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Premier League

Bullet point previews of Premier League matches

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Match-by-match facts and statistics ahead of the next round of Premier League fixtures from April 29-May 2 (all times GMT):

Saturday, April 29

Crystal Palace v West Ham United (1130)

* Palace, who beat West Ham 2-1 at the London Stadium in November, are looking to complete their third Premier League double over David Moyes’s side, having achieved the feat in the 2013-14 and 2019-20 seasons.

* West Ham have lost one of their last eight away league games against Crystal Palace (W5 D2). West Ham won 3-2 on their last two visits to Selhurst Park.

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* Palace have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 17 league games against West Ham.

Brentford v Nottingham Forest (1400)

* Brentford have won one of their last six league games against Nottingham Forest (D2 L3). The only Premier League meeting between the sides ended in a 2-2 draw in November.

* Brentford have won both of their home league games against newly-promoted sides this season, beating Fulham 3-2 in March and winning 2-0 against Bournemouth in January.

* Forest have lost their last six league away games, conceding at least two goals in each of those defeats.

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Brighton & Hove Albion v Wolverhampton Wanderers (1400)

* Following their 3-2 win at Molineux in November, Brighton are looking to complete a league double over Wolves for the first time since 2016-17.

* Wolves, who beat Brighton 1-0 in this fixture last season, have never won consecutive away league games against Brighton.

* Wolves are winless in their last five away games (D2 L3).

Sunday, April 30

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Manchester United v Aston Villa (1300)

* Villa have won two of their last three games against United (D1), as many as they had in their previous 51.

* Following their 3-1 win at Villa Park in November, Villa are looking to complete a first league double over United since 1954-55.

* Villa are unbeaten in their last 10 league games (W8 D2).

Fulham v Manchester City (1300)

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* Fulham have not beaten Manchester City in 15 previous league meetings (D3 L12).

* City have won their last 13 matches against Fulham in all competitions.

* Fulham have lost five of their last seven league games (W2).

Bournemouth v Leeds United (1300)

* This is Bournemouth’s first home league game against Leeds since a 3-1 defeat in the second-tier Championship in 2014.

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* Leeds have won 10 of their 13 league games against Bournemouth (D2 L1).

* Each of Bournemouth’s last six Premier League home goals has been scored by a different player.

Newcastle United v Southampton (1300)

* Newcastle have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League games against Southampton (W7 D3).

* Southampton have won just one of their last 17 Premier League away games against Newcastle (D4 L12).

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* No side has lost fewer Premier League home games than Newcastle this season.

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur (1530)

* Liverpool have lost just one of their last 20 Premier League games against Spurs (W13 D6).

* Six of Tottenham’s last seven Premier League goals against Liverpool have been scored by either Harry Kane (three) or Son Heung-min (three).

* Mohamed Salah has been involved in 11 goals in his last eight home games in all competitions (eight goals, three assists), scoring at least once in each of his last six.

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Monday, May 1

Leicester City v Everton (1900)

* Following their 2-0 win at Goodison Park in November, Leicester are looking to complete the Premier League double over Everton for only the second time.

* Leicester manager Dean Smith has won four and lost none of his six Premier League meetings with Everton.

* Everton have won their last two Premier League away games against Leicester – they have never won three consecutive visits to the Foxes in their league history.

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Tuesday, May 2

Arsenal v Chelsea (1900)

* Arsenal have won four of their last five Premier League games against Chelsea (L1), as many as they had in their previous 23 against them (D6 L13).

* Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka has been directly involved in 16 goals in his 16 Premier League home games this season (nine goals, seven assists).

* Chelsea have lost 11 of their 26 Premier League matches since Thomas Tuchel departed (W7 D8), as many as they lost in their 63 games under the German between January 2021 and September 2022 (W35 D17 L11).

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-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Premier League

June 12 relief for Ten Hag…to stay at Old Trafford

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Manchester United Can Still Finish Fourth, Says Erik Ten Hag -

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will remain in the job for next season and has entered into talks with the Old Trafford club over a contract extension despite the team’s lowest ever Premier League finish of eighth, British media reported.

The decision comes after an end-of-season review by the club’s board for the 2023-24 campaign, which finished on a high with a shock FA Cup final win over favourites Manchester City.

