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Joe Jones posted an article in FeaturesMatchday 6 of the Champions League is upon us and, come Wednesday night, we will know once and for all who goes into the knockout stages, who drops into the Europa League, and who will be watching European football from the comfort of their own televisions. In this article, Football Manics previews Tuesday's final-day fixtures involving British teams. Manchester United vs. CSKA Moscow (7:45pm) Manchester United need just one point against CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford to secure top spot in Group A of the Champions League, but will be through in the last 16 providing they avoid a seven-goal defeat. CSKA, meanwhile, must pick up more points than Basel, who face Benfica away on the same night, to guarantee a place in the knockout stages. Basically, barring a major catastrophe, Man United are through and, although Jose Mourinho insists he will take the game seriously, he is expected to rest a number of key players ahead of the weekend's Premier League derby with Manchester City. David de Gea is not expected to be involved, with Sergio Romero to be named in between the sticks and Joel Pereira on the substitutes bench. Luke Shaw is also set to make his first Red Devils appearance since October and Paul Pogba will also be drafted in as his suspension only applies to domestic games. United are unbeaten in their previous five meetings against CSKA and have only lost two of their last 48 CL group games on home soil, so I predict them to claim victory and seal top spot in the group. Score prediction: 3-1 Chelsea vs. Atletico Madrid (7:45pm) Chelsea have the chance to secure top spot in Champions League Group C when they host Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Antonio Conte's charges are two points clear at the top of their group and have already qualified for the knockout stages, but will be eager to send a potential latter-stage rival out of the competition. Diego Simeone's charges are in third place, two points behind Roma in second, so they know that anything less than a win and they are eliminated. However, even a win could see them drop to the Europa League as the Giallorossi only need to beat FK Qarabag to secure their passage to the last 16. David Luiz missed training on Monday as he continues to struggle with a knee problem, while Atletico's Juanfran is pushing for a return from injury. It remains to be seen how Chelsea line up against the Spaniards, especially considering that Antonio Conte has suggested that finishing first could also yield fearsome opponents in the last 16 - Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid are currently second in their groups. Atletico, meanwhile, will be taking to the pitch all guns blazing to keep their slim qualification hopes alive for as long as possible, so I see the visitors taking all three points. Score prediction: 1-2 Celtic vs. Anderlecht (7:45pm) With Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in their group, Celtic were always going to struggle to reach the knockout stages, but they remain in pole position for a Europa League spot, providing they avoid a heavy defeat at home to Anderlecht. The Belgian side have lost all five of their Group B matches this season - including a 3-0 home loss to the Hoops - but know that a victory by a three-goal margin or more would see them leapfrog the Glaswegians and take the last-32 spot in the EL. Brendan Rodgers's side will be boosted by the return of Moussa Dembele and Nir Bitton, while Scott Brown will overtake Kenny Dalglish's record of 68 European Cup appearances. Unless Anderlecht strike early and make Parkhead nervous right from the off, I can see Celtic riding out the first half and then, with their opponents' heads dropping, break open the floodgates in the second half. Score prediction: 3-0 Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
Everton have announced the signing of striker Henry Onyekuru from Belgian side Eupen for an undisclosed fee believed to be £7m. The Nigeria international had been linked with a move to either Arsenal or West Ham United, who had both been prepared to meet his £6.8m release clause. However, work permit issues led to any deal being put on the backburner, and the Merseyside outfit have moved to sign the 20-year-old on a five-year contract. Onyekuru will spend the first 12 months of his time on the Toffees' books out on loan, with last season's Europa League quarter-finalists Anderlecht taking him on a temporary deal. Last season, he netted 22 times for Eupen in Belgium's top flight, while he made his international debut for the Super Eagles earlier this month. “It's not just about going to a big club and sitting on the bench. It's not good for me, or being loaned to a club where I won't play or where I will struggle to play,” Onyekuru said earlier this month. “The money can come later but for now, I just want to play to improve, not just to play for a big club.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
Joe Jones posted an article in Manchester UnitedJose Mourinho has hit out at the attackers who played for Manchester United against Anderlecht in Thursday's Europa League quarter-final first leg, which finished 1-1. The Red Devils took the lead in the 37th minute through Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but were pegged back with just four minutes to go when Leander Dendoncker scored from the hosts' only shot on target. Mourinho praised the Man United defence for their work on the night, but criticised Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial for failing to make the most of their chances. The Portuguese coach told BT Sport: "There was lots of space to kill, good chances. Lots of chances that we don't get because of a bad touch, sloppy touch, a flick, bad decisions in the last third. "Put the performance of two or three of our attacking players together and you squeeze not much juice out of it. Rashford, Lingard, Ibrahimovic, Martial. They were very similar. "But the people behind very solid very focused. The defenders did the serious work but the people who had to kill the game didn't. We start the game at Old Trafford in front, but we had all the conditions to kill the game." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
Burnley have confirmed the signing of Belgium midfielder Steven Defour from Anderlecht on a three-year deal for an undisclosed club-record fee. The 28-year-old has been capped 46 times for the Red Devils and appeared at the 2014 World Cup, but he missed out on a place in the Euro 2016 squad. "I hope I can bring my experience to the team and the club to stay in the Premier League," Defour said. "It's a new challenge for me, but I like that. "It has been a long few weeks, but I am very happy to be here. When I knew that Burnley was interested, I took some time to look into the club and I saw some interesting stuff. "I also called a friend of mine who plays at Brentford and he told me Burnley was the best team in the Championship and that it would be a really good choice for me." Defour, who will reportedly cost Burnley £7.35m, won the Portuguese league twice with Porto and also won the Belgian league title twice during his time at Standard Liege. Share your thoughts on this story by signing up to the Football Manics website for FREE, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
CJ posted an article in BurnleyAccording to R.S.C Anderlecht, Premier League club Burnley have reached an agreement to buy midfielder Steven Defour. Defour, 28, is expected to sign a four-year-deal with the newly promoted Lancashire side for a reported £7.35m fee. Whilst with Porto, Defour won the Portuguese league twice - he has been capped 46 times for the Belgium national team and won the domestic league title twice in his time at Standard Liege. In 2011, Everton rejected a £9m offer from Liege and then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson wrote to Defour wishing him a speedy recovery after he broke his foot five years ago, when he was a reported transfer target for the Red Devils.
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