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ENTERTAINMENT: Nigerian musician, Burnaboy arrested for alleged robbery



Nigerian artiste, Damini Ogulu popularly known as ‘Burna Boy’, on Friday submitted himself to the Lagos State Police Command over his alleged role in a robbery attack on a fellow artiste, Mr. 2kay.



The Command’s spokesperson, SP Chike Oti, in a statement said the ‘Soke’ crooner was “subsequently arrested, interrogated and detained and is expected to be charged to court on Monday alongside four of members of the gang earlier arrested”.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal, after the interrogation, said the State Police Command has zero tolerance for all forms of crime and would not hesitate to prosecute anyone found culpable in any criminal offence perpetrated in the State.

“There would be no sacred cows. This Command is poised to ensure that every resident can feel safe wherever they are and carry out their businesses without fear or favour. Anyone, therefore, found to be involved in this case would be made to face the law to clear his or her name or face prosecution,” the statement quoted Imohimi as saying.

The pop musician, who was declared wanted by the Lagos Police Command in connection with the robbery attack on another popular musician, Mr. 2kay at Eko Hotel and Suites early last month, reported to the Command headquarters in Ikeja at about 5pm.

Tunmise Omotore, gang leader of the suspected robbers, had confessed on how they disguised as room service to rob Mr. 2kay at Eko Hotel and Suites on the instruction of Burba Boy’s Road Manager, Joel Kantiock.


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SPORT: I let the Crystal Palace team down, says Benteke

Crystal Palace's Belgium striker Christian Benteke (L) celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Leicester City at Selhurst Park in south London on April 15, 2017 Ian KINGTON / AFP


Christian Benteke admitted he let his Crystal Palace team-mates down by missing a penalty he should not by rights have taken in the 2-2 draw with fellow Premier League strugglers Bournemouth last Saturday.

The 27-year-old Belgian international who is yet to score in 12 appearances this season should have let Luka Milivojevic take the penalty late in the game as he had already scored from the spot earlier in the game.

However, to the consternation of his team-mates and manager Roy Hodgson he took the ball and missed, costing Palace what could be two invaluable points.

The Eagles who rebounded to beat Watford in midweek -- are third from bottom on goal difference ahead of Saturday's trip to Leicester.

"I spoke with the manager first to let him know what really happened, because I just wanted to clarify things with the TV and all of the media talking," said Benteke.

"Then I spoke with the guys and I told them I don't feel sorry for myself, but that I let the team down because we are obviously battling relegation and every point counts for us.

"I said I will keep working hard for them and for myself."I just wanted to take my responsibility (with the penalty). I don't feel sorry for myself it happened.

"There is no issue. It is football and it happens. We have to stick together no matter what."Benteke conceded he was feeling the pressure at going so long without a goal.

"It is a tough time," said Benteke."As a striker you want to score, but I just work hard for the team and try to hold up the ball and play, and the goal will come.

"I don't ask a lot of questions of myself, I just accept it is a tough time and work hard and try to help the team. The goal will come."




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SPORT: FIFA threatens to ban Spain from 2018 World Cup



The governing body of world football confirmed on Friday that it has written to the Spanish federation (RFEF) warning they could be suspended form the 2018 World Cup because of political interference.


Earlier in the day Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Spain had received “no such letter from FIFA.”

The issue centres on the RFEF presidency. Angel Maria Villar, who was also a senior FIFA and UEFA official, resigned after being arrested in July on suspicion of embezzling funds. Villar was replaced, on an interim basis, by Juan Luis Larrea, another long-time football administrator.

Even though he is only a stand-in, Larrea has made clear he wants to see out Villar’s term, which was due to end in 2020. The Spanish National Sports Agency (CSD) has objected and that prompted FIFA’s warning, reported on Friday by the daily El Pais.

“We can confirm that FIFA recently sent a letter to the Spanish FA (RFEF) expressing its concern at the current situation in the association and reiterating that, under the FIFA Statutes, all member associations must manage their affairs independently and ensure that there is no interference by third parties in internal matters,” said a FIFA statement.

“FIFA is in contact with the RFEF, and a joint FIFA-UEFA delegation will be sent to Madrid shortly to monitor and assess the situation in the association,” the statement continued.

The RFEF and the Spanish government insisted on Friday that Spain would go to the World Cup in Russia.

