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Arsenal vs Mancity: Can Bukayo Saka, Dani Ceballos, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard make the difference against a tactically strong City?

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Arsenal vs Mancity

It would be a clash of the titans as top of the table Manchester City would be visiting Arsenal at the Emirate stadium in a bid to stay atop the league table by extending their lead comfortably. An interesting fact is that Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta would be hosting his former boss, Pep Guardiola once again. Clinching a 3 point off an unstable Arsenal side who drew 1-1 with Benfica over the week at the Europa League tournament would comfortable be 13 points above the table.

Since Arteta took over as manager of the club, he has conceded just 25 times. Arsenal are on course to let in fewer than 40 Premier League goals for the first time since finishing runners-up to Leicester City in 2015/16. Focusing intently on a structured shape, the Spaniard’s cautious style has been criticised in some quarters for lacking spontaneity. But Arsenal will rely on this type of secure platform as they seek to end a run of seven consecutive league defeats by Manchester City.

Restricting clear-cut chances for the high-flying leaders will be the key to producing an upset. In terms of their positional play, Arsenal take fewer gambles under Arteta. When one full-back pushes into the final third, the opposite full-back tucks inside to protect against counter-attacks. Both central midfielders usually hold their ground too, rather than making runs into the opposition box. This can leave Arsenal light on numbers in advanced areas but it makes them less vulnerable to fast transitions. Due in part to these changes, they are facing significantly fewer shots per match and conceding fewer goals.

During the 4-2 win at home to Leeds United last weekend, Arsenal’s organised pressing was arguably the best it has been this season.

It helped them regain possession inside the opposition half 24 times, while also limiting the quality of service played into Marcelo Bielsa’s forwards.

Arsenal have looked a more effective side when closing down from the front this term, so it will be fascinating to see if Arteta is bold enough to choose that game plan today for Arsenal vs Mancity.

Youngsters Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard have the energy, enthusiasm and intelligence to perform the task well, but if they are bypassed, it could leave the defense exposed. In the likely continued absence of Thomas Partey, Arsenal will need a stellar performance from Dani Ceballos.

The on-loan Spaniard proved he could marry work rate and defensive discipline with technical ability during an outstanding display in last season’s FA Cup semi-final victory against City.

Repackaging his style to become an all-action central midfielder at Emirates Stadium, the 24-year-old has a big part to play on Sunday.

Squeezing the spaces that Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden want to work in will be an extremely demanding job.

Yet Ceballos has consistently shown an appetite to put the hard yards in this season.

It is widely perceived Granit Xhaka and Partey are Arteta’s first-choice pairing, but statistically it is Ceballos who leads the way in the key categories. The Spaniard is the most effective central midfield ball-winner and also the most progressive distributor from that part of the pitch.

Taming City at this moment is seriously difficult, but if Arsenal are well drilled by Arteta, and if Ceballos plays well, they have a chance of ending their poor run in this fixture.

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PRUDENTIAL ANNOUNCES AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS 2021 SPONSORSHIP

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…Sponsorship underscores the life insurer’s commitment to grow and to invest in Africa

Prudential Africa has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to become the official insurance partner of the ongoing 33rd edition of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2021.

At a press conference to announce the sponsorship, Eric Mboma, Chief Representative Officer, Prudential Northern Africa Region noted that the sponsorship underscores Prudential’s commitment to the African continent.

“As we grow our business in Africa, we also want to support the passion and talent of its people. Africans share a common love for football and we are honored to be part of a tournament that unites the continent and brings together the brightest talents of African football”, he said.

Mr. Mboma added, “Through sports, Prudential wants to encourage people to stay active and lead more healthy lifestyles. As a life insurer, we believe that health and wellness are important for people to live fulfilling lives.”

Commenting on the partnership, Confederation of African Football (CAF) General Secretary Mr. Véron Mosengo-Omba said, “We are excited and pleased to have on board Prudential as a partner. We share a common purpose in our commitment to developing local talent as well as driving prosperity for the people of Africa.”

AFCON 2022 started on January 9 and will run till February 6, 2022 with Cameroon as the host nation.

Prudential is a global financial services group providing life insurance, pensions and asset management products and services to approximately 20 million customers in Asia and Africa.
Prudential has life insurance operations in eight countries across Africa: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria. For nearly a decade, the life insurer has been providing affordable insurance and health solutions. Today, it serves more than 1.7 million customers through a distribution network of more than 13,000 agents and 600 branches.

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Tragic! How Turkish Footballer Ahmet Calik Died In Auto Crash

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It was a dark Tuesday in the world of sports as Turkish footballer Ahmet Calik has tragically died in a ghastly auto crash.

The 27-year-old, Turkish National who played eight times for his national team and most recently turned out for club Konyaspor, was involved in a head-on collision on Tuesday morning in the capital city of Ankara.

Calik also played for Super Lig giants Galatasaray after spending his early years with Genclerbirligi.

Reports from Turkey say that; the incident occurred around 9 am as he was said to have gone out of control on the Ankara-Nigde motorway before overturning at Hacilar District of Golbasi.

 

In a statement by his club, Konyaspor said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our football player Ahmet Calik, who has won the love of our fans and our city since the first day he came to Konyaspor. “Condolences to all of us, especially to the family of our football player Ahmet Calik.”

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AFCON 2022: Nigeria Trashes Egypt 1-0 as Kelechi Iheanacho’s Early Strike Gives Eagle Crucial Win

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Super Eagles of Nigeria beat a disappointing Egypt 1-0 to extend their chances of coming out the top of the table for the quarter-final draw and also demonstrate that they are a potential team to win the Africa Cup of Nations. Considered favorites going into the tournament, the midfield combination of Wilfred Ndidi and Joe Aribo dominated Egypt, starving Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah of any real opportunity to influence the game with his quick play.

The two teams sparred in the opening half-hour, with Nantes’ winger Moses Simon looking dangerous as he dazzled with his skills, but neither team had a major change until Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho beautifully controlled a ball on the edge of the area and fired it across his body into the Egyptian net.

This goal, rather than spur Egypt into action, only seemed to further favor Nigeria. They had several chances either side of the break, with Taiwo Awoniyi brilliantly kept out by Mohamed El Shenawy, and a clumsy touch from Iheanacho causing him to spurn a chance to double his tally.

Egypt had one chance in the second half when Nigeria’s defense seemingly thought Salah had been caught offside, but the Egyptian maestro couldn’t lift the ball over Maduka Okoye. In a battle of the captains, he was frustrated throughout Watford’s William Troost-Ekong.

Nigerian substitute Chidera Ejuke could have cemented his country’s win in the final minute, but his length-of-the-pitch break was hit straight at El Shenawy.

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