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Premier League top six: Will there be a surprise at the top of the table?

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Wolves

Best of the rest last time around, Wolves had a superb first season back in the top flight, ultimately finishing seventh, one place and nine points behind Manchester United, after taking a pile of points off the big six.

Wolves won the Premier League Asia Trophy during pre-season
Wolves won the Premier League Asia Trophy during pre-season

That earned them a place in the Europa League – but will it be a mixed blessing? Wolves’ season is already underway as they bid for a place in the group stages, where, should they make it, the tough Thursday-Sunday schedule awaits.

It could be a fun adventure for the club and its fans – who have already enjoyed a Premier League Asia Trophy triumph with wins over Newcastle and Manchester City – but the Europa League also has the potential to take its toll on Wolves’ Premier League ambitions.

Ruben Vinagre helped Wolves begin their Europa League campaign with a win
Ruben Vinagre helped Wolves begin their Europa League campaign with a win

Last season’s loanees Leander Dendoncker and Raul Jiminez have completed permanent deals, while Spanish U21 Euros winner Jesus Vallejo has joined on a season-long deal from Real Madrid to bolster the defence, and Patrick Cutrone adds to Wolves’ attacking threat. But will that be enough to stave off ‘second-season syndrome’ and maintain their challenge of the established elite?

Everton

Everton have spent the past five seasons out of the top six – could 2019/20 be the season they return? That’s the target for boss Marco Silva as he begins his second full campaign in charge – and with the Portuguese now shaping his squad to his liking, he’ll be confident of being in the mix.

Everton have signed Andre Gomes from Barcelona
Everton have signed Andre Gomes from Barcelona

Silva came in for heavy criticism during his first season, as a wretched run from early December to late February left Everton in the bottom half with seven games to play. However, a strong finish saw the team finally begin to click and they’ll hope to take that momentum into the new campaign.

Marco Silva begins his second season in charge of Everton aiming for the top six
Marco Silva begins his second season in charge of Everton aiming for the top six

With Idrissa Gueye sold and Kurt Zouma returning to Chelsea, there are key players to replace but Everton seem set for a busy end to the transfer window. They have already added Andre Gomes, Jonas Lossl and Fabian Delph to their ranks but a big-money pursuit of Wilfried Zaha looks likely to continue, while Juventus’ Moise Kean is on the brink of joining.

Leicester

Brendan Rodgers has stated his “great challenge” at Leicester is to steer the 2015/16 Premier League champions into the top six and there is a growing feeling his coaching ability, combined with the quality in the Foxes’ squad, could see that ambition achieved this season.

Youri Tielemans has joined Leicester on a permanent deal
Youri Tielemans has joined Leicester on a permanent deal

A woeful winter run, in which Leicester won just three of their 13 Premier League games from December 5, did for Claude Puel and their chances in 2018/19, but the identity of the opposition in the three wins was telling: Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton.

Those victories underlined the talent at Rodgers’ disposal. With young players improving and the summer signings of Ayoze Perez and Youri Tielemans, who impressed last season after joining on loan in January, the group has strengthened, too. They will now need to build on a full pre-season under Rodgers and find the consistency required to unseat one of the big boys.

How would Leicester cope if Harry Maguire was sold?
How would Leicester cope if Harry Maguire was sold?

Their cause could be scuppered, though, should key defender Harry Maguire depart for Manchester United. Should his sale go through, Leicester will have to act quickly to find a capable replacement or the pressure will be on Jonny Evans and Wes Morgan at the back.

West Ham

Is Manuel Pellegrini building a squad at West Ham capable of causing a shock and breaking into the Premier League top six?

Striker Sebastien Haller is West Ham's record signing
Striker Sebastien Haller is West Ham’s record signing

It’s a tall order but the London side have put together a group of talented midfielders – with Pablo Fornals the latest addition – and will hope club-record signing Sebastien Haller can capitalise on that creativity.

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Football

Club signs “25-year-old goalkeeper” but fans think he’s 45 [See photos]

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Social media across Africa on Wednesday, February 10 was sent into a frenzy by one Nigerian Club – Mighty Jets International Jos.

The Mighty Jets, took to social media to unveil their new range of kits for the upcoming Nigerian National league season while profiling its players.

One player, however, caught the eye of netizens, Goalkeeper Gobum Rotduwe.

According to the club, “Rot. D” was born on September 13, 1995, meaning he is 25 years old now.

Fans took a swipe at the club, most claiming the goalkeeper has lied about his age.

What’s your take on his age?

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Football

Club signs “25-year-old goalkeeper” but fans think he’s 45 [See photos]

Published

on

Social media across Africa on Tuesday, February 9 was sent into a frenzy by one Nigerian Club – Mighty Jets International Jos.

The Mighty Jets, took to social media to unveil their new range of kits for the upcoming Nigerian National league season while profiling its players.

According to the club, “Rot. D” was born on September 13, 1995, meaning he is 25 years old now.

Fans took a swipe at the club, most claiming the goalkeeper has lied about his age. What’s your take on his age?

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Football

Barcelona appoint Koeman as new coach

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Barcelona have appointed Ronald Koeman as their next coach, the club said in a statement on Wednesday, as the Catalans look to rebuild after their 8-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week.

Koeman, who has left his role as manager of the Netherlands, has signed a two-year-deal with Barcelona, who sacked Quique Setien on Monday after he presided over the club’s worst defeat ever in European competition.

Koeman, who will be officially presented at the Camp Nou stadium later on Wednesday, is dearly loved at Barca for his role in Johan Cruyff’s hugely successful side known as the ‘Dream Team’ and for scoring the goal that delivered the club’s first ever European Cup in 1992.

The defender later became the club’s assistant coach before embarking on a career as a head coach, managing Dutch sides Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord plus Premier League sides Southampton and Everton and La Liga’s Valencia.

“Barcelona and Ronald Koeman have come to an agreement for him to be the team’s coach until 30 June 2022,” said Barca’s statement.

“A club legend and Barca’s hero at Wembley who gave fans their first European Cup, Koeman is coming back to the Camp Nou. But this time he will be in the dugout to lead the team.”

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