Today marks the one year anniversary of Diego Maradona’s death. It has been 12 months of cult fans trying to come to terms with the fact that the Argentine talisman is no more.
Maradona was one of the greatest to ever play the round leather game, that is why when news of his death broke on the 25th of November 2020, football fans where shocked to their core.
Maradona helped Napoli to two Scudetti, one Coppa Italia, the Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup.
The club has never reached similar heights in Europe after the former Barcelona star’s time at the club.
Maradona won the 1986 World Cup with Argentina, as the captain and the protagonist of the competition, with five goals in the competition and two of the most historic moments in the history of the game.
He was also famous for a controversial goal he scored against England in the 1986 World Cup. The goal was termed ‘the hand of God’
Marseille forward Dimitri Payet fell to the ground in the fifth minute of the Ligue 1 match at Lyon’s Groupama Stadium, with both teams promptly sent to the dressing room by the match referee; match was abandoned almost two hours after the initial suspension
The Ligue 1 game between Lyon and Marseille was abandoned on Sunday after Dimitri Payet was hit on the head by a water bottle thrown from the stands.
Marseille forward Payet fell to the ground in the fifth minute of the Ligue 1 match at Lyon’s Groupama Stadium, with both teams promptly sent to the dressing room by referee Ruddy Buquet.
Almost two hours after initially being suspended, it was announced the match would not resume.
Payet, a France international, was about to take a corner when he was hit by the object and left the pitch with an ice pack on his head.
A stadium announcement initially said the game would resume, but warned a further incident would lead to an abandonment.
Lyon players had briefly returned to the pitch to warm-up ahead of the proposed resumption, but Marseille’s players remained in their changing room before the match was eventually called off.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said the club sends Payet “our apologies” and added “the perpetrator was immediately reported and caught”.
He added: “The referee summoned everyone a second time to announce that he had changed his mind,” added Aulas.
However, Buquet appeared to contradict Aulas and insisted in a post-match TV interview he never intended to resume the match.
“When there are 55,000 people in a stadium, precautions must be taken.”
During the suspension, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) released a statement in which they said they “regret” the regional authorities’ intention to resume the match.
They also said former West Ham player Payet had been the subject of “discriminatory insults” after he was hit by the bottle.
The disciplinary commission of the LFP will hold a meeting on Monday.
The incident is the latest in a number of Ligue 1 matches marred by crowd trouble this season.
Nice were docked two points, one of them suspended, after serious incidents during their game against Marseille, whose players clashed with home fans who pelted them with missiles and stormed onto the pitch in August.
The match was rescheduled and replayed in October at a neutral location without fans.
The start of the second half of the northern derby between RC Lens and Lille in September was delayed by around half an hour after rival fans threw objects at each other before people ran onto the pitch, prompting riot police and stewards to intervene.
Solskjaer leaves Manchester United after failing to win a trophy in nearly three years as manager; Michael Carrick placed in temporary charge as United seek to make an interim appointment until end of season; PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino the club’s top target for permanent replacement
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been sacked as Manchester United manager after an “embarrassing” 4-1 defeat at Watford, with Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino the club’s top target to take over next summer.
United have confirmed Solskjaer’s assistant Michael Carrick will be placed in temporary charge, with the club also revealing their intention to appoint an interim manager until the end of the season.
Chelsea produced a dominant performance in winning 3-0 at Leicester to move six points clear at the top of the table upon the final whistle.
First-half goals from Antonio Rudiger and N’Golo Kante put Thomas Tuchel’s team in control inside the opening half an hour and there was no way back for an out-of-sorts Leicester. Any hope of a comeback was extinguished when substitute Christian Pulisic made it three on 71 minutes with the only disappointment for Chelsea being an injury to Jorginho. The result takes Chelsea to 29 points from their 12 games, while Brendan Rodgers’ side are languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
⚽️GOAL! Leicester 0 – 1 Chelsea (Rudiger, 14’)
14 mins: Reece James wins the first corner of the game for Chelsea. Chilwell is the man to deliver the set piece and swings it into the six-yard box. Antonio Rudiger gets in between Timothy Castagne and Wilfred Ndidi to meet the ball in the air and guide a header into the far back corner. Chelsea lead!
