All posts by Kit

Chelsea keen on Arsenal and Liverpool target Thomas Lemar

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Premier League champions Chelsea are said to be interested in making a bid for Monaco’s French international winger Thomas Lemar in the January transfer window.

Arsenal and Liverpool were both keen on signing Lemar last summer, but the 22-year-old elected to stay in the principality. However, both are thought to retain an interest in signing him.

But now Chelsea are also keen on Lemar, and are prepared to tempt Monaco with an £80 million bid, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.

Lemar was one of the few Monaco stars not to move on in the summer, as Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Bernard Mendy all departed for big-money moves. However, Lemar has since struggled for fitness and form, scoring only once in 15 games so far.

As usual, the sources are unnamed so it has to be taken with a pinch of salt, but Chelsea are known to be looking for reinforcements as Antonio Conte seeks to try and catch the Manchester sides in the race for the Premier League crown.

All the factz for December 12th Premier League matches

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There are three matches in the Premier League tonight – here are the factz you need to know:

Burnley v Stoke City

* Burnley won this fixture 1-0 last season, gaining some revenge for Stoke’s 2-0 win at the Bet365 Stadium earlier in the season.
* Turf Moor isn’t the place for goals this season – just 9 scored in 8 matches. Six have been scored by Burnley.
* Stoke aren’t good travellers – just 2 wins in their last 16 matches on the road.
* Only Manchester United and Manchester City have conceded fewer goals than Burnley this season.
* Stoke meanwhile have the leakiest defence with 35 goals conceded.

Crystal Palace v Watford

* Palace won 1-0 in this fixture last season. It ended 1-1 at Vicarage Road.
* Palace are unbeaten in 5 matches but 4 of those have been drawn.
* Watford have lost 2 of their last 3 matches.
* Palace have scored 10 PL goals this season – all at home.
* Watford have won 13 points away from home this season, although have only 1 win in their last 5.

Huddersfield Town v Chelsea

* This is the first league meeting between the sides since the 1983/4 season, when both were in the old Second Division.
* The Terriers have one win in their last 6 – but that came last time out against Brighton.
* Chelsea have won 6 of their last 8 matches, with one defeat.
* Only the league’s bottom two sides, Swansea and Crystal Palace, have scored fewer than Huddersfield’s 11 goals this season.
* Chelsea have dropped 16 points already this season – they only dropped 21 in the whole of their 2016/17 campaign.

Liverpool forward Mohammad Salah wins African Footballer of the Year Award

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Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohammad Salah has been named African Footballer of the Year, ahead of his Premier League team-mate Sadio Mane.

Salah has been in scintillating form for the Reds this season, and is the Premier League’s leading scorer this season with 13. He had also had a stellar 2016/17 season with Roma in Serie A, being named their Player of the Season after finishing as the club’s top goalscorer with 15 goals in all competitions (14 in Serie A) and six assists. This caught the eye of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who paid a then club-record fee of £36 million to bring him to Anfield.

The 25-year-old also played a key role in Egypt qualifying for their first World Cup since 1990, scoring 5 goals in their qualification campaign, including both goals in the decisive 2–1 victory over Congo, one of which was a penalty in the last minute.

Senegalese striker Mane, who was a key player for Liverpool in the 2016/17 season and also helped his national team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, was second. Borussia Dortmund and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was third, ahead of Chelsea and Nigeria wing-back Victor Moses and RB Leipzig and Guinea midfielder Naby Keita.

Champions League last 16 draw – mixed results for English sides

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The Champions League draw for the knockout phase has been made, and will see some of the five English teams come up against some of the favourites for the title.

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have arguably the hardest draws, facing Barcelona and Juventus respectively.

The three remaining English teams have, on paper, less tricky ties. Liverpool will play Portugese side Porto, Manchester United have drawn Sevilla, and Manchester City come up against Basel of Switzerland.

Of the other ties, the most eye-catching sees two of the tournament favourites face off as Real Madrid take on Paris St-Germain.

The draw in full – dates ties will be played in brackets:

• Juventus v Tottenham (13 February and 7 March)
• Basel v Manchester City (13 February and 7 March)
• Porto v Liverpool (14 February and 6 March)
• Sevilla v Manchester United (21 February and 13 March)
• Real Madrid v PSG (14 February and 6 March)
• Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma (21 February and 13 March)
• Chelsea v Barcelona (20 February and 14 March)
• Bayern Munich v Besiktas (20 February and 14 March)

All the factz you need for the Manchester United v Manchester City derby in the Premier League

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The second big derby match of the days sees Manchester United take on Manchester City at Old Trafford. Kick-off is 4.30pm and the match is live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event. Here are the factz you need to know:

* City won the Manchester derby at Old Trafford 1-2 last season. It was 0-0 at the Etihad.
* This is the 175th Manchester Derby in all competitions. United have by far the better record, winning 72 matches to City’s 50.
* City have won 5 of their last 10 PL matches against United. United have won 3.
* United are unbeaten in their last 40 home matches in all competitions. The last team to win at Old Trafford was… City.
* But City have won their last 13 PL matches – a win today equals Arsenal’s PL record.
* United are in form too, with 4 successive wins.
* However, United have the meanest defence in the league – just 9 conceded, and only 1 at Old Trafford.
* Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva have the most assists this season with 8 apiece.
* The sides are the top 2 leading scorers in the PL, with City netting 46 times and United 35.
* That said, don’t expect a goal fest – there have been 4 goals in the last 4 PL matches, and 3 of those came in one match.