• Bradford City vs Colchester United

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 33.6% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Colchester United, at 39.4%, are solid favorites to beat Bradford City who have a 27.0% chance. In simulation wins, Bradford City upsets Colchester United by averaging 6.1 shots and 2.7 shots on goal. They average 1.8 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.3 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Colchester United 1.0 to Bradford City 0.8.

  • Wycombe Wanderers vs Peterborough United

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 27.7% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Peterborough United, at 53.1%, are heavy favorites to beat Wycombe Wanderers who have a 19.2% chance. In simulation wins, Wycombe Wanderers upsets Peterborough United by averaging 5.1 shots and 2.2 shots on goal. They average 1.8 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.4 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Peterborough United 1.5 to Wycombe Wanderers 0.8.

  • Watford vs Aston Villa

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    This is a very close match-up. In 10,000 simulations Watford won 33.3%, Aston Villa won 34.8% and there was a 31.9% chance of a draw. Overall, the average simulation score is Watford 1.0 to Aston Villa 1.0. In simulation wins, Watford averages 10.0 shots and 3.8 shots on goal. They average 1.9 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.4 in simulation losses. When Aston Villa wins they average 9.5 shots and 3.6 shots on goal. They average 1.9 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.4 in simulation losses.

  • Newcastle United vs Everton

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 27.1% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Everton, at 55.0%, are heavy favorites to beat Newcastle United who have a 17.9% chance. In simulation wins, Newcastle United upsets Everton by averaging 5.9 shots and 2.7 shots on goal. They average 1.8 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.4 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Everton 1.6 to Newcastle United 0.8.

  • Arsenal vs Chelsea

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 25.2% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Chelsea, at 55.4%, are heavy favorites to beat Arsenal who have a 19.4% chance. In simulation wins, Arsenal upsets Chelsea by averaging 8.3 shots and 3.9 shots on goal. They average 2.2 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.6 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Chelsea 1.9 to Arsenal 1.1.

  • Southampton vs Crystal Palace

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 29.9% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Crystal Palace, at 39.9%, are solid favorites to beat Southampton who have a 30.3% chance. In simulation wins, Southampton upsets Crystal Palace by averaging 11.1 shots and 4.6 shots on goal. They average 2.0 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.5 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Crystal Palace 1.3 to Southampton 1.1.

  • Birmingham City vs Middlesbrough

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 34.5% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Middlesbrough, at 47.9%, are heavy favorites to beat Birmingham City who have a 17.6% chance. In simulation wins, Birmingham City upsets Middlesbrough by averaging 7.7 shots and 2.8 shots on goal. They average 1.6 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.2 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Middlesbrough 1.1 to Birmingham City 0.5.

  • Preston North End vs Barnsley

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 31.1% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Preston North End, at 38.8%, are solid favorites to beat Barnsley who have a 30.1% chance at home. Overall, the average simulation score is Preston North End 1.2 to Barnsley 1.0. In simulation wins, Barnsley upsets Preston North End by averaging 8.0 shots and 3.0 shots on goal. They average 2.0 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.5 in simulation losses.

  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs AFC Bournemouth

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 34.9% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Brighton & Hove Albion, at 37.1%, are solid favorites to beat AFC Bournemouth who have a 28.0% chance at home. Overall, the average simulation score is Brighton & Hove Albion 1.0 to AFC Bournemouth 0.8. In simulation wins, AFC Bournemouth upsets Brighton & Hove Albion by averaging 10.1 shots and 4.0 shots on goal. They average 1.7 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.3 in simulation losses.

  • Manchester City vs Sheffield United

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 18.7% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Manchester City, at 70.7%, are heavy favorites to beat Sheffield United who have just a 10.6% chance to win at home. Overall, the average simulation score is Manchester City 2.5 to Sheffield United 0.9. In simulation wins, Sheffield United upsets Manchester City by averaging 7.2 shots and 3.1 shots on goal. They average 2.2 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.6 in simulation losses.

