EPL 2015-2016 | Page 4 of 34 | Sportzwiki

EPL 2015-2016 - Page 4

Defender Mangala says Man City 'want more'
Defender Mangala says Man City 'want more'
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Defender Mangala says Man City ‘want more’

London, May 3 (IANS) Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala has said the English football club will not just settle for the Champions League semi-finals and wants to win against Real Madrid in this round’s second leg on Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

In statements published on Manchester City’s official website, the Frenchman on Monday said: “Our aim is to win the Champions League — that was always the project. We are improving and we want to keep playing in this way.

“We don’t want to stay in the semi-final and think we’ve done well — we want more. We want to reach the final and now we are so close to that ambition,” Mangala added.

“I am proud of what we’ve done so far. It is very special for every player to play in the semi-final and the possibility of playing in a final — maybe even winning the Champions League,” he explained.

Although City drew 0-0 against Los Merengues at the Etihad Stadium last week in the first leg, the French defender said, “This is a very important moment for all of us and for my career, it is something very special.”

“That was good for this game but the weekend loss to Southampton was not. We know that it will be a tough game against Real Madrid and that they play well at home, but we did well in the other rounds of the competition, especially at Sevilla and PSG,” he added.

Leicester City make history, win the Barclays Premier League with 2 games to spare
Leicester City make history, win the Barclays Premier League with 2 games to spare
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Leicester City make history, win the Barclays Premier League with 2 games to spare

Every sports fan loves a good performance from an under-dog in any competition but the exploits of one Claudio Ranieri in the East Midlands of the UK have carried the Leicester City team from the bottom of the table last season to the top of the table this season.

To script a happy ending to their fairy tale season, Leicester City were crowned the Premier League champions of the 2015-16 season on Monday night after Tottenham Hotspur were able to get only a point from the game against Chelsea.

This story from rags to riches is one of the best ever told in the world of sport and this moment is something that will stay in the minds of every football fan for decades to come.

Leicester City who were promoted at the end of the 2013-14 season were struggling last season to stay in the top flight but after they managed to do so, they bought the Italian manager Claudio Ranieri into the picture and the rest is history.

The likes of Vardy, Mahrez and N Golo’ Kante have all played their part in this astonishing journey to the top of the table and there is no surprise that the Leicester City fans will be in dream-land till the start of the next season.

This victory from the Foxes not only provides a great story to tell for neutral but also as an inspirational story for every footballer aspiring to become one of the best.

Vardy, who was playing in the third tier of English football and Mahrez who was in the second tier of French football were no-body before the start of the season but the PFA player of the year and the brilliant English striker have just blown teams apart this season and deserve every bit of praise that will be showered on them in the next few weeks.

The most important lesson to take from this fairy tale is the fact that the Premier League, arguably the most challenging league in the world was taken away by relegation strugglers and if they can do it, so can every team in the top flight next season.

Burnley have already been promoted to the Premier League next season and Ranieri’s exploits this season can give heart to the Championship sides who usually find it hard to even survive their first season in the top flight.

This league victory from the Leicester City squad will surely send waves around the world.

It is a story that can told and re-told and will never get old. It is a story of how even the least rated personality can get to the top place in a group and this pertains to not just football but for life in general.

If Ranieri, Vardy and Mahrez can believe that they can do the un-thinkable, and actually turn up doing it, there is hardly any doubt that any team in the league can do it.

Though it may take time after the current season for a new Premier League champion, the league will surely look at a few different sides from the second half of the table.

But at Leicester the party has been on since the final whistle at Stamford Bridge and the fans do deserve a moment of joy after their club managed to clinch the league title for the first time in their history of 132 years.

Losing just three games, Leicester City showed that the teams do not need star players to go all the way through and with this extra-ordinary run of form, Ranieri’s men will lift the Premier League title at home next weekend.

They host Everton in their game next weekend at the King Power Stadium where they will get a guard of honor from the Toffees and it will be a day that will be remembered by each and every person that will attend the game this weekend.

Surely, history was made this week and it will take some doing for it to be re-done in the near future.

