Barcelona Handed Huge Injury Boost as Star Forward Is Declared Fit for Man Utd Clash

?Barcelona are set to welcome Ousmane Dembele back from injury for their Champions League clash against Manchester United on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old has been sidelined for the club’s last four games after picking up a thigh injury in the 5-1 win over Lyon, but is expected to make his return to the squad at Old Trafford.

News of ?Dembele’s condition comes from ?The Mirror, who note that the Frenchman has now returned to full training with the rest of his teammates.

He was not risked during the 2-0 win over ?Atletico Madrid on Saturday in an attempt to ensure he is ready for the ?Champions League quarter-final meeting with the ?Red Devils on Wednesday.

Ernesto Valverde will certainly have been reluctant to field Dembele before he is ready, having already aggravated his injury by playing him against Lyon in the first place. The winger had been struggling with a thigh injury, but played the last 20 minutes of the second leg and saw his problem worsen, despite scoring his side’s fifth goal of the night.


In Dembele’s absence, Philippe Coutinho was handed plenty of chances to impress in ?Barcelona’s starting lineup, but the Brazilian’s disappointing run of form has continued, once again prompting talk of a summer exit for the former ?Liverpool star.

Whether Dembele starts the game or comes on from the bench remains to be seen, but he appears set to play a major impact in the tie, and he will certainly be targeting full fitness by the time the second leg comes around on Tuesday, 16 April.

Philippe Coutinho,Oussame Dembele

This season, the winger has racked up 14 goals and eight assists in all competitions, despite often being forced to rotate with the struggling Coutinho. He has three strikes in the Champions League already this season, and will certainly be keen to add to that tally on Wednesday.


Robert Lewandowski & Alexander Isak Targeted by Chelsea as Goalscoring Woes Continue

?Chelsea are set to pursue deals for both Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund’s Alexander Isak as they look to address their issues in front of goal.

The Blues began the season with Alvaro Morata leading the line, but the Spaniard was eventually replaced by Juventus loanee Gonzalo Higuain after failing to impress. However, Higuain has endured a similarly poor run of form, leaving Chelsea looking elsewhere.

News of their transfer plans comes from ?The Mirror, who state that ?Chelsea are desperate to recruit a reliable striker who can score goals on a consistent basis.

?Bayern are thought to be planning a huge squad overhaul in the summer, and Chelsea officials have contacted Lewandowski’s advisors to cement their interest in the striker if he becomes one of the casualties of Bayern’s hectic transfer window.

The Poland international has racked up a stunning 186 goals in 234 matches, earning himself a reputation as one of the world’s finest strikers. With 35 goals to his name this season, Lewandowski has proven that he remains at the top of his game, meaning he is exactly what Chelsea are looking for.

Robert Lewandowski

The Blues are also keen to add 19-year-old Isak to their ranks, having been impressed by his form on loan with Eredivisie side Willem II. The Swede has racked up 11 goals in as many games this season, including one in Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Ajax that was watched by Chelsea scouts.

Isak has long been tipped for greatness, with Dortmund fending off interest from ?Real Madrid to sign the teenager in January 2017. However, he found minutes hard to come by in the ?Bundesliga, ultimately joining Willem II on loan at the turn of the year, where he has hit the ground running.


Maurizio Sarri’s side have been hit with a two-window transfer ban for breaching youth regulations, meaning any deal for Lewandowski or Isak could be complicated. However, they remain hopeful that the punishment will either be delayed or overturned, meaning they could be free to sign players this summer.


Mark Lawrenson Predicts Major Blow for Arsenal’s Top 4 Ambitions Ahead of Everton Clash

BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson has predicted that Arsenal will suffer a major blow to their top four ambitions when the Gunners face Everton in a crucial Premier League clash on Sunday.

Unai Emery’s side travel to Goodison Park as they trail third placed Tottenham by one point, enabling Arsenal to overtake their city rivals with a victory against the Toffees.


The Gunners approach Sunday’s match level with Chelsea in fourth place on 63 points, while Manchester United sit just two points adrift of the top four as the battle for the remaining Champions League spots rests on a knife-edge.

Victory on Merseyside would continue a phenomenal run of form that has seen the Gunners pick up 22 points out of a possible 27 in their last nine Premier League outings.

However, pundit Lawrenson has claimed that Arsenal are set to slip up in a tricky clash with Marco Silva’s Everton.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the former Liverpool defender explained his position, saying: “Arsenal’s home form is outstanding which is why they are in the Champions League places, but they are not great on the road – their away record is only the 10th best in the top flight.

Mark Lawrenson

“This is a big test for the Gunners. Everton have done well of late and they have got the bit between their teeth at the moment.

“In the second half of their last home game – a 2-0 win over Chelsea – they looked wired in to what they needed to do.

“The Toffees fans will demand the same again and, if the players can produce a repeat performance, I think they will win.”

