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Champions League: Charlie Nicholas predicts Chelsea vs Ajax, Liverpool vs Genk, others

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Charlie-Nicholas

Former Arsenal star, Charlie Nicholas has predicted some of this midweek’s UEFA Champions League fixtures.

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Chelsea will take on Ajax at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, while Atalanta will tackle Manchester City on Wednesday in Italy.

Speaking with Sky Sports, Nicholas gave his predictions thus;

Chelsea vs Ajax: “We’ve seen a lot of what Ajax have done recently. They sold three or four key men in the summer and it makes them weaker, but it does not change their style or the manager’s philosophy. Chelsea wining there was a sensational result, but there is not much between the two sides.

“I still feel there are a few hiccups along the way. You cannot bully Ajax with the ball, but you can without it. Chelsea will want to get the technical edge over Ajax so we have a great game in prospect here. You can still see weaknesses in both teams, but it will be another fantastic result for Frank Lampard.”

Liverpool vs Genk: “I watched the Liverpool game at the weekend. It was a cracking game and end-to-end with drama too. Liverpool are not at their best. People might suggest that once they get going, they will be ruthless, but they are getting away with it currently. The Napoli and Manchester United matches were reality checks, but they could have been two or three down by the time they rescued things at Aston Villa.

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“Liverpool have a dramatic amount of games coming up. Mohamed Salah was really average at the weekend, as was Roberto Firmino, so Jurgen Klopp may leave a couple out and change it up. The full-backs will stay the same and you have to leave Sadio Mane in, but Fabinho could also come back in.

“It is normally Firmino who he rests, but I would leave him in with Mane and leave Salah out. He may not like it but it needs to happen. Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will come in and I think it will be a fairly comfortable night nevertheless for Liverpool.”

RELATED:  Champions League: What Lampard said after Chelsea’s dramatic 4-4 draw with Ajax

Atalanta vs Man City: “Atalanta got battered after taking the lead at the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is not overly happy with his side. He said the possession and patience was good but he wasn’t happy after the victory against Southampton.

“This was partly due to the way Southampton played. City’s defence is all over the place. John Stones is not in control at the moment and it has been a major step back for him. Fernandinho is not a centre-half, but Nicolas Otamendi is back so it should help.

“Pep will want to get this done and dusted as quickly as possible with the Liverpool game on Sunday. Both respective sides will want to get their games over with so they can make preparations for Sunday’s massive clash. Atalanta will attack and this will open the game up for City. It will be tricky to navigate but they will get there.”

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Mourinho issues strong warning to Tottenham players ahead of Bayern tie

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Jose-Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur manager, Jose Mourinho, has “forbidden” his players, from watching their Bayern Munich horror show.

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The Bundesliga champions thrashed Tottenham 7-2 at White Hart Lane in October.

Both sides meet again in the Champions League on Wednesday, with Mourinho choosing to rest Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Serge Aurier and Jan Vertonghen.

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However, the Portuguese does not want any of his players to be battle scarred, before tackling the big-scoring Germans at the Allianz Arena.

“7-2? I forbid any image about it. I watch it a couple of times with my staff and the analysts, try to go through every detail but not one single image for the boys not at all.

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“We are going to focus on us, more than Bayern, to develop our model of play with different faces and diff bodies but there is a certain way we try to develop and we are totally focused on us and less on Bayern,” Mourinho told a press conference on Tuesday.

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Barcelona’s Ansu Fati sets new Champions League goalscoring record

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Ansu Fati

Barcelona forward, Ansu Fati, on Tuesday became the youngest player to score in the Champions League, when he netted the winner against Inter Milan on Tuesday.

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Fati came off the bench at the San Siro, to score in the 87th minute to seal a 2-1 victory.

Aged 17 years, 40 days, the goal sees Fati take the record from Peter Ofori-Quaye, who was 17 years, 194 days old, when he scored his first Champions League goal for Olympiacos in 1997.

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“I’ve just been told [I have broken the record]. I am super happy with the goal and with the win,” Fati told reporters after the match.

“It’s a dream. Everything seems to be happening so quickly. It’s just about enjoying myself and learning from the best. Every time I get a chance, I will try to take it, either by scoring goals or by working hard.”

RELATED:  EPL: Solskjaer dismisses Pogba’s availability for Man Utd’s clash with Tottenham

Describing the goal, Fati said: “I gave the ball to Suarez, and he gave it back to me. And when I scored, I was surprised because the whole stadium was silent. I was thinking: ‘What have I just done?’ But I am really happy.”

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Pinnick reveals England-based player that will improve Super Eagles squad

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Amaju-Pinnick

The President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, has said he will not relent in his efforts, to get Queens Park Rangers’ Ebere Eze to play for Nigeria.

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Speaking to BBC Sport, Pinnick noted that the England U-21 player will improve the Super Eagles squad.

Eze was born in England to Nigerian parents but played twice for the Three Lions at Under-21 level in November.

RELATED:  Mourinho issues strong warning to Tottenham players ahead of Bayern tie

But Pinnick wants Eze to switch allegiances to boost Nigeria’s midfield, ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

“We need to make a solid representation at Qatar 2022 and it starts with improving on your squad with quality players like Eze.

“Can you imagine a midfield with Ndidi, Aribo, Etebo and Eze? it is one that will improve our squad.

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“I had a positive meeting with Ebere Eze in London and I spoke to his parents as well,” said Pinnick.

“He requested for the chance to continue to focus on his club career which is going well so far, and that further progress will be made in due course.

“But I am confidently hopeful that he will play for Nigeria soon,” he said.

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