Leicester striker Vardy voted football writers' footballer of the year
Leicester striker Vardy voted football writers' footballer of the year
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Leicester striker Vardy voted football writers’ footballer of the year

London, May 2 (IANS) English Premier League leaders Leicester City’s striker Jamie Vardy was on Monday named the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year 2016.

The England international collected 36 percent of members’ votes, making him a clear winner ahead of his team-mates Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante.

The 29-year-old has scored 24 goals for club and country so far this season, which has helped to put Leicester on the verge of winning the Premier League title.

Vardy becomes the first Leicester player to win the prestigious accolade, which has been running since 1948, and the first Englishman to be voted FWA Footballer of the Year since Scott Parker in 2011.

Former Leicester striker Gary Lineker, who was Footballer of the Year in both 1986 with Everton and 1992 at Tottenham, will pay tribute to Vardy at a gala dinner to be held at the Landmark London Hotel on May 12.

FWA chairman Andy Dunn, of the Sunday Mirror, said in a statement: “It is a testament to their all-round excellence that so many Leicester players polled votes from our members. The Jamie Vardy story, though, clearly captured the imagination of so many writers.”

“His record-breaking feat of scoring in 11 consecutive matches is the jewel in what will surely be Leicester City’s Premier League crown.”

“And the Footballer of the Year award is not just a reflection of his fantastic season, but recognition of a remarkable journey from non-League to the international stage.”

Vardy was honoured to become the latest recipient of the FWA Footballer of the Year award.

“It’s a great honour to win such a prestigious award and to have my name added to a list of previous winners that includes some unbelievable players. Thank you to the Football Writers’ Association and to everyone that voted,” Vardy said.

“Thank you also to my team-mates, who are the reason I’ve been able to achieve anything.”

“It’s been an amazing season for all of us at Leicester, based on the teamwork, not individuals, which you can see in the voting. Thanks also to the manager, all the staff and the fans for their support,” he added.

“We’re all totally focused on getting over the line in the final two weeks of the season and turning a great season into one we’ll never forget. Hopefully, I can contribute to that and, if selected, carry some good form into the Euros this summer.”

Other players to receive votes from FWA members were Tottenham striker Harry Kane, West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet, Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne as well as Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli.

Terry's deep down fire will be elusive for Chelsea: Hiddink
Terry's deep down fire will be elusive for Chelsea: Hiddink
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Terry’s deep down fire will be elusive for Chelsea: Hiddink

London, May 2 (IANS) Chelsea head coach Guus Hiddink believes the English club will struggle to find another footballer with “deep down fire in body and soul” like veteran defender John Terry.

The Chelsea captain’s future is still up in the air with the club’s incoming chief coach Antonio Conte to decide whether the 35-year-old should be offered a one-year contract extension.

Terry has struggled with Achilles and hamstring injuries since February, limiting his opportunities to prove to the club he is worthy of a new deal.

The former England captain is also the last Chelsea academy graduate to become a first-team regular, playing over 700 times for the club.

And Hiddink said on Sunday that Terry is in the same mould as Manchester United’s home-grown heroes Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.

“You must have the deep down fire in your body, in your soul. You can produce players within big clubs with a strong desire to get the best out of themselves. All the big clubs have a few of those guys,” he was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk.

“When you go to Manchester United and you see the desire of Scholes at the time. You see the spirit, the desire, the fire in those guys. Giggs was also there, they have this huge desire.”

Despite entering the twilight of his career and with lucrative offers to move to China, the Middle-East and Major League Soccer (MLS) likely, interim coach Hiddink cannot fault Terry’s commitment to the Chelsea cause.

“What I see and know from him is that he desperately likes to play. He was almost unapproachable when he got this setback physically, which shows a big desire to play,” Hiddink said.

‘He’s always motivated. I never had one training session with him where I’ve said ‘Hey, John, you were not there. He was always there in both spells.

“He’s tackling whether it’s one day before the game or one or two days after the game. I had to put the brake on him a bit which means the desire is still high.”