Lawrenson’s final prediction, a 2-1 Everton win, would cap off a stunning few weeks that has already seen the club claim victories over Chelsea and West Ham.

Emery’s men emerged 2-0 victors in September’s reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium, with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang on the scoresheet for the Gunners.

Following the trip to Goodison Par, Arsenal will turn their attention to Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final first leg clash against Napoli before facing Watford in the Premier League.


Pavel Nedved Reveals Cristiano Ronaldo Is ‘Working Hard’ to Be Fit for Juve’s UCL Clash Against Ajax

?Juventus vice chairman Pavel Nedved revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo ‘always wants to play’, despite the forward missing out on his club’s recent win over Milan, as the Portuguese superstar continues his recovery from injury to get fit in time to face Ajax in the Champions League.

Ronaldo sat out the 2-1 win on Saturday, after the 34-year-old suffered a thigh injury whilst on international duty with Portugal. As a result, he appeared to be a doubt for Juventus’ Champions League quarter-final clash.

Following a 2-0 first leg defeat to Atletico, ?Ronaldo turned the tie around in the return leg, scoring a hat trick to record a 3-2 aggregate win that set up a quarter final tie with the Dutch side. After missing the ?Milan match, there were fears the five-time Ballon d’Or winner wouldn’t be fit in time for Tuesday’s first leg, however, Nedved revealed to Sky Sport Italia that their star man is on the road to recovery.

“Ronaldo? He is working hard to be here as soon as possible,” he said (via ?Calcio Mercato). 

“He always wants to play but we won’t put any pressure on him.”

Cristiano Ronaldo

Goals from Moise Kean and Paulo Dybala were enough to see off the Rossoneri on Saturday as ?Juventus edge one step closer to a record breaking seventh consecutive title, needing just one more win to lift the trophy with six matches remaining, a feat never before achieved.

With the ?Serie A title all but wrapped up, their attentions are now turned to ?Champions League duty, as they take on Real Madrid’s conquerors Ajax who will be looking to upset the odds when they travel to the Allianz Stadium for Tuesday’s first leg.


Eden Hazard Offered Huge Real Madrid Deal as Chelsea Refuse to Budge on £100m Valuation

?Chelsea are refusing to budge from their £100m valuation of Eden Hazard, despite reports in the Spanish media that Real Madrid have struck a deal worth £86m for the Blues’ talisman.

Maurizio Sarri’s side find themselves in a tricky situation in dealing with Hazard’s future. The Belgian will have just one year left to run on his contract in the summer, with little indication as yet that the forward will sign fresh terms at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues are also entering a transfer ban which prevents them from signing new players in each of the next two transfer windows – meaning they would be unable to replace their prized asset should they opt to cash in this summer.

However, according to the ?Daily Mail, ?Chelsea will not buckle under pressure from ?Real Madrid’s tactics to soften their Premier League counterparts’ stance. It is said that Los Blancos use newspaper Marca as a means of influencing potential transfer dealings.

It had been suggested in the Spanish press that an agreement had already been reached between the two clubs over an £86m deal – a figure which is significantly south of Chelsea’s widely-reported £100m valuation of ?Hazard.

A report from the ?Mirror also suggests that Hazard is set to earn a mammoth package worth £350,000 a week if he completes a switch to the Bernabeu, with Los Blancos hoping to tie the Belgian to a six-year deal in the Spanish capital.

The deal would be worth £110m, with the huge financial outlay reflecting Madrid’s desperation to lure the superstar forward to join their ranks.

As quoted by the Mirror, Hazard has previously said of Madrid: “Real Madrid is the best club in the world. It is my dream since I was a kid.”

Eden Hazard

Chelsea’s appeal against their transfer ban will be heard on Thursday, but even if the sanction is upheld it is expected that Hazard will depart Stamford Bridge, rather than allowing his current deal in west London to run into its final year.

Zinedine Zidane has apparently made Hazard a key target to ignite his revival of Los Blancos next term, and has previously said of the Belgian: “He’s a player I have always appreciated. He is fantastic.

“I will not give my personal opinion about what may happen because the season has not ended. He has played in France, I have watched him a lot and I know him personally.”

Chelsea will apparently hope that Hazard’s exit will pave the way for rising star Callum Hudson-Odoi to finally renew his contract with the Blues.

The England forward is also set to see his current deal expire next summer, with the 18-year-old so far refusing to commit his future to Chelsea due to concerns over his lack of playing time, but Hazard’s likely departure would surely open up increased opportunities for the young forward.

Like Hazard, Hudson-Odoi has also attracted attention from elsewhere, with ?Bayern Munich having seen multiple bids for the prodigious attacker turned down by Chelsea in January, whilst ?Manchester Untied are also widely reported to be interested.

However, it is said that Chelsea would not sanction the sales of both attackers, with Hazard seemingly the more likely to depart.