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Arsenal left praying for help while Man City shine as end game nears’

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We are nearing the end game now.

As Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola rather succinctly put it: “One week left, three games left. Nine points and we will be champions. Seven, six or three points, Arsenal will win the Premier League.”

Guardiola is not placing much faith in Manchester United then, given he expects Arsenal to win every game and the Gunners visit Old Trafford on 12 May.

But, then, he doesn’t have to.

If City win their final three games they will go into the history books as the first team to win the English title in four successive seasons.

Four Erling Haaland goals against Wolves ensured City navigated their latest obstacle with ease. Now it is on to Craven Cottage and Fulham, a team they have beaten 15 times in a row.

They finish with West Ham at home. City have not dropped a point at Etihad Stadium against the Hammers since Guardiola arrived in 2016.

In between comes a trip to Tottenham. City have not scored a Premier League goal or taken a point at Spurs’ new stadium. They did win there in the FA Cup this season, though, and Ange Postecoglou’s team are in terrible form.

And, as Wolves boss Gary O’Neil pointed out, this is the hardest time to play City.

“Manchester City, in May, when they are chasing down a fourth consecutive Premier League title, are fairly tough,” he said.

“They have an incredible focus at this point. History tells you, at this point in the run-in, they are difficult to stop.”

The one negative for City is that Arsenal’s goal difference is better by six, which means they have to win to reach the top. A draw will not do.

“Goal difference is not possible,” Guardiola said. “We cannot draw. We have to take nine points.”

In a separate interview with BBC Match of the Day, he added: “Hopefully, we can come back here in a few days and have the chance against West Ham to come here and win the title.”

For City to get to the West Ham game and not have a chance of the title, it would require Arsenal to beat Manchester United and for City to get no more than a point from the Fulham and Tottenham trips.

That feels unlikely for a team that has put an astonishing run together of 16 wins and four draws since they were beaten at Aston Villa on 6 December.

Not that it should come as a surprise.

Last season, City went on a 16-match unbeaten run, winning 14 times, to take the title before they lost at Brentford on the final day. The year before that, they won 23 times in a run of one defeat in 28. The season before that, they won 17 times in a 19-match unbeaten sequence.

“When you are coming towards the end of the season, you do think differently,” former City defender Micah Richards told Sky Sports. “These games are the most important and that’s where City seem to thrive.”

As Richards’ fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp said, Arsenal’s task is straightforward.

They must win at Old Trafford and then again against Everton on the final day. Anything else is completely out of their hands.

Given the run Mikel Arteta’s side have been on, and the two seasons they have had, few would begrudge the Gunners a first title since 2004.

But, as Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have found out, running City close and overhauling them are two different matters.

“They are an unbelievable team,” said Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice. “What I have learned in this title race is that you have to be nearly perfect. They have done that for three years in a row.

“I have massive respect for what they have done. But we have two games to go and we’re praying for something to go our way.”

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Rangers International FC The only Nigerian football club that has never been relegated from the top tier.

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The Flying Antelopes.

Their dressing is well branded with prancing Antelopes. A beautiful departure to the popular Lion and Leopard heads.

Today at Lekan Salami Stadium Ibadan. We will witness a rekindling of one of the greatest football rivalries in the history of Nigeria.

Rangers Vs Shooting Stars.

No other came close.

And it entered the anals of football history in Africa after the semi finals of African Cup Winners Cup in 1977.

That game was played in Kaduna. Until then, Africa never saw anything like it. Even the Nigerian Air Force fighter jets did a great maneuvering display above the stadium before the start of the game.

To say it was electric would be downplaying it. But that was Rangers era. They arrived to rewrite history. The boys that rose from the ashes.

Rangers Vs Shooting Stars.

When Nigeria won its first African Cup of Nations in 1980. That feat was on the shoulders of Rangers and Shooting Stars.

Rangers had seven players in the then Green Eagles, Shooting Stars had five players. Rangers had Chairman Christian Chukwu, Silvanus Okpara, Okey Isima, Emmanuel Okala, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Ifeanyi Onyedika, and Aloysius Atuegbu.

Shooting had Mathematical Odegbami, Muda Lawal, Best Ogedengbe, Felix Owolabi and Tunde Bamidele.