Goal Disallowed! Leicester 0 – 1 Chelsea (26’)
26 mins: Leicester score! Jamie Vardy receives the ball and has a one-on-one versus Thiago Silva. He tries to weave around the defender but can’t get into the box. Instead, he lays the ball off the Albrighton who swings a nice cross towards the back post where Ademola Lookman arrives and turns the ball into the back of the net! The offside flag goes up immediately and replays show Lookman just strayed off as he started his run. Encouraging signs for Leicester though.
⚽️GOAL! Leicester 0 – 2 Chelsea (Kante, 28’)
28 mins: Pure class from N’Golo Kante! Chelsea work the ball down the right-wing before James passes it inside to Kante. There’s a ton of space behind the Leicester midfield and Kante drives the ball across the pitch. The centre-backs drop away from him and Kante slots a left-footed effort from outside the box into the near bottom corner! Great finish.
⚽️GOAL! Leicester 0 – 3 (Pulisic, 71’)
71 mins: Pulisic scores this time! Thiago Silva gets the move going with a cool pass to Chalobah who threads the ball up to Ziyech on the right side. He brings it into the box before picking out Pulisic with a short pass into the six-yard box. Pulisic takes a touch and then pokes the ball through the legs of Schmeichel. 3-0 to Chelsea.
Goal Disallowed! Leicester 0 – 3 Chelsea (75’)
75 mins: Chelsea have another goal disallowed as Ziyech and Pulisic combine again to take the ball into the box. A deflected shot comes out to Hudson-Odoi who taps it at the back post to score only for the offside flag to go up and chalk it off.
A minor concern for Thomas Tuchel sees Jorginho pull up and hobble off the pitch as he’s replaced with Ruben Loftus-Cheek for the final 15 minutes or so.
▪ Six points clear at the top of the Premier League ▪ Nine games unbeaten in all competitions ▪ 30 goals scored, four conceded in the league
These teams are involved in European action in midweek. Chelsea host Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday before Leicester host Legia Warsaw in a crucial Europa League game on Thursday.
The Foxes have yet another game at the King Power Stadium when they return to Premier League action on Sunday. Later that afternoon, Chelsea are back at Stamford Bridge for a Super Sunday clash with Manchester United.
Kevin De Bruyne has tested positive for coronavirus while on international duty with Belgium; Manchester City midfielder is self-isolating for 10 days, says manager Pep Guardiola; De Bruyne will miss matches against Everton and Paris Saint-Germain.
The 30-year-old playmaker has been away on World Cup qualifying duty with his country, helping Roberto Martinez’s side to book their place at Qatar 2022.
He is, however, about to take another enforced break at club level, with Pep Guardiola also waiting to discover whether Jack Grealish and Phil Foden will be ready to face Everton on Sunday following their respective efforts with England.
De Bruyne, who is vaccinated, scored for Belgium in their World Cup qualifying draw with Wales on Tuesday. “The symptoms will be minor hopefully,” said City manager Pep Guardiola.
“As soon as possible, he can come back. We do not worry about what we are going to miss. The person is more important. We have to help him and hope it goes well while he’s isolated.”
Hey! The international break has finally gone, do you miss league games? Time to have a preview of key matches this weekend!
Liverpool vs Arsenal
20.11.2021 17:30 (utc)
Liverpool saw their 20-game unbeaten run in the top flight come to a sudden halt prior to the international break, going down 3-2 to West Ham. That makes welcoming opponents Arsenal to Anfield all the more enticing, with just two points separating them coming into the weekend, and as Liverpool’s last three league defeats have now come against London clubs!
The ‘Reds’ currently boast a nine-game unbeaten league home run (W5, D4), albeit having drawn their last two despite taking the lead in both games. The four points dropped in those two matches are as many as they surrendered from winning positions in their previous 23 league games at Anfield. A visit from Arsenal could therefore be the tonic for Liverpool to get back on track, as the Merseysiders have won the last five home league H2Hs, finding the net at least three times on all occasions. But Arsenal are one of the league’s most in-form teams at the moment as Mikel Arteta’s youth-oriented strategy finally seems to be uniting fans of the team. Their current eight-game unbeaten streak (W6, D2) is actually the longest of all PL clubs and you have to go back to August to December 2018 to find the last time they embarked on a longer top-flight run without defeat. After the hysteria surrounding starting the season with three defeats, the ‘Gunners’ have catapulted themselves to the cusp of the top four. They’ve kept three consecutive PL clean sheets on their travels and are now on the verge of securing four successive top-flight away shutouts for the first time since May 2005. That’s a big ask here though, as they’ve won only one of the last 12 league H2Hs against Liverpool (D4, L7), keeping one clean sheet in that time. Players to watch: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has seven goal contributions in five home PL games against Arsenal (G5, A2), whose in-form youngster Emile Smith Rowe has seen four of his six PL goals arrive in the first 30 minutes of play. Hot stat: Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp’s average of 2.18 points per game against Arsenal is the third-highest points per game ratio of all managers who have faced Arsenal 5+ times in the PL.
