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Premier League!! Arsenal Vs Leicester City Today, 07:45PM (Drop Your Predictions)

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The 2017-18 Premier League campaign gets underway at the Emirates Stadium on Friday night as two past champions in Arsenal and Leicester City lock horns.

After surviving the growing calls to step aside in the second half of last season, the pressure is now on Arsene Wenger to finally end the Gunners’ long wait for a top-flight crown, while Leicester will themselves be hoping for a smoother journey after briefly flirting with relegation last time out.

For the first time in more than two decades, Arsenal head into a new campaign without Champions League football to contend with. For many that was reason enough to dispense with Wenger during the summer, but the Frenchman again survived and put pen to paper on a two-year deal.

It is hoped that, with the speculation now over for another couple of seasons, the fanbase can get back to cheering on the players rather than focusing on the manager, as the constant hounding and #WengerOut displays took prominence for large parts of 2016-17.

Unproven he may be, but the appointment of Craig Shakespeare at the King Power Stadium in February could well have been the difference between Premier League football and life in the Championship for Leicester.

Make no mistake about it – the Foxes were well on their way to joining Manchester City by claiming the unenviable record of going down as champions, if not for the impressive work of Shakespeare to completely galvanise the players that he had got to know so well during his time as assistant.

TEAM NEWS-

Arsenal will be without star man Alexis Sanchez for the next fortnight due to an abdominal issue, although if Wenger has his way then the Chilean has certainly not played his final game for the club.

Laurent Koscielny will sit out the opener due to a suspension carried over from last term, while fellow defender Gabriel Paulista is nursing a knee complaint.

In terms of the visitors, Shakespeare has vowed to play wantaway winger Riyad Mahrez – the subject of interest from Roma and Inter Milan, as well as Friday night opponents Arsenal – as he remains ‘fully committed’ to the club.

New recruits Iheanacho and Maguire are likely to fit straight in, but fellow newbie Iborra is out for a couple of weeks with a groin strain.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Mertesacker, Monreal, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Ramsey; Welbeck, Lacazette, Iwobi

Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Simpson, Maguire, Morgan, Fuchs; Mahrez, Ndidi, Amartey, Gray; Iheanacho, Vardy

ADMIN PREDICTION:Arsenal To WIN and Over 2.5

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Liverpool and Roma Have Been charged over crowd disturbances

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UEFA have charged both Liverpool and Roma over crowd disturbances at their Champions League semi-final at Anfield in April, European football’s disciplinary committee revealed on Tuesday.

Liverpool won the first leg 5-2 in a fiery atmosphere but were charged by UEFA on two further counts after fans set off flares and threw projectiles.

A 53-year-old Liverpool supporter, Sean Cox, was attacked by Roman hooligans outside Anfield before the first leg, leaving him hospitalised in a coma where he remains in a serious condition.

Two Roma supporters were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and club legend Francesco Totti appealed for “fair play, hospitality and respect for our opponents” ahead of the return leg which passed off smoothly.

Roma won the second leg 4-2 but Liverpool qualified 7-6 on aggregate for the final in Kiev against Real Madrid on Saturday.

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Xavi signs for Two More Years Contract in Qatar

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Xavi Hernandez could play on until the age of 40 after it was announced on Thursday he has signed a two-year extension to his contract with Qatari club Al Sadd.

The legendary former Barcelona and Spain midfielder will stay with the Doha-based club until the end of the 2020 season, according to a statement released by Al Sadd on social media.

“I am happy to keep on being a part of the Al-Sadd family for two more years,” said Xavi.

Xavi Hernandez could play on until the age of 40 after it was announced on Thursday he has signed a two-year extension to his contract with Qatari club Al Sadd.

The legendary former Barcelona and Spain midfielder will stay with the Doha-based club until the end of the 2020 season, according to a statement released by Al Sadd on social media.

“I am happy to keep on being a part of the Al-Sadd family for two more years,” said Xavi.

“I am delighted to be at the club and with its fans.

“Everyone here is one big family and I am satisfied and thrilled to continue.”

Read Also: New Paris Saint-German coach Tuchel relishes working with ‘artist’ Neymar

Xavi joined Al Sadd in 2015, originally on a two-year contract, after making more than 700 appearances for the Catalan giants.

He extended that by 12 months but the 38-year-old was widely expected to retire at the end of the Qatari domestic season.

However, he said earlier this month he would continue playing play until the end of this year at least and has now changed his mind again.

Since being in the Gulf he has been named as a global ambassador for the 2022 World Cup, which will be hosted by Qatar, and has been widely tipped to coach the host side during the tournament.

World Cup winner Xavi won 133 caps for Spain and was also in a Barcelona side which took eight La Liga titles.

The announcement comes on the same day as former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta officially announced he was moving to play in Japan’s J-League.

Source: The Punch

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Gary Cahill Wants clarity over Antonio Conte’s Chelsea future

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Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has called for “the uncertainty to be put to bed” over the future of Antonio Conte, with the Italian widely expected to be on his way out of the club.

The Blues beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final on Saturday as Conte won his second trophy in English football after capturing the Premier League title in his first campaign.

Former Italy and Juventus manager have been embroiled in a turbulent campaign marred by his feud with the club’s hierarchy over their failure to back his transfer plans.

Read Also: New Paris Saint-German coach Tuchel relishes working with ‘artist’ Neymar

Conte is also said to have infuriated several Chelsea stars with his intense personality and regimented training sessions.

Cahill believes a decision must be made one way or the other so Chelsea, whose fifth-place finish in the Premier League means they miss out on Champions League football next season, can prepare for the new campaign.

Asked what it would take for the Blues to move on and make the necessary close-season preparations, Cahill said: “Probably for the uncertainty to be put to bed and for whatever’s going to happen to happen.

“It’s out of our hands. We have to try to deliver on the pitch. We fell short in some aspects this season but (on Saturday) we produced. The rest behind the scenes is not down to us.”

Conte signed an improved contract last summer, but not an extension, to his three-year deal that expires in June 2019.

And after winning the FA Cup the Italian said he “can’t change” and is a “serial winner”, effectively calling for the club, owned by Roman Abramovich, to back him or sack him.

“All I can say is it’s been a great finish,” said Cahill. “If the manager stays on next year, he stays on.

“If he doesn’t, he’s gone away with a Premier League and FA Cup. I think that’s something everyone at the club can be proud of. We really had to win this game to save the season.”

Source: The Punch

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