“I just can’t see that scenario,” Rajoy said at a press conference in Brussels. “I am absolutely convinced Spain will go to the World Cup, and will win.”

Rajoy said Spain’s sports minister had told him the Spanish authorities had “received no official communication from FIFA but only a letter from a member of FIFA requesting a meeting.” He said his government’s attitude was “exemplary.”

Villar was re-elected for an eighth term as president last May. He had run the RFEF for 29 years until his arrest on suspicion of creating a network of corruption in Spanish football.

Last month, Luis Rubiales, the former head of the players’ union and an ally of Villar’s put forward a motion of censure against Larrea with the objective of becoming president himself. That motion is scheduled for a vote on January 16.

At the same time, the Spanish cabinet, acting on requests from the CSD, demanded fresh RFEF elections because of irregularities in the vote last May. FIFA sees this as external political interference.

AFP


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SPORT: Griezmann will leave Atletico - Simeone

Atletico Madrid's French forward Antoine Griezmann celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match Club Atletico de Madrid vs RC Celta de Vigo at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on February 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / CURTO DE LA TORRE

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone admitted on Friday that French forward Antoine Griezmann would likely leave the club in the near future.

The 26-year-old was heavily linked with a move in the close season, but with Atletico under a transfer ban, signed a new contract to stay until 2022.

"Of course Griezmann will be able to leave at some point, as Diego Costa, Diego Ribas and Arda Turan have gone," Simeone told French sports daily L'Equipe.

"If one day Griezmann leaves Atletico and goes to a more offensive team, he'll be much better."

Griezmann has struggled to find his best form for Atletico this season -- at one stage going eight games without a goal -- but has scored four times in his last five matches.

"My players, I love them a lot. I love them growing up, I'm not ungrateful," Argentinian Simeone said.

"If a player comes to me and says, 'coach, I have a chance of a lifetime and want to leave', and if he's left everything on the pitch for me like Griezmann, I'll say, 'no problem'."

Spanish international Costa has since returned to Atletico from Chelsea and will be available to play when their transfer embargo is lifted in January, which could help fill the hole up front should Griezmann leave.




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SPORT: Morata should not be compared to Drogba, says Conte

Alvaro Morata PHOTO:Twitter

Spanish striker Alvaro Morata cannot be compared to Chelsea icon Didier Drogba, the Premier League champions' coach Antonio Conte said on Friday.

Morata -- who is likely to return to the first team on Saturday against Southampton after missing the win over Huddersfield Town due to a bad back -- revealed this week he has been watching old film footage of Drogba in his pomp at Chelsea.

The Ivory Coast great scored 164 goals -- including the equaliser against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final and the decisive penalty in the shootout -- in 381 appearances over two spells at Stamford Bridge.

Conte, who has effectively raised the white flag in terms of defending the title with Manchester City 14 points clear of his team, said 25-year-old Morata was not yet the finished article.

"Two different players, different characteristics," said Conte.

"Didier Drogba, I think, he wrote the history of this club. He's a wonderful player, a wonderful striker.

"I think he's more powerful than Alvaro, but Alvaro, don't forget, has a lot of space for improvement.

"He's strong physically, is a technical player. I see a great future for Alvaro."

Conte was not sure whether Morata -- who has scored nine goals in 15 appearances this season -- and his team-mates will find Southampton as easy pickings as Leicester City did in their 4-1 away win on Wednesday.

"To find Southampton in this position, I'm a bit surprised. Their potential is more than this," said Conte.

"I would prefer that Southampton had won the game against Leicester instead of losing in this way.

"This team are very strong. They're a good team. The players are very fast.

"(On Saturday), my expectation is to suffer. I have this sensation. We must pay great attention."




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ENTERTAINMENT: Yul Edochie defects to APGA after poor outing at Anambra guber poll

SPORT: Man Utd's Bailly set for ankle surgery

Eric Bailly PHOTO:AFP/getty image

Jose Mourinho confirmed on Friday that Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will be forced to undergo surgery that will keep him out for up to three months.

Bailly, so dominant in United’s strong start to the campaign, has not played since the start of November after picking up an ankle injury while on international duty with the Ivory Coast.

United’s medical staff had hoped that rehabilitation in Manchester would avoid the need for surgery but the manager revealed in midweek that time was running out on that option.

Now, Mourinho has confirmed that is, indeed, the case and Bailly will have surgery that, in a best case scenario, will leave him sidelined for two to three months.

