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Premier League and FA Cup Fixtures Confirmed!!!

Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City: Kevin de Bruyne scores twice as City ...

We have waited patiently for the Premier League to resume following its abrupt suspension in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has been a worldwide terror with nations of the world going to their knees in their bids to fight the plague, but we have to use this moment to give a shoutout to those heroes that have been on the frontlines for all these while. Football took its own holistic approach to battling the pandemic and several features like Project Restart took centerstage, with the welfare and health of the players and staff being on the forefront of everyone concerned with the game. 

The FA has confirmed that the Premier League will resume on June 17, 2020 with the games in hand taking priority. Manchester City were set to give Mikel Arteta a nice homecoming in mid-March 2020 but the Arsenal gaffer tested positive to the coronavirus, causing the club to cancel all fixtures and go into lockdown. There was also the Aston Villa vs Sheffield United Premier League fixture which was a game of massive importance to both sides. The Villans have been flirting with relegation waters while the Blades have set their sights on European football, which is no less than they deserve for their fearless style of play. 

With the aforementioned games completed, all Premier League teams will be equal on 29 games, but from what I’ve read, we are in for a roller coaster ride of games. The Friday games will take place by 8.00pm, the Saturday fixtures will be on 12.30pm, 3.00pm, 5.30pm and 8.00pm. On Sunday, we will have fixtures by 12 noon, 2.00pm, 4.30pm and 7.00pm. When I say Friday, I mean, Friday, June 19, 2020. There will also be midweek fixtures on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday by 6.00pm and 8.00pm.

Brace yourselves fam!

There’s also the FA Cup to think about with the finals set for August 1, 2020 in the home of football, Wembley. The quarterfinals are scheduled to start on Saturday, June 27, 2020 with the semis targeted for July 11, 2020. Just in case you forgot, here are the quarterfinal fixtures to make your mouth water

  • Leicester City vs Chelsea
  • Newcastle United vs Manchester City
  • Sheffield United vs Arsenal
  • Norwich vs Manchester United

Sayonara

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FA Cup: Thoughts on the Fifth Round and Quarterfinals Draws

Image result for nketiah goal portsmouth

Nketiah celebrating his goal in the FA Cup

The FA Cup is one competition that is never short of drama and we saw that happen yet again in the Round of 16, or fifth round, as its fondly called in these parts of the world. It began with a 2-0 victory for Arsenal over Portsmouth with the young Gunners firing on all cylinders against a Portsmouth side that has been in inspired form – unbeaten in 19 and 10 straight home wins. There was a casualty for that game with Arsenal midfielder, Lucas Torreira, on the wrong end of a nasty challenge from Portsmouth’s David Bolton. The update we have received is that Torreira has suffered a fractured ankle which clearly indicates that his season is over.

Tuesday saw Miguel Almiron inspire Newcastle to a 3-2 victory over West Brom and it was a scare for the Premier League side as the Baggies fought hard from going 3-0 down to almost equalize the game and earn themselves a replay. Miguel Almiron hasn’t lit up any fireworks since his high profile move from the MLS (Atlanta United), so it was good seeing the lad score a brace because he’s one of the hardest working footballers you’d ever see. There was another Championship vs. Premier League fixture took place when Sheffield United visited the Madejski Stadium to take on Reading. The home side managed to take the game into extra time, but the old Sheffield stalwart, Billy Sharp, scored the goal that sent the Blades into the last eight.

The glamour fixture of the FA Cup fifth round was the Chelsea vs. Liverpool game. The Reds arrived at Stamford Bridge, still nursing the wounds from the thumping defeat they had suffered from Watford in the previous weekend. They showed some positive intent when the returning Kepa Arrizabalaga in breathtaking form, but the same could not be said of Adrian, that flapped at Willian’s shot for the first goal, before diving haplessly for Ross Barkley’s strike, effectively ruling Jurgen Klopp’s side out of the FA Cup. 

Yesterday, Leicester City had enough in the tank to see off Birmingham City with Ricardo Pereira scoring a late header that sent the King Power Stadium to raptures. Pereira has that zeal to go further up the pitch and he was rewarded for his actions, but that strike should be attributed to some brilliant play on the left wing from Ben Chilwell that lofted the ball into the box after a magnificent solo slalom run. Elsewhere, Pep Guardiola, still basking in the euphoria of his Carabao Cup victory left nothing to chance as he fielded a very strong lineup against Sheffield Wednesday, with club record scorer, Sergio Aguero, scoring the goal that was enough to give the defending FA Cup champions a well deserved victory.

There was some enthralling drama in the Spurs vs. Norwich game with Jose Mourinho fielding a strong squad in the FA Cup clash with the Canaries. Jan Vertonghen gave the hosts the lead with a bullet header that left TIm Krul with no chance in Hell but Norwich kept on pressing for the equalizer and finally got it when Michel Vorm spilled a routine shot allowing Josip Drmic to clumsily fire home the rebound. The game went to the lottery of the penalty shootouts and knowing Krul’s prowess from saving spot kicks, Spurs chances looked slim and that turned out to be the case with the Dutch goalie saving two of the five penalties he faced while Erik Lamela blasted his spot kick over the bar.

Derby County hosts Manchester United in the last FA Cup fifth round fixture but the quarterfinal draws have been made,

  • Sheffield United vs Arsenal
  • Newcastle United vs Manchester City
  • Norwich City vs Derby County or Manchester United
  • Leicester City vs Chelsea

Sayonara.

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Lucas Torreira: Update on his Ankle Injury

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Lucas Torreira suffered a nasty ankle injury in the 16th minute of Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Portsmouth at Fratton Park on a cold Monday night. The Arsenal youngsters took the plaudits for their good performance that was enough to seal a quarterfinal berth with head coach, Mikel Arteta, lauding their efforts but it was not a good night for Torreira, that had to be stretched off the pitch to receive medical attention for what was really a nasty challenge from Portsmouth defender, James Bolton.

Torreira was seen wearing an ankle brace and had to use clutches to navigate his way around to join the team leaving Portsmouth back to London. This leaves Arteta with only Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka, Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi as his only central midfield options, which is not ideal if you ask me. No other player in the side offers what Lucas Torreira gives this team and I touched on this sometime in January, when he suffered an injury in the draw with Crystal Palace. 

 Arsenal star Torreira was hobbling in a protective boot and will need scans on his injured ankle

Lucas Torreira wearing an ankle brace

Torreira has done well to allays some fears on whether he will be out for a while, when he spoke to the media about his injury,

“I wanted to tap it and grabbed my ankle on the outside. It twisted the ankle but I can move it”

Arteta, on the other hand, isn’t sure of the severity of the injury and will be waiting for the Arsenal medical team to provide a favorable update for him. What we know for sure is that Torreira will not be available for the crucial weekend fixture against West Ham and the midweek clash against Manchester City might come too soon for him. 

In his absence, Ceballos will get an extended run in the side and we will be hoping he can forge a good understanding with Xhaka in the middle of the park. For a player that was close to leaving the club in January, Ceballos is playing on a different level and looks committed to the cause as Arteta hopes to seek qualification to Europe from the Premier League following that disaster that happened last week Thursday against Olympiakos.

Arsenal would be hoping to have Torreira available for selection as soon as possible because he remains a vital cog in the Arteta midfield machine.

Sayonara.

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