If Terry is not offered a new contract, Hiddink said it would be folly not to use his vast experience to help up-and-coming players.

The Dutchman said: “It’s always good to have experience with people with a good attitude. At Chelsea, (Frank) Lampard, (Didier) Drogba, (Michael) Ballack who are in the area and you have them somewhere in the club so they can influence the development of young players.

“We have that with Ajax and at PSV I had some old players there. They will be able to give their experience to other players or sections at the club.”

Wenger not planning for 26 years as Arsenal coach
Wenger not planning for 26 years as Arsenal coach
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Wenger not planning for 26 years as Arsenal coach

London, May 2 (IANS) Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger has said that backing from the majority of the English football club’s fans will not tempt him to try and match Alex Ferguson’s 26-year Manchester United reign.

Wenger went into Saturday evening’s clash with Norwich City, which ended in a 1-0 win for the Gunners, facing a backlash from supporters tired of waiting for the end of their 12-year Premier League title drought.

But the protests at the Emirates stadium, in the 12th and 78th minute, were largely drowned out by Wenger’s backers who still believe in the Frenchman as he closes in on 20 years with the club.

Wenger is out of contract at the end of next season but has consistently said he would like to stay in the shorter term if offered another extension.

Asked if he was even thinking he could match Ferguson’s longevity, the 66-year-old said, “No, no, never. Don’t worry.

“I give my best for this club. You don’t spend 19 years at a club – like Sir Alex Ferguson spent 26 (years) – without every minute of your time, you give your whole life for that and try to do as well as possible,” Wenger was quoted as saying by Sky Sports on Sunday.

“One target is to keep 100 percent of people happy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that this season.”

The Frenchman also said he would have understood had the protests been louder, as he had been expecting, and said the disappointment at their Premier League failure this season was felt just as much by staff and players as fans.

“I am not in a democracy. I am in the next game, perform, try to do as well as you can and accept people’s opinions. That is what it is about,” he added.

Man United said to be eyeing Brazilian youngster
Man United said to be eyeing Brazilian youngster
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Man United said to be eyeing Brazilian youngster

Rio de Janeiro, May 1 (IANS) Manchester United and Atletico Madrid are reportedly considering a move to sign Brazil U-23 international Gabriel Jesus.

Eight-time Brazilian Serie A winners Palmeiras are preparing to sell the 19-year-old after the Olympic Games in August, according to the Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, reports Xinhua.

It is understood Gabriel has a 30 million-euro ($34.4 million) buyout clause in his contract but Palmeiras would be willing to cede the forward for 24 million euros ($27.4 million) to Real Madrid, FCBarcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United or Bayern Munich, the newspaper said.

Gabriel has made 52 appearances and scored 15 goals for Palmeiras since his first-team debut for the club last year.

He has been included in Brazil’s preliminary 40-man squad for the Copa America in the US which begins on June 3.

Tottenham coach Pochettino wants to emulate Alex Ferguson
Tottenham coach Pochettino wants to emulate Alex Ferguson
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Tottenham coach Pochettino wants to emulate Alex Ferguson

London, April 30 (IANS) Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino on Saturday said he will try and replicate Manchester United former head coach Alex Ferguson’s title-littered reign at the English football club where he is set to be in charge till 2021.

The coach has agreed verbally to a contract extension till 2021. And with Spurs moving to a new training complex and a new stadium Pochettino believes emulating Ferguson is possible.

“Why not? Sir Alex is a very special person. He was given the security to build his legacy at Manchester United. I believe we are special too, and we can build it here together,” Pochettino was quoted as saying by express.co.uk.

“This club is special. I feel the love from the beginning, from the very first day. I am very happy to be here to hopefully achieve big things.”

The Argentine believes the time ahead will be difficult but exciting.

“The potential is fantastic, with the new stadium. The club is coming to a very tough period because we are building a new stadium and we may focus sometimes on that, but at the same time it is very exciting,” he said.

Pochettino has been on the wishlist of top European clubs like Real Madrid, United and Paris Saint-Germain but the 44-year-old said he will be signing the Tottenham contract next week.