Match Facts & Betting Odds
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Liverpool’s last 8 games (Premier League). Over 2.5 goals 1.50 Liverpool have scored at least 2 goals in their last 8 matches (Premier League). Over 1.5 goals 1.16 Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in their last 3 away matches (Premier League). Arsenal win or draw 2.62 Liverpool are undefeated in their last 10 home matches against Arsenal in all competitions. Liverpool win or draw 1.11 Liverpool are undefeated in their last 9 home matches (Premier League). Liverpool win or draw 1.11 Arsenal have won their last 3 matches (Premier League). Arsenal win 6.50 There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Arsenal’s last 3 away games (Premier League). Under 2.5 goals 2.62
Opera Football Prediction
Liverpool suffered their first defeat of the season last time out before the international break, losing 3-2 away to West Ham in a thrilling game. Arsenal now hold the longest unbeaten run in the division as a result, eight games without defeat in the Premier League. Liverpool remain favourites but they haven’t been as solid at the back this season as normal. They are struggling to get the right balance in midfield without Gini Wijnaldum. Liverpool have won their last five home league matches against Arsenal but Mikel Arteta’s side will give them a tough game on current form. So, Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal
Leicester City vs Chelsea
20.11.2021 12:30 (utc)
Things aren’t quite right at Leicester City with their pre-season expectation to challenge the top four currently off-track as they languish in the bottom half of the Premier League (PL) standings. Compounding matters further for the hosts is the fact that manager Brendan Rodgers is heavily linked with a move away from the club, stirring further unrest amongst their ranks. An optimistic fan would point to Leicester beginning this weekend just five points off the top five and being unbeaten in five of their last six PL games (W2, D3, L1). However, if Rodgers’ record against high-flying Chelsea is anything to go by, this will be a tough afternoon for the hosts (W2, D8, L8) though those outings are usually tight affairs, with eight of the last ten producing two or fewer total goals.
The international break came at the perfect time for title-chasing Chelsea, who had dropped points for just the third time this season prior with a frustrating 1-1 home draw against Burnley. Boss Thomas Tuchel also had a lengthy list of injuries to contend with and the break has given those individuals time to step up their recovery efforts ahead of the PL return. Extremely solid when playing away, Chelsea have picked up 13 of a possible 15 points on their travels so far (W4, D1) and are one of just two unbeaten PL away sides, alongside Brighton. That form has been built on a solid defensive unit that has conceded just once across five PL away games this campaign. Players to watch: Leicester’s Patson Daka became the first Zambian to score in the PL after his strike here just last month, he also netted over the international break. Another player who scored for their country during the break was Chelsea and Germany star Kai Havertz; he’s led the line in the absence of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner. Hot stat: No PL side has picked up fewer yellow cards than Chelsea’s 12 this season (1.09 per match on average).
Match Facts & Betting Odds
Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in their last 3 away matches (Premier League). Chelsea win or draw 1.18 Chelsea have won their last 3 away matches (Premier League). Chelsea win1.75 Leicester have conceded at least 2 goals in their last 3 home matches (Premier League). Over 1.5 goals1.30
Opera Football Prediction
Leicester are winless in three (D2, L1) and are already seven points adrift of fourth place. Chelsea are three points clear at the top of the Premier League but dropped points to Burnley last time out. Chelsea have only won one of their last four away to Leicester but will be considered favourites here.
So, Leicester 0-1 Chelsea.
Barcelona vs Espanyol
21.11.2021 20:00 (utc)
Club legend Xavi Hernández returns to Barcelona, but this time in the dugout, as he’s charged with turning around what is the club’s second lowest 12-game La Liga (LL) points tally in the 21st century. Their 3-3 draw (after being 3-0 up) against Celta Vigo before the international break extended Barça’s winless LL streak (D2, L2) and summed up the on-field problems and morale-sapping results that Xavi must now address.
