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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 May 20-May 22 (all times GMT):

Saturday, May 20

Tottenham Hotspur v Brentford (1130)

* Spurs have not lost to Brentford since 1948 when both teams were in the second division.

* Brentford are unbeaten in their last eight London derbies in the league.

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* Spurs striker Harry Kane has scored in 24 league games this season and needs to score in one more to set the record for most matches scored in for a 38-game season.

Bournemouth v Manchester United (1400)

* Bournemouth have beaten United only twice in the league (D1 L8).

* United forward Marcus Rashford has scored 16 Premier League goals this season, one goal shy of his best tally in a single campaign (17 in 2019-20).

* Bournemouth have conceded a league-high 27 league goals from set-pieces this season while they are the only team yet to score from a penalty or direct free kick.

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Fulham v Crystal Palace (1400)

* Fulham are looking to complete a first Premier League double over Palace after winning 3-0 at Selhurst Park this season.

* Fulham are winless in their last five London derbies.

* Crystal Palace’s top scorer this season is midfielder Eberechi Eze, who has scored 10 times. Six goals came in his last seven appearances.

Liverpool v Aston Villa (1400)

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* Liverpool have won nine of their last 10 Premier League games against Villa but their last loss was the 7-2 defeat in October 2020.

* Since Unai Emery took charge of Villa, they have won 45 points to move up to eighth. Only Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool have won more points.

* Liverpool have won their last seven matches to move up to fifth in a late push for Champions League qualification. They sit one point behind Newcastle United and Manchester United who both have a game in hand.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton (1400)

* Wolves have won their last four home games, keeping a clean sheet in wins over Chelsea, Brentford, Palace and Villa.

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* Wolves have scored the fewest goals in the Premier League this season (30).

* Everton boss Sean Dyche has not lost against Wolves in his last six meetings (W3 D3).

Nottingham Forest v Arsenal (1630)

* Arsenal are looking to win five Premier League matches in a row against Forest. They won the reverse fixture 5-0 at Emirates Stadium.

* Forest have beaten Arsenal at home in their last two meetings in FA Cup ties in 2018 and 2022.

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* Arsenal have lost only three away games this season and the only time they failed to score was in a 1-0 defeat by Everton.

Sunday, May 21

West Ham United v Leeds United (1230)

* West Ham have not lost their final home league game since 2016-17 (W3 D2).

* Leeds, 18th, have not kept a clean sheet since beating Southampton 1-0 in February, a run of 13 games in all competitions.

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* Leeds are on a seven-match winless run (D2 L5) and have conceded more goals than any team this season (71).

Brighton & Hove Albion v Southampton (1300)

* Relegated Southampton are unbeaten in their five away games against Brighton in the Premier League (W3 D2).

* Southampton are winless in their last 11 league games (D3 L8).

* Brighton top scorer Alexis Mac Allister has scored seven times in his last 12 home starts in the league.

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Manchester City v Chelsea (1500)

* City could be crowned champions before the game if Arsenal lose at Forest while victory for Pep Guardiola’s side will see them win the title regardless.

* City have beaten Chelsea three times this season without conceding in the League Cup, Premier League and FA Cup.

* City are on a 14-match unbeaten run in the league (W13 D1) while Chelsea have just one win in their last nine (D3 L5).

Monday, May 22

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Newcastle United v Leicester City (1900)

* After winning 3-0 in the reverse fixture, Newcastle are looking to do the double over Leicester in the Premier League for the first time in 28 years.

* Newcastle have the joint-best defensive record in the league along with Manchester City, conceding 31 goals in 35 games.

* Leicester are 19th, two points from the safety zone with rounds left.

-Reuters

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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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