The two boys from Benin were Henry Nwosu from New Nigerian Bank and David Adiele from Bendel Insurance.

Three foreign based footballers were invited. They are John Chiedozie from Orient FC, Usiyan Thompson from Appalachian State Mountaineers and Godwin Odiye from San Francisco Dons.

But Rangers and Shooting carried that team on their shoulders.

I remember one occasion during a birthday celebration of Chairman Christian Chukwu and Segun Odegbami was speaking about Chukwu’s leadership qualities and abilities to coach in the field. Such admiration and respect existed even when they were rivals at club level.

And that rivalry more than anything helped give us one of the greatest football commentators the world has ever heard of: Ernest Okonkwo.

He it was who named Christian Chukwu Chairman, Emmanuel Okala Man Mountain and Segun Odegbami Mathematical.

In one of his most celebrated commentary he churned out pieces of toasted bread buttered on all side with the slippery of his words.

Hear him:

“Odegbami dilly-dallies, shilly-shallies, and locates Elastic Humphrey Edobor. The storm is gathering near the opponent’s goal area, and it will soon rain a goal. Edobor turns quickly to the right and returns the ball to Odegbami. Odegbami kicks the ball towards Quicksilver Sylvanus Okpala who shoots an intercontinental ballistic missile from outside the penalty box. It is a goal! It is a goal!! Nigeria has scored!”

Pushing that art a little further during the 1985 World Cup qualifying game between Nigeria and Tunisia in Lagos, Ernest Okonkwo described the near perfect understanding between two Eagles players thus: “Okey Isima, with a short pass to Sylvanus Okpala. They both play in Portugal. They can communicate in Igbo; they can communicate in English; they can communicate in Portuguese and they just communicated with the ball”

Segun Odegbami describes Okonkwo thus:

” A master of descriptive language, always conjuring words easily, effortlessly and aptly like a magician with his bag of tricks. He had the power in words to give life to the most boring game. He was a flawless master of the English language, often taking listeners to the limits of their imagination.”

Okonkwo turned football commentary into high art of the most fluid form. Later day commentators like legendary Peter Drury naturally took it to another level.

Rangers and Shooting Stars……

I can’t forget when I was 10 years in primary school and we were at a final of school quiz competition. The last question was that I.I.C.C. Shooting Stars FC is one of the leading football clubs in Nigeria, what is the full meaning of I.I.C.C?

I smiled aloud because I knew nobody would get it. I was that confident. So I waited until they failed and I picked up the bonus points.

IICC = Industrial Investment and Credit Corporation.

It never left my brain till date.

If you are in Ibadan, Oshogbo, Abeokuta, Ọyo even Lagos. Go fill the stadium to capacity.

 

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Temitope Adeshina becomes the first Nigerian woman in history to scale a height of 1.97m

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Temitope Adeshina became the Nigerian woman in history to scale a height of 1.97m in high jump, after her superb performance in the final at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships in US on Sunday.

At the NCAA high jump final Adeshina scaled a personal best, meeting record and national record of 1.97m on her last attempt to rank third based on countbacks. She finished behind Rose Yeboah and Elena Kulichenko who tied for first place.

Adeshina’s feat meet the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifying standard and also she will be the first athlete to represent Nigeria in the high jump event at the Olympics, since Doreen Amata at the games in Rio.

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The Super Eagles is a reflection of the Government, lethargic, inconsistent and confused – Rapper Illbliss reacts to Super Eagles losing 2-1 to Benin Republic in World Cup Qualifiers match

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The Super Eagles’ loss to Benin Republic in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers match has sparked reactions from Nigerian fans, including rapper Illbliss, who expressed his disappointment and compared the team’s performance to the country’s government, stating: “The Super Eagles is a reflection of the Government, lethargic, inconsistent and confused.”

Here are some key points about the match and Nigeria’s chances in the qualifiers:

– Benin Republic won the match 2-1, with Raphael Onyedika scoring for Nigeria and Jodel Dossou and Steve Mounie scoring for Benin Republic.

– The loss puts Nigeria’s World Cup qualification hopes in danger, with the team currently in fifth place in Group C with three points from four games.

– Nigeria’s next match is against South Africa on Friday, and the team is under pressure to win to keep their qualification hopes alive.

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