FKF’s AFCON surprise, Unai’s ‘Umtiti secret’, Man Utd Vs Barca all in Monday’s football dose

Football Kenya Federation and Giant betting company Betin Kenya have launched an ambitious promotion that will see six lucky Kenyans travel to Egypt for the AFCON 2019 tournament.

The lucky Kenyans will spent seven days in Egypt watching all the three Harambee Stars Group stage matches and tour the North African country’s rich heritage sites.

The promotion involves a competition called #ShindaNaStars where fans can answer simple questions through an SMS platform.

Betin and FKF said that the draw will run from 8th April to 10th June and despite the Egypt tour, there will be daily and weekly winners.

To participate in the promo, you have to be above 18 years. And you don’t have to worry about VISAS since Betin will facilitate almost everything.

In Matters English Premier League, Defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos insists Arsenal do not have a mental issue with their away form but accepts they have to be more competitive if they want to break their woeful run.

The Gunners slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Everton as they conceded in a 15th consecutive top-flight away game for the first time since February 1985.

They have won just once on the road in the league, at relegated Huddersfield, since late November but Sokratis denied it was becoming something of a mental hurdle.

Tokeo la picha la sokratis

“I don’t think so because if you see big teams like United and Chelsea they also lost a lot of points,” he said.

“It is very difficult. We are in the Premier League and the other teams are strong.

“I don’t have a reason. Other teams are the same, some days good, some days bad. We have to improve and look towards the next game.

“But I think we didn’t have the same fight (as Everton) so we didn’t win a lot of battles and we conceded a goal which was a little bit easy.”

The fight for a top-four place remains in their own hands but they will have to do without Sokratis for the away game at Watford and the visit of Crystal Palace as a 10th booking of the season means he will serve a two-match suspension.

Tokeo la picha la sokratis

“Of course (it is frustrating). I like to play every game, to be there to help the team but it is not in my hands,” he added.

“I hope that Laurent Koscielny (injured for the trip to Goodison Park) is coming back.

“We need to win at least another four games and then we will see if we are in the top four.”

Following that loss, Unai Emery has called reported Arsenal transfer target Samuel Umtiti “a very good player”.

Arsenal have rather unsurprisingly been linked with a move for Umtiti recently, what with Shokdran Mustafi looking like an expensive Joel Matip.

The Gunners signed Sokratis last summer but the Greek alone has been unable to shore up a defence that has conceded more Premier League goals than Wolves this season.

Umtiti is seen as a potential target as Arsenal’s head of football relations Raul Sanllehi reportedly played a big role in signing the 25-year-old for Barca three years ago.

Manchester United have also been linked with the centre-half after Barca put him up for sale.

But Emery might look to steal a march on his direct rivals for a Champions League place after professing his love for French players.

“He’s a very good player,” he told RMC Sport.

Image result for he is very good gifs

“France has a lot of very good footballers who are playing abroad. The French league is a very attractive market for a lot of teams. I’ve always had French players in my teams. At Valencia, Sevilla, PSG and here at Arsenal.

“I’ve always been able to count on those players.”

Other managers watching Barcelona players closely are Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mike Phelan who were at the Nou Camp last night to witness Barcelona take a major step towards securing La Liga title with a 2-0 win over nearest rivals Atletico Madrid. The Manchester United management duo were in attendance as late Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi goals gave Barca the all-important three points.

However, it was not plain-sailing for Barcelona who played against ten men for the majority of the game after Diego Costa’s sending off. Barca played the ball about nicely but were often caught out on the break and failed to break down a typically rigid Atletico Madrid side. Diego Simeone was adventurous in the second half, bringing on Alvaro Morata for left-back Filipe Luis, knowing his side had to win.

Unfortunately for the Argentine, his bravery did not pay off and Suarez made the breakthrough before Messi added a classy second. The title is now surely theirs but attention turns to midweek when Ernesto Valverde will take his team to Old Trafford for the first leg.

Solskjaer will have gathered a whole host of information from yesterday’s game but his side still face a huge challenge to progress over the two legs. Here are three things Ole will have picked up yesterday.

Barcelona are not perfect

Tokeo la picha la barcelona

The Catalans have been impressive this season but on several occasions, they have looked shaky. Atleti were arguably the better team before the sending off and eve after that they held firm and looked dangerous. Solskjaer will need his attackers to be clinical in front of goal if they are to hurt this Barca defence and pile the pressure on when they get the chance.

United will have to be compact

Atleti’s success last night was a result of their discipline and strict shape. This is a key feature of Diego Simeone’s side and Solskjaer would be wise to try and limit the space between defence and midfield. This Barcelona team can hurt you when they get into the final third so United will have to stifle them in the centre of the park.

Lionel Messi is containable

Tokeo la picha la messi

For 85 minutes, Atletico Madrid dealt with the greatest player on the planet well enough, limiting him to a handful of shots. Messi frequently drops into midfield and plays wonderful passes but if you can limit his space near goal, you can just about get by. He still scored, obviously, but Solskjaer will have seen a way to prevent him running riot on Wednesday night.

This game is Manchester United’s biggest test this season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s biggest test as a manager. He’s at the wheel, but can he steer them safely past Barcelona?

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