  • Crewe Alexandra vs Macclesfield Town

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 32.7% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Crewe Alexandra, at 55.1%, are heavy favorites to beat Macclesfield Town who have just a 12.2% chance to win at home. Overall, the average simulation score is Crewe Alexandra 1.2 to Macclesfield Town 0.4. In simulation wins, Macclesfield Town upsets Crewe Alexandra by averaging 2.6 shots and 1.7 shots on goal. They average 1.4 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.2 in simulation losses.

  • Newport County vs Cheltenham Town

    21 Jan 2020, 00:00 CET

    There is a 37.6% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Cheltenham Town, at 35.5%, are solid favorites to beat Newport County who have a 26.9% chance. In simulation wins, Newport County upsets Cheltenham Town by averaging 8.1 shots and 2.7 shots on goal. They average 1.6 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.2 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Cheltenham Town 0.8 to Newport County 0.7.

  • West Brom 0-1 Stoke City - Match Report

    Stuttering Championship leaders West Brom slip up again with defeat to Stoke

    20 Jan 2020, 23:41 CET

    West Brom’s winless run stretched to six games as the Sky Bet Championship leaders suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke.

    Striker Tyrese Campbell, whose father Kevin used to play for the Baggies, scored the only goal after nine minutes.

    West Brom failed to force a serious save from Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland, as their recent difficulties continued. Slaven Bilic’s side have now taken just four points from their last 18 available – yet still lead the table by a point from Leeds.

    Stoke moved four points clear of the relegation zone after securing successive away wins.

    West Brom were dealt an early blow when left winger Grady Diangana, making his first start since December 14 following a hamstring injury, was left hobbling in only the second minute.

    Kenneth Zohore replaced the on-loan West Ham winger in the fourth minute and worse was to follow for the hosts as they fell behind.

    Nick Powell sent Tom Ince racing away and Ahmed Hegazi failed to clear, allowing the winger to square to Campbell, who steered the ball in from 10 yards out despite goalkeeper Sam Johnstone getting a good hand to the ball.

    It was Campbell’s fifth goal in nine league games for Stoke.

    Sadly for Campbell, that was his last meaningful piece of action as he became the second player to limp off injured, Lee Gregory replacing him after 25 minutes.

    West Brom had been well below par for the first 20 minutes but Matheus Pereira saw a close range header held by Butland on the line after a poor header by Bruno Martins Indi.

    The game became a big niggly and Pereira appeared to swing an elbow into the face of Stoke captain Joe Allen. Referee Tim Robinson gave a strong lecture to both players.

    Zohore went close for Albion when his angled curling effort from 22 yards flew inches over the bar.

    Pereira was then a fraction away from an equaliser when his curling free kick from out wide sailed just wide with Butland at full stretch deep into stoppage time at the end of the first half.

    West Brom started the second half as they finished the first, on top, as they kept pushing for an equaliser.

    Hal Robson-Kanu’s stooping header dropped wide after Zohore’s lobbed centre, then Pereira’s inviting cross was punched clear by Butland, before Zohore screwed his shot comfortably wide after a pacy, diagonal run.

    Stoke had barely got out of their own half in the second period, but they hit Albion on the counter on the hour with the chance to make it 2-0.

    Gregory could only sidefoot wide from six yards after a driving run by Allen.

    Stoke had to defend for their lives in the last few minutes but their defence and Butland stood firm, the goalkeeper catching or punching cross after cross to preserve their clean sheet.

  • Villa set to secure Samatta move but Smith admits he still needs extra firepower

    Samatta has scored 61 goals in 165 appearances for Genk.

    20 Jan 2020, 15:23 CET

    Aston Villa are set to clinch an £8.5million move for Mbwana Samatta but with boss Dean Smith confirming he still needs another striker.

    Smith claims it is now just a matter of “dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s” on the deal for Genk’s Tanzania international Samatta, who has scored 61 goals in 165 appearances during his four years with the Belgian club.

    Although Samatta’s transfer has now missed the deadline for Tuesday night’s Premier League clash at home to Watford, Smith said of the move for the 27-year-old that “just some paperwork needs completing”.

    He added: “I’m very hopeful he can become an Aston Villa player soon. It’s very close.

    “It’s disappointing (the deal has not been finalised), we would have wanted him in but, even if he had come in today, he’d have had only one morning with the players.”