The new boss couldn’t have chosen a better first game than the ‘Derbi Barceloní’, as Barcelona are unbeaten in 22 LL matches against city rivals Espanyol (W17, D5) – their longest-ever undefeated H2H streak against their derby foes. As Xavi plots a way to make the Nou Camp a fortress again, he’ll expect to extend Barcelona’s 11-game winning LL H2H home run. H2H history can only get you so far though, and what Espanyol have is improving form in their corner with three wins across six LL games (W3, D2, L1) – as many victories as they managed across their previous 25 LL fixtures. Three points here will actually propel Espanyol above Barcelona, and possibly heal some of the wounds of a 1-0 loss here back in July 2020 that relegated the visitors. Alternating between draw and defeat on the road since the start of the season (D3, L3), gaining a first win at the Nou Camp since February 2009 – a match that saw Barça boss Xavi play in midfield – seems a stretch of the imagination. However a stalemate would add to Espanyol’s H2H draw record of 38, which is more than they have recorded against any other LL opponent. Key battle: Barça’s Marc-André ter Stegen has gone six LL games without a clean sheet, but does have a joint-personal best of seven H2H LL clean sheets to his name. He will have to stop red-hot Raúl de Tomás who is looking to become only the second Espanyol player in the 21st century to score in six consecutive LL games. Hot stat: No side has seen more match goals (eight) beyond the 80th minute in LL home games than Barcelona.
Barcelona have kept a clean sheet in their last 5 home matches against Espanyol in all competitions. Barcelona win or draw 1.08 Espanyol have failed to win their last 15 away matches (LaLiga). Espanyol lose or draw 1.08 Barcelona have seen under 2.5 goals in their last 4 home matches against Espanyol in all competitions. Under 2.5 goals 2.37 Barcelona have won 5 of their last 6 home matches against Espanyol in all competitions. Barcelona win 1.36 Espanyol have conceded at least 2 goals in their last 4 away matches (LaLiga). Over 1.5 goals 1.20
Opera Football Prediction
It has been a busy international break for Barcelona, who appointed legendary midfielder Xavi Hernandez as their new head coach and brought back another favourite in Dani Alves, although the experienced full-back can’t play until January. Barca head into the derby with Espanyol in pretty poor form, and are currently ninth in the table. They blew a three-goal lead last time out against Celta Vigo to draw 3-3, conceding in stoppage time. Before that, they did manage beat Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League, but even that followed a disappointing draw with Alaves in La Liga. Espanyol picked up an impressive 2-0 win last time out over a resurgent Granada thanks to goals from Raul de Tomas and Adria Pedrosa. It was an important response from Vicente Moreno’s men after suffering a defeat to bottom club Getafe. Espanyol have won three of their last six and only lost once, so they come into this game in very good form, although Xavi’s homecoming at Camp Nou has a Barcelona win written all over it. So, Barcelona 2-0 Espanyol
Watford vs Manchester United
20.11.2021 15:00 (utc)
Claudio Ranieri hasn’t quite enjoyed the ‘new manager bounce’ Watford fans were hoping for, winning just one of his four Premier League (PL) matches in charge (L3). This contributed to his side heading into the international break only two points above the drop zone, hardly ideal with Manchester United up next, especially as they’ve suffered more PL defeats against them than any other side (W2, L12). If the ‘Hornets’ are to get back on the right side of the results, then rediscovering their threat in front of goal will be key. They’ve failed to score in a joint league-high seven matches this season, a problem that’s amplified when you’re averaging 1.73 goals against per game. Yet it’s worth noting that they did win and bag 3+ goals in three of the four matches that they did score, suggesting any win could be via a thriller. With manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær still under mounting pressure, Manchester United won’t care how they win, just as long as they do. However, the ‘Red Devils’ boast only one PL success across their last six encounters (D1, L4), with those four defeats representing as many as they had in their previous 40 matches in the competition (W24, D12). Although the visitors hold a dominant H2H record against the hosts, recent issues overcoming newly-promoted sides will be causing Solskjær serious angst. United are winless in their last three PL matches against newly-promoted teams (D3) and could go four without a win in such matches for the first time since 1997! Players to watch: Josh King scored a hat-trick in Watford’s last goalscoring match, and he’s netted in two of his last three games vs United. Across spells with Real Madrid and Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 20 goals in his last 14 league games against promoted teams. Hot stat: Watford are without a clean sheet in 21 PL matches, that’s their longest ever run without one in the top flight.
