Afcon updates, Tottenham v Arsenal in doubt and more – live!
Goal! Morocco 2-0 Comoros (Aboukhlal 90)
Ben Boina is finally beaten for a second time. With Comoros’s defence all over the place, Zakaria Aboukhlal takes a touch and slots past the inspired Comoros goalkeeper to take Morocco into the knockout stage.
Wow! Ben Boina has now gone and saved a penalty! He’s kept his team in the game at 1-0 with an outrageous performance. He’s a one-man rock and will be man of the match whether his team loses or not. If Comoros nick an equaliser he should get the assist.
The Comoros goalkeeper, Salim Ben Boina, has just made an incredible triple save. He was all on his own and somehow kept the ball out even when the ball was stabbed a third time at him from around 30cm out. Think Jerzy Dudek v Andriy Shevchenko in 2005.
Newcastle’s £25 man, Chris Wood, is set to start against Watford tomorrow. His hold-up play alone has got to be good news for Allan Saint-Maximin, who should be able to buzz around his big strike partner.
Erm, the UK’s future prime minister?
Goal! Malawi 2-1 Zimbabwe (Mhango 58)
It’s that man again! And it’s another lovely finish from the zippy forward, who stabs a pass through only to burst through on to it himself and then lift the ball over the Zimbabwe goalkeeper with a delicate dink. He’s turned the game around on his own.
Morocco should be about 7-0 up against Comoros but are finding new and interesting ways to spurn goalscoring opportunities. Meanwhile, Malawi v Zimbabwe is still 1-1 with both sides creating chances in a wonderfully open game.
After a wretched start to the season, remarkably, Manchester City are back in contention for the WSL title. Here’s Louise Taylor with the story:
It’s half-time in the 4pm Afcon games, with the scores Morocco 1-0 Comoros and Malawi 1-1 Zimbabwe. In the latter game, there was a wonderful celebratory dance after Wadi’s headed goal for Zimbabwe. Here’s a clip of it:
Back in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola has been heaping praise on Chelsea counterpart Thomas Tuchel, who, he says, he has studied to improve his own managerial skillset:
He is so creative, one of the few managers I learn from to become a better manager myself. He is excellent in all departments. Since he was at Mainz, Borussia Dortmund and here, I have always enjoyed watching his teams, the way he is playing and his approach. I think he dignifies and makes world football better. When you find a manager that is always positive in the way they play it is good.
And here’s our match preview:
Goal! Malawi 1-1 Zimbabwe (Mhango 43)
A swift response! Zimbabwe fail to deal with a deep cross and Mhango, unmarked on the back post, makes a guided half-volley finish look easier then it actually is.
Goal! Malawi 0-1 Zimbabwe (Wadi 38)
It’s a big goal in Group B, with Wadi’s towering header from 15 yards out sparking a wonderful celebratory group dance in the corner of the stadium.
There’s no score in Malawi v Zimbabwe but it’s a more entertaining match than Morocco v Comoros, which is a possession-fest for Romain Saïss and co, who are far superior.
I gave my confidence a boost by getting 11 out of 12 on this quiz of the week. See if you can make yourself better by giving it a go here:
You can read our match preview for Aston Villa v Manchester United here, while Steven Pye has jumped in his time machine to take us back to 1989 and a time when Alex Ferguson took a United team in a far worse state than Ralf Rangnick’s to Villa Park. It didn’t go well, with United’s own fans chanting “What a load of rubbish” at their side from the away end. You can read the full piece here:
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has confirmed that both Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne are available to face Manchester United though he won’t rush them into action.
They’re available. Philippe’s trained for three days now with no issues. We obviously have to build his match sharpness and match fitness up. Lucas is slightly different. He’s been involved in group training for quite some time and he’s been available for Everton before he arrived … they’re both in a good place but, obviously, decisions will come off the back of information we’ve had of both players over the last couple of days.
Goal! Morocco 1-0 Comoros (Amallah 16)
Selim Amallah picks a loose ball up in the Comoros penalty area, drops his shoulder to send a defender the wrong way and smashes the ball home from 10 yards.
Malawi v Zimbabwe and Morocco v Comoros have kicked off in the Africa Cup of Nations. I’ll bring you goal updates from those matches. Having won their first match, Morocco can all but secure qualification from Group C with victory while Malawi and Zimbabwe are looking to get their first points on the board in Group B.
This is an extremely generous offer which has allowed us to only charge £12.50 for supporters who book a seat on one of our Official Coaches from the North East to London … This kind of gesture restores your faith in the football family and we are all very much looking forward to what will be a very special occasion for the many thousands of Poolies who will make the trip south. Thanks once again to all at Crystal Palace FC.
And that’s all from me. I will leave you in the capable hands of Gregg Bakowski.
Derby’s administrators have been asked to provide a funding plan to the EFL to demonstrate how the club can fulfil their fixtures through to the end of the season. The Rams entered administration last September and are yet to find a buyer. Their financial problems have led to them being docked 21 points and they are 11 points from safety in the Championship. Derby confirmed on Friday that veteran defender Phil Jagielka, one of their best performers this season, has left the club, who are now effectively under an embargo on signing or registering players until the EFL is shown evidence of how any new deals would be funded.
The EFL said in a statement: “Following its board meeting on Thursday, January 13, the EFL has written to the administrators reiterating that it needs confirmation as a matter of urgency of how they intend to trade whilst Derby County remains in administration, including a funding plan that will enable the club to fulfil its fixture obligations until the end of the current season. Without this visibility the league is unable to approve any player signings or renew existing registrations and this position had been communicated to the club prior to yesterday’s meeting.”