    Villa face the Hornets without a recognised striker for the fourth consecutive match, with Wesley out for the season with a knee injury and Keinan Davis only just returning to training after three months out with a hamstring problem, while Jonathan Kodjia has joined Qatari side Al-Gharafa.

    “The lads have got used to it over the last three or four games,” said Smith.

    “Wesley got injured against Burnley in a good performance and a good result, and, since then, we’ve played well at Leicester away in the cup and we did well, and Brighton as well.”

    Smith concedes, though, he needs extra firepower. He said: “Yes, I do. It’s something we’re talking about all the time.

    “Suso (Jesus Garcia Pitarch, sporting director) believes the same as well. It’s something we’re looking for and looking to press on with as well.”

    Smith has confirmed he would never have let Kodjia depart if there had been any doubt over landing Samatta.

    “Jonathan’s had a tough season,” said Smith on the 30-year-old, who scored 31 goals in 106 appearances.

    “He came back from the AFCON very, very tired after playing a summer series. Our season didn’t finished until May 27. He then got injured at Tottenham and has struggled for fitness since due to game time.

    “With his contract being up at the end of the season, we hadn’t offered him a new one, and so he wanted to look at other avenues and we’ve allowed that to happen.”

    Smith is also set to let Croatia international goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic depart on loan to Toulouse.

    Kalinic has only made eight appearances since a £5.4million move from Gent a year ago.

    “There’s a possibility of Lovre going out, simply because he needs game time,” said Smith.

    “He’s a Croatia national goalkeeper, with his country qualifying for the Euros. He wants to get that opportunity to play in the summer.

    “I’ve got Pepe (Reina) and Orjan (Nyland) who’s been in fine form for us, so his chances are limited here.”

  • Potter rejects claims Brighton have been lucky to reach current points total

    The Seagulls have secured just seven points from their last eight matches.

    20 Jan 2020, 15:14 CET

    Graham Potter has dismissed claims his side had been lucky to reach their current points tally, amid a poor run of form.

    The Seagulls have secured just seven points from their last eight matches and currently sit two points ahead of Aston Villa, who occupy the final relegation spot.

    Potter’s side travel to Bournemouth on Tuesday, with both sides facing the threat of relegation, and will be hoping for for a similar performance to their comfortable 2-0 victory over the Cherries at the Amex Stadium in December.

    The Seagulls boss said at a press conference reported by the club Twitter account: “Comparisons to last year aren’t useful for me because I wasn’t here. Sometimes you get points you do or sometimes don’t deserve.

    “I don’t think we’ve been lucky to get our current tally, but of course we can always improve.”

    Bournemouth have fared even worse in recent weeks, losing 10 of their last 12 matches and are just three points above bottom-placed Norwich, although Potter believes every side is capable of securing results in the top-flight.

    He added: “We’ll have moments where we don’t win, this is a really tough league.

    “We had nine wins last year, we need to learn from all of our experiences and try to improve.

    “Everyone is capable of getting results in this division.”

    During his side’s draw against Aston Villa on Saturday, Neal Maupay was involved in a scuffle with former Brentford team-mate Ezri Konsa, but the manager expects the 23-year-old to learn from his mistakes.

    Potter said: “I’ll speak to Neal later today, but he’s young and he’ll learn from the weekend, we all make mistakes. He’s key for us, as are all of our attacking players.”

    The Seagulls boss has no fresh injury concerns to contend with and is set to have a full squad available apart from long-term absentees Dan Burn and Jose Izquierdo.

  • Preston boss Alex Neil wary of Barnsley threat

    New boss Gerhard Struber has overseen a revival at Oakwell.

    20 Jan 2020, 15:13 CET

    Preston boss Alex Neil warned “nobody has any divine right to beat anyone” as his side look to continue their play-off push at Barnsley on Tuesday night.

    Saturday’s 2-1 win over Charlton ended a run of five league games without a win for Preston, who sit two points outside the play-off places ahead of the midweek fixtures.

    Barnsley sit in the bottom three after a 1-0 reverse away to Bristol City on Saturday, but Neil said he has been impressed by the impact made by Gerhard Struber since his arrival in late November.