United, at least, have been strengthened by the recent return of versatile defender Marcos Rojo, himself out since last April having torn cruciate knee ligaments.

And, after a poor start to his career in England, Swedish international Victor Lindelof has put in some steady performances of late although it is England internationals Phil Jones and Chris Smalling who have emerged as Mourinho’s first choice pair in recent games.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has claimed that his experience of lifting Real Madrid back to the top of the European game will stand him in good stead at Old Trafford.

The derby defeat against leaders Manchester City on Sunday, and their neighbours’ rampant form, appears to have had a major impact on United this week as they stare at an 11-point gap to Pep Guardiola’s side.

January moves unlikely
Nevertheless, United’s current points tally would have been enough to have them standing top of the table in four of the past 10 Premier League campaigns, suggesting that Mourinho’s team is making some progress.

Mourinho said: "When I went to Real Madrid, they were in a difficult moment, no league title or cup, not even a Champions League quarter-final for many years.

"It was hard but it was good for my development as a manager too which is something that I always try to do.

"I signed a three-year contract here because it was the time myself and the board we decided on at that time.

"I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy job. I had that experience before.

"We go to clubs with a huge history where people look to the history and not to the moment and expectations are high.

"The job is difficult but I’ve had that experience before at other clubs, so nothing new."

Mourinho has also revealed that he is unlikely to make a major move in the January transfer window when it opens in a little over two weeks' time although the United manager would not rule out the possibility entirely.

"I’ve nothing to say in relation to that," said Mourinho. "I’m not a big defender of the January market but there are players and situations that sometimes you have the chance to do and you shouldn’t lose that chance.

"I don’t like the January market just to buy. But if you can buy one you would buy in June for July, with the chance a few months before, then great."




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SPORT: Guardiola wins Manager of the Month for third consecutive time

Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, has been named Premier League Manager of the Month for November.


Guardiola wins the prize for the third consecutive month, after his team won all four of their matches in the month.

The Spaniard had scooped the gong in September and October, as City embarked on their record-breaking run of 15 successive league victories.

Guardiola beat off competition from Antonio Conte, Sean Dyche, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Arsene Wenger to land the November award.

The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach, welcomes Tottenham Hotspur in the game of the weekend, as they seek to extend their 11-point gap at the top of the table.




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ENTERTAINMENT: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle wedding date announced

SPORT: Brazilian football chief, Del Nero, given 90-day ban

FIFA handed Brazilian football confederation president Marco Polo Del Nero a 90-day ban from all football activities on Friday.


The 76-year-old, a former member of the FIFA Council, is the latest prominent South American official to be banned by the sport’s governing body as part of its investigation into a vast corruption scandal.




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ENTERTAINMENT: Paul Okoye opens up on why their mansion, Squareville is up for sale

ENTERTAINMENT: Bobrisky apologizes to Mc Galaxy

SPORT: Wenger desperate for win in race for Champions League places

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger reacts during the English League Cup fourth round football match between Arsenal and Norwich City at The Emirates Stadium in London on October 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL 

Arsene Wenger knows Arsenal cannot afford another slip-up when they face Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium aiming to end a damaging run of three Premier League games without a win.

Wenger's team played a scoreless draw at West Ham United on Wednesday and is in seventh place going into Saturday's meeting with Rafael Benitez's team.

Only one point separates the Gunners from Tottenham Hotspur in fourth, but in what is shaping up to be a tight battle for the Champions League places, Arsenal can ill-afford to drop more points against a struggling team.

The West Ham draw was preceded by a stalemate at Southampton -- both games Wenger would have expected to win -- reinforcing the view that Arsenal have not yet recovered from the blow of losing to Manchester United at home.

Wenger shuffled his pack for the short trip to West Ham, with both Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud making their first Premier League starts of the season.

Wilshere declared himself satisfied with his performance but admitted that he has yet to open talks with the club about an extension to his contract, which runs out at the end of the season.

"There’s not really a date in the diary for talks," the England midfielder told London's Evening Standard newspaper.

"At the moment, I've just played my first game in the Premier League. I'm concentrating on staying fit and staying in (the) team. That will look after itself and when it's the right time, I'm sure the boss will pull me (in) so we can have a chat."

