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Chelsea Back in Action Taking On Luton Town

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Chelsea are back in action this afternoon when they take on Championship outfit Luton Town at midday in the FA Cup fourth round.

Frank Lampard is in desperate need of a win with heavy pressure mounting upon his shoulders with Chelsea managing just two wins from their last eight Premier League games.

Equally, the Blues stars are in desperate need of some confidence with criticism of their performances rife, particularly for summer arrivals like Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.

A home FA Cup clash with the Hatters could be the perfect opportunity for Chelsea to get back to winning ways but they won’t benefit from the return of midfielder N’Golo Kante ahead of the game.

Lampard has confirmed that Kante will not feature on Sunday, saying: “N’Golo, on the other hand, is not fit and won’t be available.

“He’s working outside on his own with the physios at the moment and we hope to have him back as soon as possible. “We will have to see with N’Golo, as we don’t want to rush him, but we hope to have him back by next week.”

But there is some good news with striker Olivier Giroud returning for this one after missing out against Leicester City last time out. Lampard added in his team news update: “Olivier is fit. He trained with us today and he’s fine for the weekend.”

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Malaysian Prince Wants To Buy Valencia Football Club

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Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, crown prince of the oil-rich state of Johor, said Valencia needs someone who is “hungry for success” in a message posted on social media before it was quickly deleted.

The prince’s message has caused a major disruption in the football world prompting speculation of a takeover bid.

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a prince,” Tunku Ismail, 36, wrote in a series of Instagram stories, which are no longer available but were posted as screenshots by media.

“I’m not someone who will change your club logo or tradition,” he added.

“What does Valencia need? You need someone who knows about football, hungry for success, passionate, and understand how big Valencia is as a club,” wrote the prince.

Tunku Ismail already owns Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim, who last year won their seventh straight Malaysian league title and inaugurated the 40,000-capacity Sultan Ibraham Stadium.

Lim’s Meriton Holdings bought Valencia FC for 420 million euros in 2014, including 200 million euros to clear the club’s debts.

In the early 2000s Valencia FC won two La Liga titles and the UEFA Cup, and reached two Champions League finals. They are currently 14th in the league, five points clear of the relegation places.

The club was valued at 408 million euros in a report by global accountancy firm KPMG last year.

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Uganda Faces Ghana in Africa U20 Cup of Nations Finals

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Uganda’s Hippos have qualified for the final of the AFCONU20 tournament after beating Tunisia making it the first time a Ugandan national team is going to play in the final of a CAF tournament since 1978.

The Ugandans thumped Tunisia 4-1 in the AFCON semi-final on Monday night. Uganda will play Ghana in the final on 06/03/2021.

Ghana became the first team to qualify for the AFCONU20 finals after thrashing the Gambia 1-0. Ghana’s Black Satellites have qualified for the AFCONU20 (AYC) finals six times: 1993, 1999, 2001, 2009, 2013 and 2021.

The 1978 African Cup of Nations Final football match took place on 16 March 1978, at the Accra Sports Stadium in Accra, Ghana, to determine the winner of the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations.

Ghana defeated Uganda 2–0 with two goals from Opoku Afriyie to win their third African Cup.

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Manchester City Boss Tactical innovations Defy Convention

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David Moyes has likened Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola to celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal for his tactical innovations that defy convention.

Blumenthal is famous for coming up with unusual recipes such as bacon and egg flavoured ice-cream and snail porridge, which work despite the ingredients.

West Ham boss Moyes, aiming to end City’s 19-game winning run on Saturday, feels the same about Guardiola. “Pep is the Heston Blumenthal of football,” said Moyes.

Former Barcelona coach Guardiola’s latest move has been to use Joao Cancelo as a full-back and a midfield pivot at the same time, a tactic that has flummoxed a series of opposing managers.

“Blumenthal will do something stupid or outrageous that you would never dream of, like mixing chocolate with eggs and you think ‘that is never going to work, it is not going to taste right or look good’. But it does,” Moyes added.

“Pep does things in football terms which are remarkable, that lots of other people would not have thought of. I hold him in such high esteem. He is innovative and always looking for new ideas. “I get this feeling he is in a think-tank room, thinking about how he can make his players perform better, or where they can receive the ball in space and make it difficult for the opposition.”

In cooking terms, Moyes likens himself to fellow Scot Gordon Ramsay, famous for his fiery temper and choice language: “You know what you are getting there don’t you?”

However, stopping Cancelo is not proving to be a particularly amusing pastime and is causing Moyes to think hard about how to go about getting the kind of positive result that will keep his side in the top four.

“How you deal with it takes up a lot of your thought time,” he said.

“If it is a level playing field, you might say we will take you on and do our own thing. When your players are maybe not at the level of the ones Manchester City have it is a struggle.”

While West Ham travel to Etihad Stadium (kick-off 12.30 GMT) after beating Tottenham on Sunday, Premier League leaders City’s impressive winning run continued with a one-sided Champions League triumph over Borussia Monchengladbach in their last-16 first leg on Wednesday, Following that 2-0 victory, Guardiola said City’s current form and the club’s success since his appointment in 2016 was simply down to the money they had spent.

“We have a lot of money to buy a lot of incredible players,” he said on Wednesday. “Without good quality players we cannot do it.” Returning to the topic in Friday’s press conference, Guardiola reiterated that “the difference is the players” and played down his own influence.

“I would tell you if I believed the reason [for our success] was me,” Guardiola said. “I would be grateful to say that the reason behind this success is because I’m so handsome and that’s the reason why. It’s not like that. It’s the players. The big clubs have incredible success and it’s due to the quality of the players, the mentality.”

City, who have won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and three League Cups under Guardiola, have made several big-money signings during the Spaniard’s tenure – with £65m defender Ruben Dias the most recent arrival in September.

Riyad Mahrez, Aymeric Laporte, Joao Cancelo, Rodri, Benjamin Mendy and John Stones have all also arrived for fees in excess of £50m. “I came here to win in England and we have done it already – but I did it,” Guardiola added. “I came to play in a special way and I did it.

The job is done, but still I have the feeling we can do better. “For a short time, you can do it without top players but sustaining for a long time – in an incredible organisation that supports their manager so the journalists and the players know he will not be sacked – this is so important.

“After that, [you need] top quality players. I never in my 12 years as manager scored a goal. I never saved a penalty. The artists are the players. All we can do is help them, knowing that doing the same, you can lose.”

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