    “They’re a good team,” Neil said. “At home they are a much more difficult proposition.

    “(Struber)’s certainly made a big difference. They are number one for pressing and shots since he came in which is some going.

    “This is a really tough league and nobody has any divine right to beat anyone.”

    Preston have been short of numbers in midfield of late, with Ben Pearson’s illness seeing him sidelined along with Paul Gallagher and Tom Bayliss, but Pearson could return on Tuesday night.

    Saturday’s defeat saw Barnsley come up against another side pushing for promotion, and though they lost to Niclas Eliasson’s late goal, Struber believes his side showed further signs they are going in the right direction.

    “I was pleased with the performance and, especially in the second half, we created a lot of chances,” he said.

    “We were not in the same killer mood as in recent games. But I believe that if we continue to play that way we will get the results we need to stay in this league.”

    Tuesday’s other game sees Middlesbrough and Birmingham meet at the Riverside Stadium.

    Boro are coming off a 1-0 defeat against Fulham on Friday night which ended a five-game unbeaten run in the league.

    With their injury list continuing to bite, Jonathan Woodgate was unable to field his favoured formation, and he remains desperate for reinforcements.

    The club have been linked with the likes of former player Ben Gibson, now at Burnley, and ex-West Ham midfielder Reece Oxford, who has been struggling for playing time with Augsburg in the Bundesliga.

    Birmingham, one point behind Boro in 18th place, have won only two of their nine Championship games since Pep Clotet’s status as head coach was made permanent at the start of December.

    On Saturday they took a point from a 1-1 draw with Cardiff, unable to hold on to an early lead provided by teenager Jude Bellingham as Lee Tomlin equalised close to the hour mark.

    After the match, Clotet pointed to a number of missed opportunities in the match, and said bringing a new striker to the club was a priority this month.

    “At the minute we are of course working on a striker because you can clearly see we create a lot of chances and we need to help the team more,” he said. “Any other player the club think that can help us is obviously welcome.”

  • Could Liverpool celebrate the Premier League title at Everton?

    If the top flight’s leading teams keep up their current point averages, the Reds would clinch the trophy in their game at Goodison Park on March 14.

    20 Jan 2020, 15:10 CET

    Liverpool are on course to wrap up the Premier League at the home of rivals Everton in March.

    If the top flight’s leading teams keep up their current point averages, the Reds would clinch the trophy after their game at Goodison Park on March 14.

    With eight games remaining, that would be comfortably a record for the earliest title coronation in the Premier League era as well as a chance to lord it over their neighbours.

    Get the party started

    Liverpool’s near-perfect record had their fans singing “we’re going to win the league” as they beat Manchester United on Sunday, though Klopp insisted he and his players “will not be part of that party yet”.

    They lead by 16 points with a game in hand and average 2.9 per game compared to second-placed Manchester City’s 2.1 – those rates have them on course to lead by 24.7 points, rounding to 25, with eight games remaining and therefore 24 to play for.

    That would obliterate the record set by Manchester United in 2001 and matched by City two years ago – both of those squads won the league with five games to go.

    Liverpool’s current lead is a record at this stage of the season – they have played 22 games, compared to 23 for all of their rivals – with City’s 100-point 2017-18 campaign providing the only real precedent.

    Pep Guardiola’s men were 15 points clear after 22 games and though that was briefly cut to 12, they pulled away again to an eventual record winning margin of 19.

    United led by 11 from surprise challengers Sunderland at this stage of their 2000-01 title win. The Black Cats faded to finish seventh, leaving Arsenal and Liverpool in pursuit as United’s lead peaked at 16 points with five games left – they finished 10 clear.

    The Red Devils had won by 18 the previous season – also a record until beaten by City’s centurions – but their lead did not hit double figures until their 31st game and was constant at 13 for much of the run-in before a final flourish.

    Arsenal’s “Invincibles” of 2003-04 only re-took top spot in the table by winning game 22 of their season, though they won the title with four games to spare and by an eventual 11-point margin.

    United left in the shade

    Victory on Sunday also stretched Liverpool’s lead over opponents United to 30 points – just one fewer than the final margin between the two sides last season.