"The games come thick and fast and that's a good thing because we dropped points tonight (Wednesday) but have the chance to get three points on Saturday," he added. "We need to recover now and be ready for that."

- Newcastle struggles -
Newcastle travel to the North London with problems mounting for manager Rafa Benitez.

Even though a £300 million ($403 million) takeover of the club by Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners is set to go through early in the New Year, a battle for Premier League survival threatens to overshadow the arrival of new owners to succeed the unpopular figure of Mike Ashley, the Sport Direct billionaire who is set to relinquish control after a decade in charge at St James's Park.

The Tynesiders are just a point above the relegation zone after losing seven of their past eight games are in danger of an immediate return to the Championship.

England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey starts a two-match suspension after being sent off in the 1-0 home defeat to Everton, while goalkeeper Karl Darlow is set to drop to the bench after making costly errors in the past two matches.

"I don't think you can say we're in a relegation battle at this stage," said captain Jamaal Lascelles. "Lots of people would probably have been happy with the points tally we are on if they were asked at the start of the season, so I'm not going to say we're in a relegation battle.

"There have been a few home truths said in the dressing room, because we don't want to leave it too late for things like that to be said. The reality is we're not in a great position and sometimes things need to be said that players don't want to hear. Hopefully, we'll get a reaction against Arsenal."




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SPORT TRANSFER: Today's Gossip: Coutinho Still Wants Out; Mou Target Ozil, Willian


Coutinho asks to leave Liverpool again
The Barcelona-published Mundo Deportivo have gone big on Philippe Coutinho on Friday with a front-page splash.
The Catalan paper claim that Barca have “two lines of communication open with Liverpool” and are confident they can sign the Brazilian.

They also report that Liverpool have reiterated their asking price for the playmaker is €200million, but the La Liga side are attempting to negotiate over the price.

Willian to Manchester United?
It was reported a couple of weeks ago that Jose Mourinho has asked his scouts to find him a "magician" in January and Chelsea's wing wizard Willian has emerged as the leading target, according to the Daily Mail.
The Brazilian was in fine form in the Blues' victory over Huddersfield on Wednesday but has struggled to nail down a starting spot this term. 

At 29 and with a World Cup just around the corner, it's no surprise to learn he's desperate for first-team football.

Ozil prefers Old Trafford switch
With Mkhitaryan seemingly destined to leave Manchester United after failing to impress Mourinho, Mesut Ozil continues to be linked with a move to Old Trafford to fill the gap in the No.10 position.
Despite Barcelona also expressing an interest in the German, it's thought Ozil would prefer to link up with Mourinho again after working with the Portuguese coach at Real Madrid.

The Daily Mirror says United are ready to cash in on Mkhitaryan to fund Ozil's wage demands as his contract edges closer to expiring next summer.

Van Dijk tops Man City's shopping list
In what could be a huge blow to Liverpool's transfer plans, Manchester City have given Pep Guardiola the green light to bring in Virgil van Dijk in January, according to The Sun.
The Southampton captain was linked with a £70 million move to Anfield in the summer, but a botched transfer resulted in the Reds making a public apology to their Premier League rivals.

With Liverpool now trailing in the title race, City look set to step in and take advantage of their lofty position by adding Van Dijk to their ranks for the second half of the season.

Man United Have Bale Agreement
Manchester United have a pre-contract agreement in place with Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, according to Diario Gol .

The Wales international is ready to bring an injury-hit spell in Spain to a close and will move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2018.

Valencia Eye Arsenal Flop
La Liga title challengers Valencia are among those mulling over a move for Arsenal winger Theo Walcott, reports El Gol Digital .

The England international has also been linked with Newcastle and West Ham after finding game time hard to come by with the Gunners.

Barca Plotting Blind Bid
Barcelona are weighing up a January approach for versatile Manchester United defender Daley Blind, claims Marca .

The Catalan giants are also considering another Dutchman, Stefan de Vrij of Lazio, as they seek to bolster the ranks at Camp Nou.

Kovacic For Coutinho?
Jurgen Klopp is weighing up a January move for Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic, according to Spanish outlet Diario Gol .

Liverpool may soon need a replacement for the seemingly Barcleona-bound Coutinho and Klopp is said to see Kovacic as the man to fill the Brazilian's shoes.

And with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Isco and Casemiro all ahead of Kovacic in the pecking order, plus Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente also on the fringes, an exit from the Santiago Bernabeu may be on the cards.

