Rumour Has It: Lampard's position under threat, Tottenham begin Kane contract talks

By Sports Desk January 04, 2021

Frank Lampard's position as Chelsea head coach is under threat, while Tottenham have started talks to extend Harry Kane's deal.

Lampard is under increasing pressure at Stamford Bridge after just one win in their past six Premier League games.

Sunday's 3-1 loss to Manchester City has only put further pressure on the Chelsea boss.

 

TOP STORY – LAMPARD'S POSITION AS CHELSEA BOSS UNDER THREAT

Lampard's job as Chelsea head coach is under serious threat, according to The Athletic.

The report says the Premier League club, who are eighth in the table, have started looking at replacements.

Lampard took charge of Chelsea in July 2019, but they sit seven points behind Liverpool and Manchester United – who have both played one game fewer – despite spending heavily in the close season.

ROUND-UP

- Kane's impressive form for Tottenham has seen him linked with the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. The Independent reports Spurs have started talks with the forward, who has 10 goals and 11 assists in the Premier League this season, over a contract extension, even though his current deal runs until 2024.

- With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez sidelined with long-term injuries, Liverpool continue to be linked with defenders. But The Athletic reports the Premier League champions are not considering a move for Lille defender Sven Botman.

- Struggling for game time at Tottenham, Dele Alli is linked with a reunion with Mauricio Pochettino at PSG. Foot Mercato reports Pochettino has spoken with Alli, who is open to a move.

- Staying at PSG and Sky Sports reports the Ligue 1 giants are in negotiations with Everton to sign Moise Kean on a permanent deal worth around €34.6million (£31m). Kean has scored nine goals in 16 games in all competitions on loan at PSG.

- Samuel Umtiti's Barcelona future is uncertain. Todofichajes reports Nice have a strong interest in the defender on an initial loan deal.

- Patrick Bamford has scored 10 Premier League goals this season and the Leeds United forward is out of contract next year. The Sun reports Leeds are set to reward the 27-year-old with a lucrative new deal.

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    Ivory Coast and Egypt will contest arguably the tie of the round on Wednesday as the two giants hope to book their passage to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

    Carlos Queiroz's Pharaohs failed to impress during the group stage, ultimately reaching the knockouts thanks to 1-0 wins over Guinea-Bissau and Sudan, teams many would expect them to beat comfortably.

    They got the job done but now come up against one of the more eye-catching teams from the first round in Ivory Coast, who rounded off the group stage with a 3-1 win over defending champions Algeria.

    In Wednesday's other last-16 contest, and the final game of the round, surprise package Equatorial Guinea will hope to continue their promising campaign against Mali, who will be firm favourites.

    Ivory Coast v Egypt (16:00 GMT)

    Mohamed Salah and Egypt have struggled to rise to the occasion so far in Cameroon – if they cannot get themselves up for this, they will surely be heading home.

    This will be the 11th AFCON meeting between these two sides, making it the competition's most-played fixture, and Egypt boast a good record against the Elephants in knockout games.

    Ivory Coast have not been successful in any of the previous four elimination clashes – the two most recent were in the 2006 final when Egypt won on penalties, and the semi-final two years later as they ran out 4-1 winners.

    As such, Ivory Coast will surely feel they have a score to settle, and Egypt's record of losing each of their past two AFCON knockout matches should give them some optimism.

    One to watch: Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)

    He may be struggling to get a look-in at club level with Arsenal, but Pepe is undoubtedly key for the Elephants. Only Algeria's Youcef Belaili (24) was directly involved in more shots than him in the group stage (19 – 12 shots, seven chances created), while the former Lille winger has been directly involved in more goals than any other Ivory Coast player in the tournament so far (three – two goals, one assist).

     

    Mali v Equatorial Guinea (19:00)

    Mali may have come through the group stage unbeaten, but Equatorial Guinea will not be writing themselves off producing a shock here.

    After all, Les Aigles have had to largely rely on penalties to get their goals, highlighting that their route to this stage has not been entirely emphatic, while Equatorial Guinea have overcome greater odds.