“To stop the speculation, we reached a verbal agreement with the club to extend my contract here for two years more until 2021. We haven’t signed yet – maybe Tuesday or tomorrow, it depends on my lawyer,” he said.

“But we reached the verbal agreement to stay here for the next five years and that it is a good moment to communicate this to you and so that all people know my future is here.

“It is important for all to know I believe in this club, the players, the staff, the supporters and the people here. That is why we have decided to stay here. We have made steps in the time we have been here and we believe we believe in more time we can achieve big things.”

“It is an easy decision. When you are happy and feel the love of the people and the potential of the club is massive. Why change? Why not stay here?”

Liverpool expected line-up to face Chelsea
Liverpool expected line-up to face Chelsea
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Liverpool predicted line-up to face Swansea City

A lunchtime kick-off awaits the Reds this weekend at the Liberty Stadium as Guidolin’s men host the Red of Merseyside this Sunday.

Swansea City are fresh from a 4-0 defeat to Leicester City and need some confidence going into the last few games of the season. But they will not find it easy to get a result against Klopp’s men who themselves are fresh from two disappointing results against Newcastle United and Villarreal last week.

Jurgen Klopp revealed that he has no new injury issues while Origi, Henderson, Can, Ings and Gomez are the only absentees for the German. Star striker Christian Benteke was back in action in Spain and might start this game while Sakho, who got himself involved in a drug scandal is suspended for 30 days.

With the second leg on the horizon, it is expected that Klopp will field a second-string line-up for the trip to Swansea. Here is the predicted line-up he might field on Sunday:

Goal Keeper:

Danny Ward:

With games coming thick and fast, Klopp revealed that he might give Ward a chance to prove himself and this game might be the best opportunity to do so.

Defense:

Connor Randall:

Doing no harm to his reputation in the last couple of appearances, young Randall will be given another chance to prove him worth to Klopp and stay at the club for another season.

Martin Skrtel:

The Slovakian has fallen below Kolo Toure in the pecking order for Klopp and this game might be the last real chance for Skrtel to have a chance to play for the club next season.

Lucas Leiva:

Starting the game at Villarreal, Lucas put in a decent shift in mid-field but will be used as a central defender for this trip to Swansea City.

Brad Smith:

Slowly improving, Smith has already shown his pedigree and good performance in this game can help him cement a place in the team for the rest of the season.

Mid-field:

Kevin Stewart:

Arguably the most accomplished players from Liverpool’s young side, Stewart was superb in the midfield in the last two league games for Liverpool and has done enough to get a chance on Sunday.

Joe Allen:

Missed a great chance at Spain early in the game and will hope to get himself on the scoring sheet this weekend against his former side.

Cameroon Brannagan:

The young midfield has shown some good promise in the limited chances he got and will hope to impress the manager if he gets a chance against Swansea City.

Jordan Ibe:

Was ineffective in the second half in Spain and will have to improve his performances to justify his place in the side this weekend.

Sheyi Ojo:

The rising star for Liverpool, Ojo, was unplayable in the first half against Stoke City and will be hoping to put in a similar performance on Sunday.

Attack:

Christian Benteke:

Came back from injury in the game against Villarreal where he played just more than 3 minutes and will lead the Liverpool attacking line this weekend against Swansea City.

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Swansea City vs Liverpool: preview, predictions, expected line-ups and betting odds

After the first loss in Europe for Jurgen Klopp since taking over Liverpool, he will face a tricky test against a Swansea side who have not had the best results in recent time.

Francesco Guidolin has done a great job with the Liberty stadium outfit and has pulled them out of relegation battle and has made sure that the club plays in the top flight next season. And though the hosts do not have much to play for the in the last month of the Premier League, they will want to finish the season strongly and will hope for a result from this game.

Klopp, on the other hand, will have an eye on the Villarreal game where his team will have to overturn a deficit and may decide to play a second string side this weekend. However, there will be no doubt that the German manager will try to take all three points from this game.