Match Facts & Betting Odds
Man Utd have won 15 of their last 17 matches against Watford in all competitions. Man Utd win 1.45 Man Utd are undefeated in 30 of their last 31 away matches (Premier League). Man Utd win or draw 1.11 Man Utd have been winning at both half time and full time in 7 of their last 8 matches against Watford in all competitions. Man Utd win/win 2.30 There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Man Utd’s last 3 away games (Premier League). Over 2.5 goals 1.66 Man Utd have scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 away matches (Premier League). Over 1.5 goals 1.20
Opera Football Prediction
Watford have lost three of Claudio Ranieri’s first four matches in charge. After a shock 5-2 win away to Everton, Watford have suffered back-to-back 1-0 defeats to Southampton and Arsenal. The international break came at the right time for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, though the pressure is still on. Supporters are quickly losing faith after a very bad start to the season. United have lost four of their last six in the Premier League and have generally struggled at Vicarage Road in recent times. United have conceded in each of their last seven matches away to Watford and only have two clean sheets in two of 11 league matches this season. It looks like they’ll have to do it the hard away again here. So, Watford 1-1 Man Utd
Manchester City vs Everton
21.11.2021 14:00 (utc)
Manchester City are one of just three clubs ever to successfully defend a Premier League (PL) crown, though only Manchester United have retained PL titles on more than one occasion. Yet, with City beating United themselves just before the international break, they will feel confident of building on that and keeping pace with the title race, especially after eight successive wins against opponents Everton across all competitions. After a shock home defeat to Crystal Palace late last month, City will target a strong start, as they last failed to win a PL home game after scoring in the opening 15 minutes back in September 2020. Another loss certainly seems unthinkable, with City never losing successive home league games in front of attending fans under Pep Guardiola (2016/17-present). Everton’s last game before the November international break (0-0 vs Tottenham) saw them record their first clean sheet since September 25. The same result would be a huge boost to the mid-table ‘Toffees’, though they’ve not kept successive PL clean sheets since May. Following a 5-0 defeat here on the final weekend of 2020/21, Everton’s last away win against City dates back to December 2010. That hoodoo looks set to survive, though neither of Everton’s last two away league clashes against a reigning champion (W1, L1) have seen them fail to cover a +1 handicap. Key battle: Man City’s Phil Foden scored in both league H2Hs last term, whilst four of his last six PL goals have been second in the overall order on the day. Though personally goalless since September 2017, former City man Fabian Delph may be a worthy foe for him in the centre of the park, after a strong performance against Spurs earlier this month. Hot streak: City’s last six PL wins by 2+ goals have seen them score inside the first 15 minutes.
Man City have won their last 8 matches against Everton in all competitions. Man City win 1.14 Man City have scored at least 2 goals in their last 8 matches against Everton in all competitions. Over 1.5 goals 1.14 Man City have seen over 2.5 goals in their last 3 home matches against Everton in all competitions. Over 2.5 goals 1.44 There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Man City’s last 3 home games (Premier League). Under 2.5 goals 2.75 Man City are undefeated in 9 of their last 10 matches (Premier League). Man City win or draw 1.02 Everton have failed to win their last 5 matches (Premier League). Everton lose or draw 1.02
Opera Football Prediction
Manchester City bounced back from a 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace with an easy 2-0 win over Manchester United before the international break. They start the weekend 3 points behind the leaders Chelsea. Everton are winless in 5 league matches and have lost 3 times in that spell. They have won one of five away league matches this season. So, Man City 3-0 Everton
Tottenham vs Leeds
21.11.2021 16:30 (utc)
The weekend’s Premier League (PL) action concludes with what should be an entertaining 100th competitive clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United. Around 8,000 fans watched on as Tottenham won 2-1 in the first edition of this game at the old White Hart Lane back in 1925 and new manager Antonio Conte would surely take a repeat of that result here on what is his home league debut as Spurs boss. The highly-coveted Italian manager will be confident of getting his tenure off to a flyer as he won at least once against each of the 53 teams he faced across his prior Serie A and PL appointments. However, he will need to get Tottenham scoring in order to achieve that feat in what will be his first meeting with Leeds, as only Norwich have netted fewer than their nine PL goals this term while they are now without a goal in three straight league games! Leeds are another side desperately struggling for goals, as only Tottenham and Norwich have scored fewer than their 11 in the league so far. As a consequence, there’s already been unwanted talk of ‘second-season syndrome’ at the club as their cult hero manager Marcelo Bielsa looks to steer the off-colour ‘Lilywhites’ away from the relegation dogfight. While Leeds gained a confidence boost when winning their first away league game of the season at rock-bottom Norwich, the quality of the opponents there will leave fans under no illusions that they should temper their expectations here. They may well score as they did in five of the last seven away H2Hs, though victory in this game would be their first at Spurs since 2001 (D1, L4 since). Players to watch: Harry Kane should return to Spurs full of confidence after scoring seven goals in two games across the international break for England. Meanwhile, Leeds forward Rodrigo has scored twice in his three career appearances against Tottenham, both coming in 3-1 victories. Hot stat: Tottenham haven’t had a shot on target in two straight PL games.