Mascherano Off To China
Eager to get in more playing time ahead of the World Cup in 2018, Javier Mascherano could consider a move to Manuel Pellegrini's Hebei China Fortune, Mundo Deportivo claims.


The report suggests the Chinese Super League outfit have offered the Argentine a salary of €7 million per year and lodged a big of €6m to Barcelona themselves.

Dortmund To Hold On To Aubameyang
Borussia Dortmund will not sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the January transfer window, according to Sport Bild .

Aubameyang had been keen to leave Dortmund in the summer, but no offers met his €70 million valuation and he has been linked with a departure in the New Year.

The likes of Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool and Real Madrid are all said to be interested in Aubameyang, but Dortmund want to keep the Gabon forward to boost their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

Others
Barcelona are plotting to bring in Daley Blindon a free transfer next summer, reports Marca. The Manchester United defender's contract expires at the end of the season and he seems likely to make an exit after losing his place in the first team.

According to TalkSport, Manchester United will duke it out with Juventus for versatile Monaco midfielder Fabinho. The Brazilian has outlined his intention to leave the Ligue 1 club after seeing a host of stars depart in lucrative transfers last summer.

Ross Barkley to leave Everton in January? No biggie, says Sam Allardyce, as quoted in the Daily Mirror. With Barkley's contract set to run out in the summer, Allardyce is happy for the Toffees to cash in on the midfielder rather than lose him for nothing at the end of the season. Tottenham are thought to be weighing up an offer.

Manchester United have made an enquiry about 29-year-old Chelsea and Brazil midfielder Willian. (Daily Mail)

United boss Jose Mourinho is also ready to offload 28-year-old Armenia midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the summer and wants to sign Arsenal and Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil, 29, as his replacement. (Daily Mirror)

Chelsea could use Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi, 24, as part of a deal with Monaco for 22-year-old France winger Thomas Lemar, who is also a target for Liverpool and Arsenal.(Sun)

Bayern Munich and Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches, 20, may have his season-long loan deal at Swansea cut short and return to the German club in January. (Mais Futebol - in Portuguese)

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has reassured France forward Antoine Griezmann he will eventually be allowed to leave the La Liga club. (Daily Mail via L'Equipe)

Liverpool remain keen on signing Southampton's 26-year-old Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk in January. (Liverpool Echo)

However, Manchester City want to add a centre-back to their squad in January and may also move for Van Dijk, though the Premier League leaders are also interested in Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez, 26. (Goal)

City boss Pep Guardiola is also in the market for a left-back in January. (Manchester Evening News)

Everton boss Sam Allardyce will not argue if the club decide to offload Ross Barkley, 24, in January, with the England midfielder yet to sign a new contract. (Daily Mirror)

Barcelona are keen to sign Manchester United'sversatile Netherlands defender Daley Blind, 27, on a free transfer when his contract runs out in the summer. (Marca - in Spanish)

Manchester United will battle Juventus for the signing of Monaco and Brazil midfielder Fabinho, 24. (Tuttosport, via Talksport)

Representatives from Turkish club Fenerbahce are flying to Liverpool in a bid to secure a loan deal for Serbia midfielder Marko Grujic, 21. (Takvim, via Talksport)


England midfielder Jack Wilshere, 25, has confirmed he is still waiting for a date from Arsenalfor when his contract will be discussed. (Telegraph)



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SPORT: Boko Haram: Kanu leads African all-stars in charity match for IDPs

Nigeria’s former Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu led a team of African all-stars in a charity football match on Thursday, to raise money for people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency and highlight their plight.


Kanu, Senegal’s El-Hadji Diouf, Fabian McCarthy of South Africa and Cyrille Mubiala from the Democratic Republic of Congo were in a side that took on Nigeria Premier League side Kano Pillars at Kano’s Sani Abacha stadium.

The home side won 2-1 in front of a 16,000-strong crowd.

Ticket sales from the “Match for IDPs” (internally displaced persons) will be combined with money from a charity dinner to support those made homeless by the eight-year conflict.

The Islamist insurgency began in 2009 and has since killed at least 20,000 people and made more than 2.6 million homeless.

Diouf told reporters after the match his aim by playing was “to raise awareness of the dire need of the IDPs and raise funds to support them”.

“Whatever money is raised here will be used to support the IDPs,” added the former Liverpool and Bolton Wanderers forward.