The supporters’ group, The Rams Trust, released a statement saying it was “shocked and dismayed” by Jagielka’s departure and added: “The time for supporters to be kept in the dark is over, especially with what seems to be a dire threat to the very existence of Derby County FC.”
The Trust also said administrator Carl Jackson would provide an update to supporters later on Friday. There are reportedly two separate parties interested in buying Derby – former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, and another consortium headed by former club chairman Andy Appleby. (PA Media)
Allegri says Dybala’s value to Juventus is ‘beyond dispute’:
The Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said Paulo Dybala’s value to the club is beyond dispute, but refused to be drawn on whether the Argentinian forward would sign a new contract in Turin. Dybala, who has scored six goals in Serie A this season, is yet to sign a new contract at Juventus, with his current deal due to expire at the end of the season. He is free to agree a pre-contract agreement with teams outside of Italy, with widespread reports in the Italian media linking Dybala with a move to the English Premier League.
“As I have always said, I do not evaluate contracts, they are corporate matters,” Allegri told a news conference on Friday ahead of his side’s clash with Udinese. “I helped to raise Dybala. He came from Palermo when he was a child. Now he has grown up and is an extraordinary player. In the first part of the season we had less of him through injury and now in the second part I expect a lot from him in his performances. The value of Dybala is beyond dispute, Paulo is a great player.”
Ahead of Saturday’s clash with Udinese, Juve sit fifth in Serie A, 11 points behind leaders Internazionale having played one game more – a gap Allegri is not confident of overhauling. “Inter are the strongest team in the league at the moment, next year we will see because Juve is never dead,” Allegri added. “Tomorrow we face a physical team that defends well, it will take a lot of patience. We have to be very technical and we have to try to win to reverse our poorer record against the smaller teams.”
Allegri also revealed Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci will miss Saturday’s match after sustaining a muscle injury. (Reuters)
West Ham hope to have Tomas Soucek back for the visit of Leeds. The Czech midfielder Soucek missed the midweek win over Norwich after a positive Covid-19 test. Defender Kurt Zouma is back in training quicker than expected after a hamstring injury and will be assessed.
“Look, when you play Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday, you’re always liable to pick up more injuries … We have to deal with it, we have to move on and do the best we can,” the West Ham manager David Moyes said of the injuries and Covid-19 cases which are hampering his squad.
Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo and Pascal Struijk are hoping to return to contention as Leeds’s injury crisis shows signs of easing. Bamford has been sidelined with ankle and hip injuries, while Rodrigo (heel) and Struijk (foot) have been out since the end of November. Eight other first-team players, including Kalvin Phillips and skipper Liam Cooper (both hamstring), are definitely out, with Diego Llorente and Tyler Roberts both suspended. The latter is also nursing a calf strain.
Speaking of Norwich – here is the match preview for their match at home against Everton, which is one of tomorrow’s 3pm kick-offs:
Thank you Barry, and good afternoon all.
Norwich City have announced that their former manager, Laurence Morgan, has died at the age of 90:
That’s all from me. Luke McLaughlin will guide you through the rest of the day’s news. Have a great weekend.
Wolves v Southampton: Wolves will be without Romain Saiss for their Premier League match against Southampton at Molineux. The defender is on international duty with Morocco at the Africa Cup of Nations and will be absent for Saturday’s match as well as the club’s trip to Brentford next weekend.
Hwang Hee-chan returned to training this week following a hamstring injury, but Saturday’s game is likely to come to soon for the South Korea international. Willy Boly (calf), Jonny Castro Otto (knee), Yerson Mosquera (hamstring) and Pedro Neto (knee) all remain sidelined.
Southampton have defenders Yan Valery and Kyle Walker-Peters available again as they return from suspension and Covid respectly. Midfielder Moi Elyounoussi and forward Theo Walcott continue to recover from their own coronavirus issues. Moussa Djenepo is on international duty with Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations, while Tino Livramento (knee), Will Smallbone (calf) and Alex McCarthy (hamstring) are also unavailable.
Full time: Senegal 0-0 Guinea
Africa Cup of Nations: It’s finished scoreless between the sides at the Kouekong Stadium, with both sides taking a major step towards the knockout stages. Senegal dominated for a 10-minute spell during the second half but towards the end of the game it became apparent that both sides were happy with a point apiece that leaves them with four each after two games.
West Ham v Leeds United: Leeds’ injury crisis appears to be easing as Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo and Pascal Struijk are all hoping to return from injury in Sunday’s Premier League game at West Ham, say PA Sport.
Bamford has been restricted to six league appearances this season due to ankle and hip problems, while Rodrigo and Struijk have been sidelined with respective heel and foot injuries.
Leeds’ injury list has reached double figures in recent weeks and when asked who might be back on Sunday, boss Marcelo Bielsa said: “It’s probable that Pascal, Rodrigo and Bamford are options to return.”
Bielsa will still be without eight injured or suspended players at the London Stadium, but Bamford’s return in particular will be a major boost to their top-flight survival chances.
Kalvin Phillips and skipper Liam Cooper (both hamstring) have been out since early December, while Joe Gelhardt, Jamie Shackleton (both ankle), Charlie Cresswell (shoulder) and Sam Greenwood all remain sidelined. Diego Llorente and Tyler Roberts will both miss out at West Ham through suspension, but the latter is also nursing a calf strain.
Tottenham v Arsenal: Arsenal and the Premier League are in discussions regarding whether Sunday’s north London derby will go ahead, with Mikel Arteta’s side heavily affected by injuries, absentees at Afcon and Covid-19, reports Nick Ames.