Opera Football Prediction
Tottenham failed to have a shot on target for the second league game running in their 0-0 draw at Everton prior to the international break but will be confident of getting back among the goals when they welcome a Leeds side that has conceded 18 times to north London. The Whites secured an important victory in their last away game, returning to Yorkshire from Norwich with all the spoils. However, they are winless in their last five trips to Spurs, losing four, including a 3-0 defeat here at the beginning of the year. Antonio Conte will have worked those not on international duty hard at Hotspur Way and as he aims to get his ideas across, Spurs could make it two wins from three under their new boss in Sunday’s afternoon encounter. So, Tottenham 2-1 Leeds
Wolves vs West Ham
Wolverhampton Wanderers will be itching to return from the international break to right some wrongs after forfeiting their five-game undefeated streak (W4, D1) in the Premier League (PL) by losing 2-0 to Crystal Palace last time out. In hindsight though, even Wolves will be happy with their recent recovery after a shaky start to the season, and it seems consistency is eventually paying off after using just 18 different players in the league, the joint fewest of any team. Boss Bruno Lage and his men will likely be happy to return to Molineux after winning their last two home PL fixtures, as many as they’ve managed in the nine such fixtures prior (L7). They now chase a hat-trick of home top-flight league victories for the first time since November 1980. They’ll welcome current PL high-flyers West Ham who must still be on cloud nine after their 3-2 win over Liverpool before the international hiatus put them into third place. That monumental win was their fourth PL victory in a row – the longest winning streak in the league – and they’ll now aim to win five PL games on the bounce for the first time since February 2006. The ‘Hammers’ have been breaking down doors on their travels lately, as their current 11-game unbeaten streak away from home in all competitions (W8, D3) is their longest ever undefeated away run as a top-flight club. They did the league double over their hosts last season, which was their first time doing so since 1922/23 – the same season in which West Ham last won back-to-back away league matches at Wolves! Players to watch: Wolves’ Raúl Jiménez has seen 14 of his last 17 PL goals arrive in the second half, while West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen scored three goals in the two PL H2H matches last season, and has now averaged a goal every 77 minutes vs Wolves across three PL H2Hs. Hot stat: No side has scored more set-piece goals (excluding penalties) than West Ham’s six this PL campaign.
Match Facts & Odds
West Ham have won their last 4 matches (Premier League). West Ham win 2.40 Wolves have scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 home matches against West Ham in all competitions. Over 1.5 goals 1.33
Opera Football Prediction Wolves’ five-game unbeaten streak came to an end last time out in a 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace. Wolves are yet to keep a clean sheet at home in the Premier League this season. West Ham have won six of their last seven after beating Liverpool 3-2 before the break. With six goals conceded over their last three games, West Ham are not watertight at the back either. Nine goals have been scored across the last two meetings between the sides so we should expect another entertaining affair here. So, Wolves 1-2 West Ham?
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The Three Lions had required only a solitary point to guarantee qualification but they got more than the point they needed to reach Qatar, via a 10-0 win over Europe’s worst minnows. Qualification for England was nothing more than just a mere formality, such that it feels the result should barely even be mentioned.
Tottenham Hotspurs hitman Harry Kane struck four times on the night to edge closer to breaking the all-time national scoring record held by Wayne Rooney. It also marked the second time he scored back-to-back hat tricks, following his exploits against Albania in the penultimate game.
Harry Kane’s goals – two of them penalties – saw him move level with Gary Lineker on 48 goals in England’s all-time list and five behind Wayne Rooney. The game also saw Manchester United defender Harry Maguire score in successive matches, while Tammy Abraham registered his name on the scoresheet.
There were several other records racked up on the night. It marked the first time that England hit double-figures in a game since 1964. It was actually only the third time that had happened since the second world war.
