Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 1st 2017 Contents A52 sports
guardian.co.tt Saturday, April 1, 2017
A seventh team could bejoining
the race for Champions League
Everton is making a late run to chal-
lenge the current top six, with seven
wins from 10 games putting the team
at the top of the Premier League's table
since the start of the year.
Next up: A derby today against
neighbor Liverpool, which is one of the
sides fighting to clinch a place in Eu-
rope's top competition. Everton would
move within three points of fourth-
place Liverpool with a win at Anfield.
But the international break hasn't been
kind to Everton manager Ronald Koe-
man. The defense will be stretched after
attacking right back Seamus Coleman
broke a leg on Ireland duty and centre
back Ramiro Funes Mori injured a knee
while playing for Argentina.
Arsenal and Manchester City, two
other members of the top six, meet
at Emirates Stadium tomorrow while
Chelsea takes a 10-point lead into a
match against Crystal Palace.
Monaco has a chance to break Paris
Saint-Germain's hegemony by tak-
ing the League Cup off the defending
champions. One of the most exciting
teams in Europe this season, Monaco
is chasing a first major title since it won
the League Cup in 2003. The team has
scored 16 goals in its past five games.
But Monaco's ambitions could be
hampered by the absence of key play-
ers in today's final in Lyon. Midfielder
Fabinho is suspended while Djibril
Sidibe (rib injury) and Radamel Falcao
(hip injury) are doubtful for the final.
Monaco, the last French team stand-
ing in the Champions League, remains
in contention for a rare quadruple. The
club has a three-point lead over PSG
in the league and will play Lille in the
French Cup quarterfinals next month.
In a game that could go a long way
to determining the destination of the
title, league leader Benfica hosts FC
Porto with one point separating them.
Porto has closed a five-point gap to
join Benfica as the front-runners, with
Sporting Lisbon nine points behind in
Benfica is seeking an unprecedented
fourth straight league title. At home,
Benfica is unbeaten in the league this
season and hasn't failed to score since
A spat between Barcelona's Gerard
Pique and Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos
has added fuel to a heated title race.
Madrid holds a two-point lead and
hosts Alaves on tomorrow, while Barce-
lona visits struggling Granada. Alaves,
which will play Barcelona in the Copa
del Rey final in May, is 10th with only
one loss in its last six matches. Granada
has lost four of its last five matches and
is in the relegation zone.
Third-place Sevilla, six points off the
lead, will try to move closer to the top
when it hosts relegation-wary Sporting
Gijon on Sunday. Fourth-place Atletico
Madrid plays at Malaga today.
Gonzalo Higuain will return to Na-
poli for the first time since his move to
Juventus. The love Napoli fans had for
Higuain swiftly turned to hatred fol-
lowing his transfer for an Italian record
90 million euros ($100 million) after
scoring 36 goals last season to break a
66-year-old Serie A record.
Napoli fans were banned from at-
tending the match in Turin in October
for security reasons and they will now
have two matchesinquicksuccession to
vent their animosity as their team plays
Juventus in the league tomorrow and in
the return leg of the Italian Cup sem-
ifinals three days later.
Napoli is third in Serie A, two points
behind Roma and 10 behind Juventus.
It trails 3-1 in the cup.
Under-fire Wenger finds
a friend in Guardiola
land---A victory for Man-
chester City at Arsenal to-
morrow would be a hammer
blow for the London side's
hopes of securing a Cham-
pions League place.
Arsenal, with one English
Premier League win in its last
five games, has slipped to sixth
place with the very real prospect
of not qualifying for the Cham-
pions League for the first time
While third-placed City do
not intend to do Arsenal any
favours, City manager Pep
Guardiola yesterday offered his
support to Arsenal counterpart
Arsene Wenger, who seems to
have been under-fire all season.
Wenger has yet to reveal wheth-
er he will still be in charge next
"The fans respect what Arsene
has done and is doing," Guardi-
ola said. "Whatever the bosses
decide, I'm sure it will be the
best for Arsenal.
"When Arsene starts to win,
the fans will be happy again . I
promise you, 100 percent.
"Arsene and the Arsenal play-
ers are so professional. When
you lose a lot, it is the most
dangerous moment to face them.
I would prefer to face Arsenal
after a lot of wins."
Following the match at Emir-
ates Stadium, the teams will
meet again next month at Wem-
bley in the FA Cup semifinals.
By then, on April 23, City
could have Brazilian striker
Gabriel Jesus back playing some
part. Guardiola gave an upbeat
Jesus made an immediate
impression after joining from
Palmeiras in January, scoring
three goals in five games before
he broke a bone in his right foot
and underwent surgery.
"The crutches are gone. He
has started to work and hope-
fully he will start to run and then
help us in the last games of the
season and then come back in
the preseason fit," Guardiola
City has drawn its last two
league games and also bowed
out of the Champions League
to Monaco this month.
WGuardiola wants to see an
"We need to focus and correct
some mistakes now and ahead to
next season as well." (AP)
FILE - In this file photo dated
Wednesday March 15, 2017, Manchester
City's manager Pep Guardiola shouts
instructions during a Champions League
round of 16 second leg soccer match
between Monaco and Manchester City
at the Louis II stadium in Monaco. PHOTO:
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016
file photo, Arsenal's manager Arsene
Wenger gestures during the English
Premier League soccer match between
Arsenal and Middlesbrough at the
Emirates Stadium in London. PHOTO: AP
What to watch in Europe's main leagues
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