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City Out To Ruin Chelsea’s Title Stroll

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Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho believes his side can reignite their Premier League title ambitions tonight against a Chelsea team rocked by a shock 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace.
Ten points clear following the international break, Chelsea saw their lead trimmed to seven points after they crashed at home to Palace at the weekend and second-place Tottenham Hotspur won 2-0 at Burnley.
City could not follow Spurs’ lead, drawing 2-2 at Arsenal on Sunday, but victory at Stamford Bridge will leave them eight points below Chelsea with eight games of the season remaining.
“The Premier League is still open,” Fernandinho told the City website.
“We have a tough game against Chelsea away. To be close to them, we have to win that game and we will see what will happen at the end of the season.”
Chelsea came from behind to record a clinical 3-1 victory when the teams last met at the Etihad Stadium in December.
But while Antonio Conte’s side remain overwhelming title favourites, failure to beat City would give hope to the chasing teams who have spent much of the season trailing in their wake.
Chelsea failed to avoid defeat against Palace despite boasting full-strength team and having almost 80 minutes in which to turn the game around.
However, although neutrals will be crossing their fingers for another slip-up against Pep Guardiola’s City, Conte has urged his players to think of the pressure in positive terms.
“There is big pressure, but it is normal when you are in a great club and you are very good,” the Chelsea manager told the club website.
“When you are lucky enough to fight for the title there is the pressure, but not only for us, for a lot of teams.
“Don’t forget, the other teams were candidates to win the title, but instead we stay top of the table and we try to keep this position.”
City were one of the teams expected to challenge for the title, particularly after Guardiola’s much-trumpeted appointment, but as the draw at Arsenal highlighted, they remain vulnerable in defence.
The result extended their current unbeaten run to eight league games — the longest such sequence of Guardiola’s tenure — but the last three of those matches have all been drawn.
City twice took the lead at Arsenal, only to be pegged back on both occasions, and Guardiola believes his team struggle psychologically when they have a lead to defend.
“When the team is down, we react because everything is lost and we react in a good, good way,” he told reporters at the Emirates Stadium after the stalemate against Arsenal.
“To handle a situation at 1-0 (up), we are not comfortable, not yet. But we will be better. We will improve in the future.”
With Bacary Sagna expected to miss out again due to a groin strain and Pablo Zabaleta short of fitness, Guardiola may have to decide whether to persist with Jesus Navas at right-back.
The Spanish winger looked ragged at times against Arsenal and in Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, he would be up against one of the most lethal attacking players in the division.
City received some good news on Monday when Gabriel Jesus returned to training after breaking his foot, but the Brazil starlet is not expected to be available for selection for several weeks.
Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses is a major doubt after missing the Palace game with a calf strain, which saw Pedro fill in on the right flank.
City won 3-0 on their last visit to the Bridge a year ago, with Sergio Aguero plundering a hat-trick in a game that saw Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois sent off for upending Fernandinho.
Neither side came close to challenging champions Leicester City last season, but a similar outcome on Wednesday could have major repercussions for this season’s title race.

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Aisha Buhari Cup: FIFA, CAF Presidents Grace Kick-Off, Falcons Win 2-0

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Substitute Gift Monday handed Nigeria a sweet 2-0 victory on the opening day of the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament in the City of Lagos.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State led eminent political big-wigs, and FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and CAF President, Patrice Motsepe led football’s top echelon, including President of NFF and FIFA council member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, to the showpiece at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan.
Monday, interestingly a player of FC Robo Queens of Lagos, spurned in the air to meet a cross by Captain Asisat Oshoala in the 83rd minute and nodded past goalkeeper Fatoumata Karenta, six minutes after coming into the fray for Francisca Ordega.
The goal put the Super Falcons in the lead after a rather turgid day on Lagos island, with the Malians showing greater zest and desire in the opening half and returning after the recess with the same impressive fighting spirit.
The visiting Female Eagles had survived a raid on their area in the 5th minute as Nigeria looked to go into the lead with a corner, but the defence cleared. Nine minutes later, Ordega sidenetted from another quick dash upfront, and in the 18th minute, Ageusissa Diarra tested Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie from a 30-yard free-kick.
In the second half, Uchenna Kanu sidenetted in the 67th minute, before Oshoala, who should have scored with only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to get past Karenta. In the 74th minute, Karenta again saved from Kanu.
In the 83rd minute, Monday rose highest in the box and nodded past Karenta, bringing so much excitement to the arena.
One minute into added time, Monday was again at the end of an Asisat’s assist, and looped the ball over an advancing Karenta to put huge smiles on the faces of Nigerians.

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Enyimba Appoints Finidi George As Head Coach

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The former Ajax and Real Betis winger, George Finidi, who replaces Fatai Osho whose contract expired at the end of August, has joined the eight-time Nigerian champions, Enyimba FC, on a two-year contract.
George, a legend of Nigeria’s men’s senior national team, made 62 appearances for the Super Eagles in an illustrious playing career that lasted up to fifteen years.
He was a key member of the glorious era that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and represented the country at two FIFA World Cups, the 1994 and 1998 editions.
Tidesports source reports that at club level, George won the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and went on to play for Real Betis, RCD Mallorca, and Ipswich Town.
His first official game as Enyimba head coach will be the CAF Confederation Cup’s second preliminary round fixture against Senegalese side, Diambers FC in mid-October.
Speaking to Enyimba’s media immediately after putting pen to paper, George said, “I have to say it’s a great opportunity for the club to have this confidence in me.
“I want to thank the chairman, the members of the board, and the supporters for even thinking about me. On my own part, I will be here to just work and do the job. It’s never going to be easy but I’m here to work and make the team win.”
Chairman of Enyimba, Felix Anyansi Agwu, stated that the arrival of George represents a new chapter for the club.
“I believe that the time has come for us as a club to open up a new chapter, a chapter that will showcase the many hardwork that has been going on behind the scene and usher in lots of success.
“For us to have engaged a coach like Finidi George who is coming from Europe is a clear statement of intent about our aspirations,” Agwu said.

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Arteta Sees Light For Arsenal

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he sees a bright future for the club despite suffering their worst start to a season for 67 years.
The Gunners climbed off the bottom of the Premier League table with their first goal and first points of the campaign by beating Norwich 1-0 last weekend.
However, Arteta’s position is still under scrutiny ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Burnley after spending £150 million ($207 million) on new players during the transfer window.
The Spaniard claimed after beating Norwich he had enjoyed the “best 10 days of his career in this industry” during an international break when his side was rock bottom of the table.
And Arteta was equally optimistic on where Arsenal are headed with all six of his summer signings aged 23 or under.
“I’m telling you I’m very positive most of the time. I’ve seen the light and I can see bright lights,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light.”
Arteta is also hopeful the criticism his squad suffered after defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City will only serve to make them stronger.
“It’s tough because it hurts, because you want to see something different. But what you want is not always what happens,” he added.
“Things happen for a reason and maybe what is happening had to happen and it’s going to be really good for the club and really good for myself and everybody experiencing that situation. We have to believe that.”

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