    In their previous four AFCON knockout games, they have progressed twice – both of those came in 2015, when they caused upsets by getting past Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    This edition of the tournament has seen its fair share of shocks already. Could Mali be the latest to be guilty of complacency?

    One to watch: Adama Noss Traore (Mali)

    As mentioned, Mali have almost entirely got by on penalties, with three of their four goals coming via Ibrahima Kone's spot-kicks. That meant they scored just once from 27 open play shots in the group stage, yet their non-penalty expected goals (xG) of 3.6 suggests chance creation was not the issue. Traore was their most effective player in that respect with his set-piece deliveries, tallying a squad-high key passes.

     

  • AFCON quarter-finals to be moved following Olembe Stadium tragedy, CAF calls for immediate investigation AFCON quarter-finals to be moved following Olembe Stadium tragedy, CAF calls for immediate investigation

    Patrice Motsepe, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), has called for an immediate investigation into an incident at Olembe Stadium that resulted in the deaths of eight people, while he confirmed upcoming Africa Cup of Nations matches would be relocated.

    Eight people died and a further 38 were injured after a stampede outside the stadium in Yaounde during Monday's match between tournament hosts Cameroon and Comoros.

    CAF has started an investigation, while FIFA offered its condolences in a briefing on Tuesday.

    In a media briefing, CAF president Motsepe confirmed the quarter-final tie due to be hosted at Olembe Stadium on Sunday, which will take place between the winner of Ivory Coast's clash with Egypt and the victor of Morocco v Malawi, would be moved to Yaounde's Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.

    "I've been given lots of feedback and had lots of discussions until very early this morning," Motsepe said on Tuesday.

    "The first thing that I’m going to ask the organising committees, the next match that's supposed to take place at the Olembe Stadium should not take place."

    Motsepe also confirmed CAF had requested a report on the incident be completed by Friday.

    "I spoke to the senior person in the government, and it's correct out of respect for our partners, to indicate that there must be an immediate committee set up to investigate what happened," he said.

    "In that context, to find out who was supposed to do what and who did not perform their responsibilities.

    "We want that report by Friday but as I said the game that is scheduled for Olembe Stadium on Sunday is not going to take place and it’s going to take place at Amadou. There will be other changes that will be made."

    One of those other changes is reportedly moving Sunday's other quarter-final from Douala to Limbe.

    A media release attributed to the Cameroon team was released on Tuesday, bearing the name of captain Vincent Aboubakar, was retweeted by the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT) and appeared to question the behaviour of supporters in a statement that has received widespread criticism.

  • Cameroon tell fans to be 'responsible' after AFCON deaths Cameroon tell fans to be 'responsible' after AFCON deaths

    A statement attributed to the Cameroon national team has urged fans to remain "highly disciplined and responsible" after eight fans died in a stampede outside the Olembe Stadium during the match against Comoros.

    Reports began circulating of a disturbance outside the ground as hosts Cameroon claimed a 2-1 last-16 win in the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday, with local media and the Associated Press suggesting at the time that several people had been killed.

    Cameroon's Ministry of Communications then confirmed overnight that, after a "first assessment", eight people had lost their lives in the crush.

    Another 38 people were injured, with seven of those in a serious condition.

    The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has started an investigation, while FIFA offered its condolences in a briefing on Tuesday.

    A media release attributed to the Cameroon team, bearing the name of captain Vincent Aboubakar, was retweeted by the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT) and appeared to question the behaviour of supporters in a statement that has received widespread criticism.

    "The Indomitable Lions and their entire staff deeply wail about the tragic incident that occurred at the Olembe Stadium on Monday, January 24, during the Cameroon vs Comoros match," the statement read.

    "To the families of the victims, they extend their heart-felt condolences and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

    "The Indomitable Lions urge the football fans in Cameroon and Africa to be highly disciplined and responsible within and outside the stadiums so that football matches in general and the Africa Cup of Nations can remain festive moments.

    "They also call for the preservation of security, brotherhood and shared happiness in the stadiums. On behalf of the Indomitable Lions, Vincent Aboubakar."

    CAF has since announced the stadium will not be used for a quarter-final as initially planned following Monday's incident.

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