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Premier League: Chelsea Seek To Man City End 11-Game Winning Run

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Chelsea need a repeat of their Champions League final victory over Manchester City to rekindle their Premier League title challenge with the English champions threatening to build a realistically unassailable lead just days into the new year.

An 11-game winning run has taken City 10 points clear of the Blues at the top of the table, while third-placed Liverpool are 11 points back with a game in hand.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel appeared to be the one coach with an Indian sign over Pep Guardiola with three wins in quick succession towards the end of last season, culminating in lifting the European Cup in Porto.

However, City’s 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in September proved to be a telling turning point in the campaign at a time when Chelsea led Guardiola’s men by three points.

In contrast to City’s formidable form, Chelsea have faltered during the busiest spell of the Premier League season, winning just one of their last five games.

A coronavirus outbreak over Christmas combined with a series of injuries played its part in restricting Tuchel’s options, but they have bounced back over the past week to comfortably see off Tottenham 3-0 over two legs to reach the League Cup final.

“Here at Chelsea we don’t make selections of trophies, we go for everything,” said captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

“The big ones have more impact, but what we all want is to be able to celebrate silverware with the fans at the end of the season.”

City’s own mass Covid outbreak affecting 21 players and staff fell fortunately for the league leaders over a period of just one game in 14 days.

Guardiola was one of those to test positive and was absent for a 4-1 win at Swindon in the FA Cup last weekend as a result, but is expected to return to the touchline on Saturday.

Liverpool can take advantage of dropped points for one or both of the sides above them in the table when they host Brentford at Anfield.

However, the Reds will have to cope without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who are away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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It’s Impossible For FG To Borrow N1.1trn To Meet ASUU’s Demand, Says Umahi

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Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State says the Nigerian government cannot borrow N1.1 trillion to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who have been on strike for over five months.

The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum said this on Wednesday when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Police Trust Fund led by Dr. Ben Akabueze, in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi capital.

“There is no way Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1tn to meet ASUU’s demand, it’s quite unreasonable. Are their demands genuine? Yes. But we can start little by little,” the governor said.

“There must be a commitment on the side of both parties that look, ‘ASUU is not asking for this to take to their houses’ so to say. It’s asking for it for our children, to better the infrastructure, to better the lecturers and the students. Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the lots.”

He also called on varsities lecturers to show some level of understanding so the strike can end.

“So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of government to also show some understanding,” he added.

“Let’s meet ourselves halfway and then open the schools to save the fate of our children.”

The governor, who equally faulted the poor maintenance culture in the country, added that there is a need to work on it.

“But let me also say that most of the time, our people have a low appetite for maintenance of public works,” Umahi said.

“No matter how much you deploy to these universities unless the users and the industry regulators begin to treat public infrastructure as their own in the various universities, it will continue to go bad.

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2023: You Need Wike For Your Rescue Mission, Mimiko Tells PDP

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…Says Rivers Gov Has Been The Party’s Solid Rock

Olusegun Mimiko says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) needs Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike for its rescue mission in the next general elections.

The former Ondo State governor spoke on Wednesday at the flag-off ceremony for the construction of the Azikiwe -Iloabuchi Road in Mile 2 Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“Your Excellency, our Party, the PDP, a Party for which you have laboured so much, seems saddled with the historical duty of forging this unity, a unity premised on truth, equity, and justice, a unity upon which rescuing Nigeria from the far from satisfactory performance of the past seven years will be built,” he said during the event.

“It is a mission that must be accomplished. A mission for which you are specially positioned and favoured to play a major role. A mission that must be subscribed to by all lovers of our country.”

He explained that when some forces tried to destroy the PDP, Wike was a bulwark that resisted such attempts.

“Beyond the self-evident physical transformation, you (Wike) have stood as a bulwark against those sworn to emasculate the main opposition party, all in their bid to force a one-party State down the throats of Nigerians,” Mimiko added.

“You were at one point virtually a one-man countervailing force, defending and protecting our dear PDP. You have also, through bold legal challenges, deepened the national consciousness on the defects in the running of our defective federal system.”

Mimiko’s comment came amid speculations that the Rivers Governor may dump the PDP following a fallout with the party after its presidential primary.

Wike lost to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the exercise, a development that has since caused a rift between him and Adama-born politician.

The PDP is making reconciliatory moves but Wike’s recent invitation of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos (a state governed by the leading All Progressives Congress, APC) to commission a project has generated further speculations that he may leave the PDP.

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Real Madrid Beat Frankfurt 2-0, Clinch UEFA Super Cup

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Real Madrid have claimed this season’s UEFA Super Cup after overcoming Frankfurt 2-0 on Wednesday.


Details later…

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