While this was England’s second biggest ever victory, the record for their largest margin of victory still remains the 13-0 hammering of Ireland in the 19th century – precisely in the year 1882. For the record, Harry Maguire became the highest-scoring defender in the country’s history – following his headed effort, while the duo of Emile Smith Rowe and Tyrone Mings got their first international goals.
The hosts had Dante Rossi sent off because of a handball incident, but other than that, it was an encounter which had the perceived outcome of an England victory even before the start of the game.
England may have grown in leaps and bounds since current manager Gareth Southgate took the reins and while they might fancy their chance in Qatar next year, they are still not the favourites to clinch a first world title since 1966.
European champions Italy missed out on automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Northern Ireland on Monday.
The Azzurri went into their final Group C qualification clash knowing they needed to win by enough goals to stay ahead of Switzerland to claim a place at next year’s finals in Qatar.
With the Swiss earning a 4-0 victory over Bulgaria in Lucerne, only a win by a three-goal margin would have been enough for Italy but they could not find a way past a determined Irish side and had to settle for a March playoff spot.
The playoffs do not hold fond memories for Italy, who failed to make the 2018 World Cup after losing to Sweden over two legs. Only three playoff teams out of 12 qualify for the finals.
“We can’t do anything about it now, we have this game in March and will try to give our best,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini told RAI Sport.
“At the moment we are struggling to score goals, despite dominating possession. Northern Ireland put everyone in defence and we struggle to break sides like that down.”
It was clear from the start that it was not going to be an easy task for an injury-hit Italy, who began the match without a recognised striker in the absence of Ciro Immobile.
Northern Ireland had not conceded a goal at home in their previous four qualifiers and set up to frustrate the Italians, despite being unable to qualify for the finals themselves.
Mancini threw on several other forward options as he looked to boost his side’s attacking threat, but the home team, in truth, never looked troubled.
Italy go into the March playoffs despite finishing their World Cup qualification campaign unbeaten — four draws since their Euro 2020 success being their downfall.
Premier League basement boys Norwich City have officially announced the appointment of Dean Smith on a two-and-a-half year deal.
The 50 year-old will now succeed the sacked Daniel Farke, and is saddled with the task of preventing the club from going to relegation – with the Canaries currently bottom of the Premier League, five points adrift of safety. Also, Craig Shakespeare who worked with Smith at Aston Villa, will join him as his assistant at Carrow Road.
Dean Smith is set to make history as the first man to take charge of successive Premier League matches against the same opponent with different teams, after being sacked by Aston Villa following a home defeat to Southampton. Smith’s first game in charge will be at home to Southampton on Saturday, 20 November.
Smith spent three years at Aston Villa and in that time, guided them to promotion from the Championship and reached the Carabao Cup final. But things at the club did not improve this season, with captain Jack Grealish departing for defending champions Manchester City for 100 million pounds. The team also lost five consecutive league games and have only ten points – just two points from the drop zone.
It is left to be seen whether Smith can keep Norwich up, following their terrible start to the season but his experience may just be the difference in the end. Norwich dismissed former boss Daniel Farke on 6th November despite a win away at Brentford, which was the club’s first league victory of the campaign.
Following Dean Smith’s appointment, Canaries sporting director Stuart Webber said: “I have admired his work for some time and he has been a long-term target in the event that we needed to appoint a new head coach.” Former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard also held talks with the Canaries, but pulled out of the running.
Xavi’s first signing as manager of Barcelona is his former teammate Dani Alves. Alves joins his former side as a free agent after being out of contract since leaving Sao Paulo in his native Brazil in September 2021.
According to Marca, Xavi approved Barca’s negotiations with the Brazilian on Friday afternoon and within a few hours, there was an update from highly acclaimed journalist Fabrizio Romano that Xavi would join the Catalan giants.
Alves had a trophy-laden first stint at Camp Nou which saw him win a total of 23 trophies between 2008 and 2016. He had 3 Champions League winners medals and 6 La Liga winners medals in the colours of Barcelona.
There are reports that the signing of Xavi is to help add a leader to the Spanish outfit in order to boost their performances. His contract with Barcelona will include a clause to extend the deal until June 2023. Alves would train with the team but would be eligible to play from January 2022.
Alves is the most decorated player in world football, having enjoyed success at a number of clubs. As well as Barcelona and Sao Paulo, he has represented Bahia, Sevilla, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.