Cech re­turns for Arse­nal at Hull

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport/supplement -

PETR Cech will re­turn in goal for Arse­nal at Hull City to­day after miss­ing the 1-1 Cham­pi­ons League draw at Paris St Ger­main in mid­week. Colom­bian David Ospina was se­lected in Paris and made some fine saves but man­ager Arsene Wenger told a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day that Cech would be back at Hull. He added that Wales mid­fielder Aaron Ram­sey was still un­fit and would also miss the League Cup game at sec­ond-tier Not­ting­ham For­est on Tues­day. "We are cau­tious with him, we do not want a set­back with his ham­string," Wenger said.

Striker Olivier Giroud, sent off after go­ing on from the bench in Paris, is doubt­ful be­cause of a toe in­jury.

Swiss mid­fielder Granit Xhaka was also a sub­sti­tute in mid­week but Wenger has tipped him to "have a huge im­pact" at the club.

"Xhaka is adapt­ing to the pace of the English game... he has the en­gine power, a long pass and likes to come deep," said the French­man.

Wenger, who cel­e­brates 20 years at Arse­nal next week, was com­pli­men­tary about Hull's in­terim man­ager Mike Phe­lan.

"He's done re­ally well," said Wenger. "He's a real foot­ball man who's given some sta­bil­ity to Hull who are dif­fi­cult to beat."

Mean­while, Manch­ester City could be with­out play­maker David Silva for to­day’s home game against Bournemouth while mid­fielder Ilkay Guen­do­gan may make his Pre­mier League de­but.

Silva has fea­tured in all of City’s Pre­mier League games this sea­son but was rested for Wed­nes­day’s 4-0 Cham­pi­ons League win over Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach as a pre­cau­tion after de­vel­op­ing a mi­nor in­jury in train­ing.

“I don’t think it’s a big prob­lem but it hap­pened two days ago so I don’t think he’ll be able to play,” man­ager Pep Guardi­ola told re­porters on Fri­day.

New sign­ing Guen­do­gan re­placed Silva against Moenchenglad­bach, mak­ing his first ap­pear­ance for the club fol­low­ing a dis­lo­cated knee.

“I am think­ing about it (play­ing Guen­do­gan),” said Guardi­ola. “He played good but we can­not for­get he comes from a long-term in­jury.— Reuters THE Bal­lon d’Or deal be­tween France Foot­ball and Fifa has ended, the French pub­li­ca­tion and foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body an­nounced on Fri­day.

The cov­eted award will from now on re­turn to its orig­i­nal home after France Foot­ball’s agree­ment with Fifa fin­ished. The next re­cip­i­ent will be de­ter­mined by a vote of jour­nal­ists — play­ers (na­tional team cap­tains) and man­agers will no longer have a say.

“The con­trac­tual agree­ment be­tween Fifa and France Foot­ball ex­pired in Jan­uary. We told France Foot­ball in early Au­gust that the con­tract would not be re­newed,” the game’s gov­ern­ing body de­clared.

Ar­gentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi won the award for a record fifth time in 2015.

Fifa plans to con­tinue its an­nual best player award to male and fe­male play­ers.

Fifa and France Foot­ball teamed up in 2010 since when only two play­ers have been nom­i­nated for the ti­tle known as the Fifa Bal­lon d’Or — Messi and Cris­tiano Ron­aldo. The first Bal­lon d’Or was won by Stan­ley Matthews, at the time with Black­pool, who beat Al­fredo Di Ste­fano for the in­au­gu­ral ti­tle in 1956. Up to 1994 only Euro­pean play­ers were el­i­gi­ble. The first non-Euro­pean to win it was the fol­low­ing year, AC Mi­lan’s Liberian star Ge­orge Weah.

From 2007 it hon­oured the world’s best player, with Fifa un­der for­mer pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter en­ter­ing into a deal with France Foot­ball in 2010 to merge the Bal­lon d’Or with Fifa’s best world player hon­our. — AFP.

Petr Cech

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