Here is the preview of this game along with the team news, predictions, expected line-ups and betting odds.

The Swansea City vs Liverpool game will be played on Sunday the 1st of May at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea City. The kick-off is scheduled a 12:00 pm BST (4:30 pm IST).

Team News:

Guidolin does not have any new issues with injuries and is expected to bring that likes of Jefferson Montero and Ki Sung-Yueng back into the starting line-up after the duo came off the bench in the last game. However, Leroy Fer and Alberto Paloschi are both out of contention with game nursing a hamstring injury.

Liverpool welcomed Christian Benteke back to the squad in the mid-week and will be hoping to get him into action this weekend. Origi, Henderson, Can, and Ings are all out injured while Sakho who has picked up a one month ban might not make any more appearances for Liverpool this season. With the 2nd leg of the semi-final looming over the mid-week, players like Ojo, Stewart, Ibe and Ward might get their chance on the night.

Expected Line-ups:

Swansea City:

Fabianski; Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor; Cork, Britton, Ki, Sigurdsson, Montero; Ayew

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Liverpool:

Ward; Randall, Skrtel, Lucas, Smith; Stewart, Allen, Brannagan; Ibe, Ojo; Benteke

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Key Battles:

Andre Ayew vs Martin Skrtel:

The Liverpool defender has not looked at his best coming back from injury last month and will have to be at his best against Ayew in the final third for Swansea. Ayew has the knack of scoring goals from different situations and Skrtel should make sure he does not get a chance to if Liverpool are to get anything from this game.

Sheyi Ojo vs Angel Rangel:

Liverpool’s youngster Sheyi Ojo has been in superb touch every time he was given a chance to play for the club in the league. He was sizzling in the game against Stoke City but will be up against an experienced Rangel this weekend at the Liberty Stadium. This will be an intriguing battle on the flank that can decide the outcome of the game.

Key Stats:

Swansea tasted defeat in their last two matches, but were unbeaten in the previous three with 2 wins and a draw.

The Swans have failed to score a goal in their last two matches and conceded a heavy 7 goals.

Swansea are on a three-match winning run at home and all the wins had come by the same 1-0 score line.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 5 Premier League fixtures, with 3 wins and 2 draws.

The Reds have scored 12 goals from their last 4 matches and conceded just 4.

Liverpool have won 3 of their last 4 away matches, a defeat during the period came at Southampton by 3-2.

Liverpool have scored 2 goals in each of their last three away games.

Betting Odds:

Swansea City: 11/5

Draw: 12/5

Liverpool: 11/8

Predictions:

If Swansea City wins this game, they will mathematically ensure a place in the top flight next season and this will provide enough incentive for the home team to give their all. However, Klopp’s youngsters have been impressive off late and will hope to give Swansea a taste of what they got last week against Leicester City.

Our Prediction: Swansea City 1-3 Liverpool

NORWICH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on November 29, 2015 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
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5 reasons why Arsenal should not sack Arsene Wenger

The fairy tale in the East Midlands of England at the King Power stadium this season has shown why the Premier League is considered one of the most competitive leagues in the world.

The boys from White Hart Lane gave the Foxes a good run but with the title just a few point away from Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur will take solace from the fact that they will host Champions League next season.

Top clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have struggled this season to find any kind of consistency.

But the Citizens have a great chance of moving into the final of the Champions League while Liverpool and Manchester United have a chance of conquering the FA Cup and the Europa League respectively.

Chelsea’s season was over long ago and the only other team that has had a disappointing season is the North London club Arsenal. Currently 4th in the points table, Arsene Wenger’s side have nothing to play for this season anymore and will need a strong finish to the season to make sure they play in Europe’s elite competition next season.

This has seen the fans the Gunners faithful call for the axing of their long-serving manager Arsene Wenger. With the clubs around the top of the Premier League table making a number of changes, Wenger himself has admitted that his job is not safe this summer.

But should the person who managed the invincible in 2004 be kicked out of Emirates at the end of the season? We take a look at 5 reasons why the London franchise should keep hold of their prized possession:

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