Boko Haram has been pushed out of captured towns and villages in the northeast but the military counter-insurgency has laid bare the extent of the devastation wrought on the remote region.

Some 1.8 million IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states still live either in sprawling, unsanitary camps or with family members. Others have fled as refugees to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

With farmers killed and land blighted by conflict, food shortages have been widespread, forcing IDPs to rely on handouts from international aid agencies, who have had to scale back operations because of a lack of funding.

IDPs remain vulnerable to continued Boko Haram attacks, particularly from suicide bombers, while women and young girls have been exposed to sexual abuse in the camps, including from security personnel and officials.

Match organiser Abi Goodman said: “We want to use football to communicate with the people about what is going on in the IDP camps.

“What we are doing is a drop in the ocean as the IDP needs are so huge.

“But we want to use this as a rallying point for the government, wealthy individuals and Nigerians living abroad to support the IDPs,” she added.



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Today's Gossip: Coutinho Still Wants Out; Mou Target Ozil, Willian




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SPORT: In Man City's shadow, top-four scrap begins

With Pep Guardiola's record-breaking Manchester City team galloping away towards the Premier League title, attention is starting to shift to the jostling for Champions League positions.

Manchester United, 11 points below City in second place, and third-place Chelsea are well placed, but beneath them the picture is more fluid.

Just a point separates fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur and seventh-place Arsenal, while Burnley and Leicester City are both threatening to crash the cabal of the 'Big Six'.

Man Utd and Chelsea lower their sights
United and defending champions Chelsea find themselves in a strange hinterland, both miles behind City -- 11 and 14 points respectively -- but otherwise enjoying broadly successful seasons.

Jose Mourinho's United had gone 40 home games without defeat prior to last Sunday's stormy 2-1 loss to City in the derby, while Chelsea have taken 22 points from a possible 27.

United drew a line beneath the derby defeat by beating Bournemouth 1-0 on Wednesday and defender Phil Jones says it has restored belief ahead of Sunday's game at West Bromwich Albion.

"We wanted to win the game (against City) and unfortunately it wasn't to be, so it was important that we came out (against Bournemouth), showed a bit of fight and a bit of courage," he told MUTV.

"We had to dig deep and grind it out, but the most important thing was to get three points and get back on track."

Chelsea host Southampton on Saturday after bouncing back from their shock 1-0 loss at West Ham United with a one-sided 3-1 victory at Huddersfield Town.

Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal seek consistency
Having ended a four-game winless run with back-to-back victories over Stoke City and Brighton and Hove Albion, Tottenham appear to have rediscovered form just as Liverpool and Arsenal's has disappeared.

Spurs beat Brighton 2-0 on Wednesday and with Liverpool and Arsenal both drawing 0-0 -- at home to West Brom and away to West Ham respectively -- it lifted Mauricio Pochettino's men up to fourth.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are without a win in two games, having been pegged back by Wayne Rooney's late penalty in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Everton.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are yet to win a league game in December, their stalemate at West Ham following a 3-1 home defeat against Manchester United and a 1-1 draw at Southampton.

But despite their current difficulties, Arsenal trail Spurs and Liverpool by only a point and they will expect to get back on track on Saturday against free-falling Newcastle United.

"It's not a concern. The manager and the boys have a plan, so we're just trying to get back to winning ways," says 20-year-old winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who made his league debut in mid-week.

"We've got our home crowd behind us (on Saturday) and I think that could be what we're missing in terms of getting that finishing touch on a goal," he told the Arsenal website.

Burnley and Leicester plot surprises
High-flying Burnley sit between Liverpool and Arsenal in sixth place and were briefly as high as fourth after beating Stoke 1-0 on Tuesday -- their highest position since March 1975.

Sean Dyche's tightly drilled side have won six of their last eight league games and on Saturday travel to Brighton, who are without a win in six.

Leicester have put last season's post-title turmoil behind them under new manager Claude Puel, who has lost just once in eight league games since succeeding Craig Shakespeare.

They sit four points below Arsenal ahead of Saturday's home game with improving Crystal Palace, who are six games unbeaten in the league.

