River­side It’s back to bat­tle sta­tions can seal ti­tle bid

Daily Dispatch - - Sport -

EAST Lon­don Cen­tral LFA con­cludes the penul­ti­mate round of its fifth pre­mier league sea­son to­mor­row at North End Sta­dium.

River­side will seal their sec­ond cham­pi­onship in three years should they beat strug­gling Napoli side to­mor­row at 3.30pm.

They are six points ahead of their only other ti­tle ri­vals Seag­ulls. Napoli are in a pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion of hav­ing to face the dreaded pro­mo­tion­play­offs should they fal­ter in their last two tough league en­coun­ters against the cham­pi­ons­e­lect to­mor­row and Star of In­dia next week.

This af­ter Con­querors ended Prides hopes of a Top Six fin­ish with a 5-0 win in mid­week – a win that has placed the Dun­can Vil­lage-based side in a strong po­si­tion to re­tain their pre­mier league sta­tus as they are now three points clear of Napoli. Saints, though were rel­e­gated to the First Di­vi­sion af­ter only one sea­son in the top-flight when they suf­fered a 3-2 de­feat to old ri­vals Parkside United on Wed­nes­day.

Seag­ulls will guar­an­tee a top two fin­ish should they beat At­lantic Spurs at 12.30pm while third-place Stars and Swaraj clash at 2pm.

With the Top Six sides au­to­mat­i­cally qual­i­fy­ing for the 2018 Pre­mier Top 8 the bat­tle for the re­main­ing two berths is still up for grabs be­tween Buf­falo City Sports Academy, Broth­ers of Peace and At­lantic Spurs.

Buf­falo City Academy and Broth­ers of Peace meet to­mor­row at 11am mind­ful that de­feat could dent their top eight am­bi­tions. — DDC

“You can say, like some peo­ple do, we have not played one of the top five teams, but last sea­son we did not beat West Ham at home, last sea­son we did not beat Ever­ton at home or Southamp­ton away.”

Much of the fo­cus in the sea­son’s early weeks has been on the freescor­ing Manch­ester clubs, but Ar­se­nal have been go­ing about their busi­ness with quiet ef­fi­ciency since their 4-0 maul­ing by Liver­pool in late Au­gust.

De­spite un­cer­tainty over the fu­tures of Alexis Sanchez and Me­sut Ozil, they have knuck­led down to win three of their past four league matches, with the ex­cep­tion be­ing a hard­fought 0-0 draw at cham­pi­ons Chelsea. Wenger con­ceded on Thurs­day he may have no op­tion but to sell Sanchez and Ozil in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow.

The pair are both out of con­tract at the end of the sea­son and are yet to agree new deals.

“It is pos­si­ble,” Wenger told a press con­fer­ence ahead of his side’s trip to Wat­ford to­day.

“Once you’re in our kind of sit­u­a­tion, we have en­vis­aged ev­ery so­lu­tion.”

Cham­pi­ons Chelsea would not be Crys­tal Palace’s cho­sen op­po­nents as Roy Hodg­son’s be­lea­guered team at­tempt to break their em­bar­rass­ing scor­ing duck at Sel­hurst Park.

The south Lon­don side are the only team in Europe’s top 20 leagues not to have notched a sin­gle goal, with seven de­feats in seven matches.

They have al­ready lost one man­ager in Frank de Boer and Hodg­son has so far been un­able to stop their slide.

Palace are rooted to the bot­tom of the ta­ble with a goal dif­fer­ence of -17, al­ready five points adrift of safety.

Harry Kane’s re­cent goalscor­ing ex­ploits are fright­en­ing.

The Tot­ten­ham striker, the only English player on the 30-name Bal­lon d’Or short­list, has found the back of the net 15 times in his past 10 games for club and coun­try.

Man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino, who de­scribes Kane as one of the best strik­ers in the world, says he is some­times lost for words.

“It’s so dif­fi­cult to talk ev­ery three days about Harry Kane and find dif­fer­ent words to de­scribe him,” Po­chet­tino said af­ter his side’s ruth­less 4-0 win against Hud­der­s­field Town.

“He is fan­tas­tic and for me he is so great in front of goal, but when we don’t have the ball he also runs and fights and works hard for the team.”

Af­ter a busy close sea­son in the trans­fer mar­ket, Ever­ton were tipped by some to upset the es­tab­lished or­der at the top of the Pre­mier League.

But the loss of Romelu Lukaku to Manch­ester United has out­weighed the ac­qui­si­tion of the likes of Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sig­urds­son and Ron­ald Koe­man’s team find them­selves just two points above the drop zone. Ever­ton travel to Brighton and Hove Al­bion to­mor­row.

Fix­tures: To­day: (4pm un­less oth­er­wise stated): Burn­ley v West Ham, Crys­tal Palace v Chelsea, Liver­pool v Manch­ester United (2.30pm), Manch­ester City v Stoke, Swansea v Hud­der­s­field, Tot­ten­ham v Bournemouth, Wat­ford v Ar­se­nal (6.30pm)

To­mor­row: Brighton v Ever­ton (2.30pm), Southamp­ton v New­cas­tle (5pm)

Mon­day (9pm): Brom — AFP Le­ices­ter v West

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