroon.

As it stands, Algeria has a great advantage over Cameroon in terms of qualifying for the 2022 World cup in Qatar. The players would need to play better and finish off their chances if they are to have a chance of qualifying. They would need their best players too. Luckily, Rigobert Song announced during his press conference that Vincent Aboubakar was feeling better and could feature against Algeria.

Vincent Aboubakar has been Cameroon’s best player of recent

It is going to be an exciting match to watch and football being what it is, anything could happen. At least the Cameroon players will believe that they still have a chance and their supporters will expect them to throw everything they’ve got at the game to get a win for their country. It will not be an easy task for them and though the Lions will improve, they will probably not have the cutting edge finishing needed for them, hence Algeria will likely seal qualification for the upcoming World cup.

Last chance for Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal as 2022 World Cup beckons

Ronaldo on international duty with Portugal

It hasn’t been an easy road for the Portuguese national football team as they seek qualification for the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It is rather surprising that the team has struggled to win matches despite the plethora of stars at their disposal. They have the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix, Diogo Jota and Ruben Dias.

The Portugal team first of all played Serbia and just at the beginning of the game Lille midfielder Renato Sanches scored a goal to put the Portuguese ahead. Dusan Tadic equalized later in the game to give his team hope. At that moment Portugal were still qualified hence they just tried to manage the game. They were however shocked when Fulham player Mitrovic headed in around the closing stages of the game. The final score read Portugal 1, Serbia 2. This loss condemned Ronaldo and co to play two other playoff matches.

The first of those matches was against Turkey with the second against the winner between Italy and North Macedonia. The Portuguese side took full advantage of a more defensive Turkish side in the first half to establish a two goal advantage before Cengiz Under of Turkey scored a goal to half the deficit. Portugal however went on to score a third to wrap up a 3-1 win over Turkey. This win secured a final playoff match against North Macedonia who surprisingly beat Italy 1 nil to qualify for this match.

Diogo Jota scored Portugal’s second goal against Turkey.

The match between Portugal and North Macedonia will be played on Tuesday and the expectation of most football fans is that Portugal defeat their opponents to qualify for the World Cup which will be played from November to December 2022. However Ronaldo and his fellow players will do well not to underestimate North Macedonia who have already eliminated Italy. We have seen a lot of surprises in football lately but we expect Portugal to win this one and book their place for Qatar 2022.

Cameroon conclude preparations for Women Handball AFCON.

The Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Narcisse Mouelle Kombi has called on the Cameroon Handball Federation (FECAHAND) to ensure that final touches are well put in order to successfully organize the Senior Women Handball Africa Cup of Nations (AFCAON) in Cameroon. He did this during the second preparatory meeting held in Yaounde in anticipation of the event.

Friendly match preparations ahead of the competition.

At the meeting, the President of the FECAHAND, Senator Raymond-Lippert Mbita talked about what had been done so far. He assured the Minister that the preparations were going on without any qualms. He said that the buses for transportation of players during the event were ready. He also ensured those at the meeting that these buses were comfortable.

The Preaident of the FECAHAND also mentioned that the Mfandena gymnasium, the Yaounde Multipurpose Sports complex, and the pitch at the National Advanced School of Public Works were undergoing conclusive renovation works.

The aspect of Covid-19 was also handled at the meeting. Priority will be given to the surveillance of everyone that will come in contact with the delegations and constant testing will be carried out.

It is vital to note that 12 nations will be taking part at this event. These nations are spread across 3 groups of 4 teams each with Cameroon being in group B along with Kenya, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cameroon will be playing their first game against Kenya. The competition will run from the 8th to the 18th of June 2021. We wish our players luck as we hope they win the tournament.

Jesse Lingard given extra chance to prove Southgate wrong.

Lingard in England colours

England will be playing the first of their two preparatory games for the Euro 2020 this evening against Austria. The England boss has decided to test his players in this game and has given one player in particular a “second chance”. Jesse Lingard has not been selected in the 26 man squad to represent his country at the Euro 2020 tournament. The player is however on the waiting list along with Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Ben Godfrey, James Ward-Prowse and Ollie Watkins.

Gareth Southgate made an interesting statement when he said “Jesse has had a good spell with West Ham and is someone who has played so well with England. He will start against Austria because Sancho is ill and a lot of players are not available. He deserves that opportunity to show me I am wrong straight away.”

Lingard had a rejuvenated season from January 2021. The Manchester United player, on loan at West Ham United scored 9 goals in 18 appearances. His goals greatly contributed to West Ham qualifying for the Europa league. He put in a lot of brilliant performances for David Moyes’ side who will be happy having ended the season beautifully.

