Archive for August 10th, 2015

Match Preview Barcelona vs. Sevilla

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Ivan Rakitic believes Barcelona is in good shape to begin the season with victory in the UEFA Super Cup over his former club Sevilla.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic is full of confidence that his side can claim the first trophy of a possible sextuple when it faces Sevilla in Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup in Tbilisi.

Spain’s strength in European club football was underlined by the respective successes of Barca and Sevilla in the Champions League and Europa League finals at the end of last season.

Sevilla defended the title with a 3-2 victory over Dnipro, while Barca completed the treble thanks to a 3-1 triumph over Juventus.

Barca has recent experience of glory on this occasion, with victories in 2011 and 2009, although the club was defeated 3-0 by Sevilla in the 2006 showpiece.

Rakitic, who moved to Camp Nou from Sevilla in 2014, believes the Catalan giant can enjoy a repeat of 2009, when the club lifted six trophies.

“Nobody wants to do that more than we do,” he said. “But we have to take things each step at a time. And the first chance is on Tuesday in Tbilisi. We are confident in ourselves and in our strengths. We’ll work even harder than we did last year. But we know that there will be hard times this season too.

“We’ve got a strong team and I just try to be myself. I like taking on responsibilities, as I have done at all the clubs I’ve played for. My role won’t change because Xavi has gone. I am Rakitic and I provide my own virtues.”

Barca will be without Neymar, who has been diagnosed with mumps, while Adriano, Douglas, and Jordi Alba are all injured.

Sevilla’s Michael Krohn-Dehli, a fresh arrival from Celta Vigo in the offseason, concedes his side is the underdog, and that Tuesday’s clash may come too soon for all the new signings to gel.

“Maybe yes, maybe no. We will find out after the game,” he said. “It’s true that with so many new players we need a bit of time to adapt and get to know each other. In any case, we are ready to go out and play well and we want to win.

“They [Barca] have won the league, the cup and the Champions League. However, last season as a Celta player I was able to win at Camp Nou. In a game you always have a chance.”

NaijaBet Odds

As at this post Barcelona has 1.35  odd to win the match on NaijaBet while Manchester City has 7.28 odd to win the match also, while the odd to draw the match is 5.05


match preview West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester City

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Manuel Pellegrini has enjoyed the twin boost of a new contract and 2014/15 Barclays Golden Boot winner Sergio Aguero returning to fitness ahead of Manchester City’s Barclays Premier League opener at West Bromwich Albion.

On Friday, it was announced that Pellegrini, who guided City to the 2013/14 BPL title, had signed a new two-year deal running until the end of the 2016-17 campaign.

The Chilean should be further boosted by the presence of Aguero taking his place in the City line-up.

Aguero scored 26 times in 33 Barclays Premier League appearances last term but, along with attacking midfielders David Silva and Samir Nasri, found himself struck down with a sickness bug this week.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Pellegrini confirmed that Aguero and Silva have fully recovered, although doubts remain over Nasri.

“Aguero is working at 100 per cent and so is Silva – Nasri is just returning,” he said.

Pellegrini had been expected to hold back Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis and Fernandinho from the season opener following their exploits in the Copa America, but last weekend’s 4-2 friendly defeat to Stuttgart appears to have forced a rethink.

Raheem Sterling could join Aguero and Silva in a fluid three-man forward line, although the England attacker’s fellow close-season recruit Fabian Delph will miss out due to a hamstring injury.

On Sterling, Pellegrini added: “[He has been] very, very good.

“The media have been talking about the price, but he’s an English player, young, with quality, speed and technical ability. He will improve every year playing with the likes of Yaya [Toure], Silva, Kun [Aguero], they will help him.”

Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry joined West Brom on loan on Friday to become Tony Pulis’ fourth major close-season signing.

Fellow wideman James McClean could supply the ammunition to Rickie Lambert, who ended a difficult spell with hometown club Liverpool and will hope to form a formidable forward partnership with Saido Berahino, Albion’s top scorer last season.

James Chester will remain in the BPL, having moved to The Hawthorns from relegated Hull City, while fellow defenders Joleon Lescott and Gareth McAuley (calf) are expected to shake off knocks to feature on Monday.

Ben Foster remains on the sidelines with a cruciate knee ligament injury, meaning Boaz Myhill is expected to start in goal for the hosts.

West Bromwich Albion (from): Myhill, Davidson, Dawson, Gamboa, Lescott, McAuley, Olsson, Pocognoli, Chester, Brunt, Fletcher, Gardner, McManaman, Morrison, Sessegnon, Yacob, Gnabry, McClean Anichebe, Berahino, Ideye, Lambert, Nabi

Manchester City (from): Caballero, Hart, Wright, Denayer, Demichelis, Kolarov, Kompany, Mangala, Sagna, Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Fernando, Zuculini, Evans, Nasri, Navas, Silva, Toure, Sterling, Lopes, Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho, Pozo

Match Appointments
Mike Dean Assistants: S Long, M Perry Fourth Official: M Clattenburg

Match Facts
Manchester City have won five of their last six season-openers in the Barclays Premier League (D1).
West Bromwich Albion’s last five season-openers have been played at The Hawthorns, with their only win in this run coming against Liverpool in 2012/13 (D1 L2).
The Citizens have won four of their last five BPL visits to West Brom (D1).
The eventual Barclays Premier League title winning team has started their season on Monday night in each of the past five seasons.

NaijaBET Odds

As at this post West Bromwich has 5.13 odd to win the match on NaijaBet while Manchester City has 1.61 odd to win the match also, while the odd to draw the match is 3.86