Fixtures

Saturday (1500 GMT unless otherwise stated):

Arsenal v Newcastle, Brighton v Burnley, Chelsea v Southampton, Leicester v Crystal Palace (1230 GMT), Man City v Tottenham (1730 GMT), Stoke v West Ham, Watford v Huddersfield

Sunday:

Bournemouth v Liverpool (1630 GMT), West Brom v Man United (1415 GMT)

Monday (2000 GMT):

Everton v Swansea




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SPORT: Champions League hurting Chelsea's chances - Hazard

Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard celebrates with Chelsea's Nigerian midfielder Victor Moses after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in London on October 23, 2016. PHOTO: Glyn KIRK / AFP

Eden Hazard admits Chelsea are experiencing a more gruelling December than during last season's Premier League title-winning campaign because of the club's involvement in the Champions League.

Antonio Conte's side welcome Southampton to Stamford Bridge this weekend after recovering from the shock defeat at West Ham United with a convincing 3-1 midweek win at Huddersfield Town.

The display against the newly-promoted Yorkshire side highlighted Chelsea's forward strengths with Hazard combining well with Willian and Pedro to overwhelm the hosts.

The win opened up a four-point gap to fifth place and while Conte may have already conceded his side have no hope of defending their title, they are making impressive headway towards the target of ensuring their return to the Champions League next season.

Having failed to qualify for last season's European football, Conte's side benefited from a reduced fixture list that contributed to them eventually becoming champions.

This time around, the Chelsea head coach has been forced to manage his squad in a different way and Hazard admits the additional demands have taken their toll.

"We have a lot of games in a short period," said the Belgium playmaker. "Last year we didn't have this because we weren't in the Champions League, but since I came to Chelsea, for six years now it has been the same. We can deal with that.

"We have a lot of players. Of course you want to rest a little bit more, but it's not possible.

"We had a bad game against West Ham. When things happen like this we need to bounce back. We did that, and we scored three goals.

"I think the fans are happy, we are happy, so now let's move forward for the game against Southampton at Stamford Bridge."

Alavaro Morata missed the trip to Huddersfield and remains a doubt for the visit of Southampton, while David Luiz is again expected to be missing with a knee problem.

Manuel Pellegrino's Saints side head to Stamford Bridge on the back of a chastening 4-1 home defeat to Leicester City, managed by former manager Claude Puel.

That undid much of the good work of the previous weekend when they were unfortunate to be held to a draw by Arsenal.

"I think it was a bad game from the beginning until the end," said Pellegrino.

"When you are not there 100 percent on the game it is difficult to analyse the thing.

"The question is why," he said, noting that "three days before we showed a completely different face".

"The good thing when you play bad like the other day and you have another game quickly, then as quick as possible we want to play this game and show another face," he added.

Pellegrino has a fully fit squad to choose from and is likely to freshen up his side. The manager is also keen to add new faces to his squad in January.

"We are thinking about it, we have some options," Pellegrino said. "We have enough in the squad but we are thinking about where we can do some movement."

However, he said that the "market offers you not too many possibilities in December".




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SPORT: Beckham's Miami MLS venture gets go-ahead for additional owners

David Beckham / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS

English football icon David Beckham has a new trio of partners in his bid to bring a Major League Soccer club to Miami.

The league said Thursday it had approved the addition to Beckham's ownership group of Jorge and Jose Mas, leaders of telecommunications giant MasTec, and Japanese entrepreneur and SoftBank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son.

Beckham, Sprint chief executive and Brightstar founder Marcelo Claure and entertainment entrepreneur and manager Simon Fuller were all already part of the consortium which has been battling to secure a stadium site.

The group edged closer toward its goal earlier this year after securing a land deal for a proposed stadium project.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber acknowledged earlier this month that the Miami franchise project was "the most complicated situation in any market that we've experienced" citing Miami's local political structure and it's fast-changing real estate environment.

Jorge and Jose Mas are Miami natives and two of the most prominent business executives in the city, bringing a local presence to the ownership group that Garber said he believed would benefit the project.

Miami is currently slated to be the 24th MLS team, following the launch in 2018 of the Los Angeles Football Club, the 23rd club.

MLS chiefs will announce the 25th and 26th expansion teams before the end of the year form a shortlist of four candidates -- Detroit, Cincinnati, Nashville and Sacramento.

However, Garber admitted this month that with approval of Beckham's Miami club still in limbo, one of the two new expansion franchises chosen this month could be bumped up the pecking order and be launched as the 24th team.




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Court sends ‘killer wife’ back to prison but frees mum