Jesse Lingard celebrating a goal for West Ham

The 28 year old will see this rare start for England as an opportunity to force Gareth Southgate to change his mind and include him in the main Euro 2020 team. Given his form for the Hammers this season, it will not be a surprise if the England player ends the game tonight with a goal or two. Surely that will put some pressure on Southgate and might even force the gaffer’s hand.

Southgate made some comments about Lingard and the others on the waiting list. “We have to keep the standby players match ready in case they come back into the squad. They deserve it, their commitment to stay with the group, the respect for their team-mates to be here, shows what playing for England means to this group of players.”

Those words from Southgate sound motivational and hopefully they will be enough for Lingard as he tries to accomplish his wish of playing for England at the Euro 2020 competition.

Second stint at Real Madrid for Ancelotti after Zidane resignation

Carlo Ancelotti has been appointed as manager of Real Madrid. The former Everton manager had guided the Toffees to 10th place in the Premier league in the just ended football season. After the resignation of Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid often known as the White House by the fans have decided to appoint Ancelotti at the helm of the club.

Ancelotti also comes with a heavy portfolio. He is considered as one of the most successful coaches in the world of football and is just one of three coaches with three Champions league trophies.

Ancelotti giving instructions to his team

The 61 year old Italian has signed a three year deal with Real Madrid as he said the move presented an unexpected opportunity. He also said “I have complete respect for everyone associated with Everton and hope they can achieve the exciting opportunities they have in front of them. While I have enjoyed being at Everton, I have been presented with an unexpected opportunity which I believe is the right move for me and my family at this time.”

The question now on the lips of many football fans is whether Ancelotti will be successful at Real Madrid. Well, the experience is there and the man Ancelotti obviously believes he has still got that special spark. Only time will tell!

Outstanding Chelsea deprive Man City of First Champions League Title

The all English champions league final tussle for the second time in three years has finally come to an end. Football is a game of mystery and persistence and we saw that again tonight as Chelsea ran Man City over to win the Champions league by a 1 goal scoreline. The only goal of the game, scored by Kai Havertz was scored in the first half. Chelsea had a better start to the game, pressing high early in the first half while still being disciplined in defence.

Thomas Tuchel, who has now beaten Pep Guardiola 3 times this season, was very lively on the touchline as he motivated his team to press City in the first half. The Chelsea players kept pushing for a goal, and though Man City dominated possession, Chelsea had the better chances in the first 45 minutes. The Blues were rewarded with a goal for all their effort when Kai Havertz lashed onto a pass behind the Manchester City defence from Mason Mount to dribble Ederson and poke the ball home. The score board read: Man City 0-1 Chelsea.

Of course there was hope for Man City to come back into the game in the second half. An injury to Kevin De Bruyne early in the second half however made things very difficult. The Belgian, also considered City’s “heartbeat” was subbed off injured just when the Cityzens were building momentum to equalise.

Chelsea was having none of it and though City kept coming at them with the ball, the London club brilliantly held on to their 1 nil lead. It was a frustrating night for Manchester City as their crosses kept being headed away by the solid, commanding Chelsea defence. City fans could only watch as the time kept flying, yet with no goal for their club.

It was so difficult for Man City that even the introduction of Sergeo Aguero from the bench did not yield any fruits. Pep Guardiola showed signs of frustration as the game winded down. The robust Chelsea defence held steadfast to their 1 nil lead to eventually win the game in fascinating circumstances.

The race for the top four heats up as Leicester City host Chelsea

The Premier League has experienced a number of interesting changes in the past few days. Manchester City are already champions, confirmed when The Red Devils lost to Leicester City by a 2-1 scoreline. With 70 points on the table the Man United fans can be calm and happy because their beloved club have officially qualified for next season’s Champions League.

Liverpool’s 4-2 win over Man United has given them hope and instilled belief in the hearts of their fans. With 60 points on the table already and 3 more games to play, we might just see the Reds in the Champions league next season. Leicester City and Chelsea obviously have an advantage over Liverpool but with the two clubs meeting today, at least one of them is expected to drop points. The game might even end in a draw with both teams dropping points, thereby giving Liverpool more hope.

West Ham United have not given up on a top four finish either. Though their recent results have been pretty bad, the Hammers and their fans are prepared to give their all to upset one of the Big Six clubs to make it into the prestigious top four places. However with the momentum that Liverpool have got right now, they are the favourites of the two clubs to make it, if one of either Leicester City or Chelsea drop down. But to do that, Jurgen Kloop’s men would have to win their remaining three games and hope that the others drop points.

If Chelsea who have 64 points right now were to lose against Leicester City (66 points), then things would be even more interesting as they would be left with just one game to play and this would open the door to Liverpool. It is in the interest of Chelsea not to lose today because if they do, then Liverpool would just need to win their remaining three matches to overtake Chelsea on the final table. Surely, there are more interesting scenarios to come so far as this season is concerned and we would be happy to welcome them.

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