Ten Hag’s contract runs until the end of next season, with the club having the option of extending it a further 12 months.

Former Ajax Amsterdam coach Ten Hag had come under increasing pressure after 20-times English champions United suffered their worst start to a season since 1962-63 with eight defeats in their first 15 matches in all competitions.

They ended up eighth after 14 defeats in their 38 league games and bowed out of the Champions League in the group phase.

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Ten Hag’s job security had been the subject of speculation all season and many pundits believed the FA Cup final would be the Dutchman’s last game with the team, win or lose.

But moments after their thrilling triumph, the 54-year-old insisted he had no doubt he would be back and said he had received the backing of the club’s owners all season.

“I’m in a project and we are exactly where we want to be. We’re constructing a team. When I took over it was a mess at United, and we are on our way to construct a team for the future,” he told reporters at Wembley.

“The team is developing, the team is winning and the team also plays to an identity. What you need to play is to be available, you need a strong squad in top football, and especially when you play in England, the Premier League is so competitive.”

INJURY WOES

Ten Hag pointed to United’s revolving door of injuries last term, the most of any Premier League team and concentrated in key positions such as central defence.

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He also spoke about the breakout seasons of young players such as midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who is part of England’s Euro 2024 squad in Germany, and Argentina winger Alejandro Garnacho.

In Ten Hag’s two seasons in charge, United have played in three Wembley finals and lifted two trophies, having also won last season’s League Cup.

Media reports said that all eventualities were considered in the club’s post-season review and the clear preference was for Ten Hag to remain in charge at Old Trafford.

Among coaches linked to the job as potential replacements were Thomas Tuchel and England manager Gareth Southgate.

Ten Hag is United’s fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 as the club have searched for someone to lead them back to the heights of their glory years.

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He guided United to third in the league in his debut season

-Reuters

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Another Nigerian blood to flow in Chelsea veins

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Carabao Cup - Quarter Final - Everton v Fulham - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - December 19, 2023 Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo celebrates after the match REUTERS/Carl Recine

Chelsea have signed centre back Tosin Adarabioyo from fellow west London club Fulham on a free transfer, the Premier League side announced on Friday.

Adarabioyo, a former England youth international is of Nigerian descent. He is the latest Nigerian linked with Chlesea after Celestine Babayaro, Mikel Obi and Victor Moses among others.

The 26-year-old Adarabioyo who will join the Stamford Bridge side on a four-year contract beginning on July 1, has made one appearance for the England Under-19s and has played 78 times in the Premier League.

He is the first player to join Chelsea since they announced the arrival of new head coach Enzo Maresca, opens new tab earlier this week, and will bolster their options at centre back following the departure of veteran Thiago Silva.

“We are delighted to bring Tosin to Chelsea,” Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said.

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“Throughout his career, he has showcased his maturity and defensive qualities and has gained a wealth of experience in the Premier League in recent seasons.

“He is ready to make the step up to Chelsea and work alongside the talented players in our squad. We look forward to Tosin joining up with us for pre-season.”

Chelsea are looking to revive their fortunes under Maresca after finishing sixth in the standings last season.

“I’m looking forward to starting work with Enzo and I’m sure the boys are too,” Adarabioyo said.

“It’s going to be exciting. We’re going to play good football and win a lot of games. There are top players in this squad and I’m eager to play with them all.”

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-Reuters

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Nigerian-born Ogbonna leaves West Ham after nine-year stay

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Premier League - West Ham United v Luton Town - London Stadium, London, Britain - May 11, 2024 West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna applauds fans as he is substituted REUTERS/Tony Obrien/File Photo

West Ham United centre back Angelo Ogbonna is leaving the club after nine years in east London, the Premier League side said on Wednesday.

Ogbonna was born to Nigerian parents who emigrated to Italy from Nigeria in 1983, settling in the city of Cassino in the central part of the country, but managed to obtain Italian citizenship only after his 18th birthday. He is now 36.

The  Italy international made 201 Premier League appearances for the club and was part of their Europa Conference League-winning side last year.

The former Juventus player struggled with several injuries during his time at West Ham, including a cruciate ligament tear suffered in 2021 that kept him out for almost a year.

“When he was not playing, Ogbonna was always a willing supporter of the club’s community work,” West Ham said in a statement. “He will always be a beloved member of the West Ham United family

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-Reuters

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