    Liverpool’s breathtaking pursuit of champions City last term brought them 97 points, a record for a Premier League team not winning the title and 31 clear of United’s sixth-placed tally of 66. Even then, the gap was ‘only’ 16 at this stage of the season.

    For much of the Premier League era, Sir Alex Ferguson’s United teams dominated Liverpool – and most of the other competition – and it is only in recent years that the balance has shifted.

    Liverpool finished 20 ahead of United in 2013-14, when Brendan Rodgers’ side were runners-up to City, but took until the 26-game mark for the margin to reach double figures.

  • Douvan could be back for Cheltenham

    ‘So far, so good’ with dual Festival hero.

    20 Jan 2020, 15:07 CET

    Connections of Douvan remain hopeful of getting the classy two-miler to the Cheltenham Festival for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

    The 10-year-old suffered a setback after making a triumphant return following 569 days on the sidelines in the Clonmel Oil Chase in November. That meant he could not run at Leopardstown over Christmas.

    He appears to be on the mend and trainer Willie Mullins is about to step up his work.

    “It’s possible he’ll go straight to Cheltenham. He wouldn’t run before it,” said Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father.

    “If he makes Cheltenham great, if he doesn’t we’ll look for something after Cheltenham.

    “We’re taking it week by week with him. He’s obviously very fragile, but he’s entered in Cheltenham and the plan is to get him to Cheltenham.

    “He’s here in the yard, he’s been ridden out so we’re just stepping him up slowly. We’ve got a bit of time at the moment. We don’t have to press any buttons just yet. It’s so far, so good.”

    Saldier also missed Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting but he could make the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

    He staked a claim for honours when winning the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November, after being off the track following fall at Naas a year earlier.

    Mullins added: “He’s out riding away and we’re hoping to go straight to Cheltenham with him.

    “It’s not ideal, but that’s just the way it has to be. At the moment it’s straight to the Champion Hurdle.”

  • ‘It’s unforgivable’ – Neville hits out at Manchester United over recruitment

    United’s defeat to Liverpool on Sunday left them 30 points behind the league leaders.

    20 Jan 2020, 15:02 CET

    Gary Neville said he cannot understand why Manchester United’s owners have kept faith with those responsible for the club’s recruitment policy.

    Former United and England defender Neville, who won eight Premier League titles during a near 20-year playing career at Old Trafford, launched a withering attack on the club’s boardroom after Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Liverpool.

    “I can’t believe the investment that’s been put into the squad over the last five or six years, seven years, and you end up with that out on the pitch,” Neville said on his podcast shortly after the match.

    “I cannot believe it. I saw a statistic two weeks ago or a week ago that Manchester United have the second highest wage bill in the world and that’s the team they have got, that’s the squad.

    “It’s unforgivable. It really is. I can’t change the ownership of Manchester United, no-one can, but I’m struggling to understand for the life of me why the ownership have trusted that management team to oversee the building of a Premier League title-winning team since Sir Alex Ferguson left.

    “Because if you don’t lose your job for essentially overseeing that investment, that wage bill and putting that team out on to the pitch, then I have to say something is really wrong.”

    Neville said United’s executive team, led by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, had been successful at creating commercial revenue for the club, but had failed when it came to recruiting players.

    United signed Paul Pogba for £89million in August 2016 and Romelu Lukaku for £75m the following summer, while Alexis Sanchez agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract worth a reported £14m a year after tax in early 2018.

    Last summer, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka arrived at Old Trafford for transfer fees of £80m and £50m respectively and Daniel James cost them an initial £15m.

    “They need to sort it out and quickly,” added Neville, who said it had been painful to see arch-rivals Liverpool take another big stride towards their first league title in 30 years with Sunday’s win.

    “The thing that should shock the owners more than anything, they should see that last-minute goal – they should have that playing on record every single day in their office over in America – Liverpool Football Club’s fans singing ‘We shall not be moved’.”

    United’s defeat at Anfield was their seventh in the league this season and left them 30 points behind Jurgen Klopp’s runaway leaders.

  • Lampard backs Arrizabalaga despite inconsistent displays

    Frank Lampard refused to criticise Kepa Arrizabalaga over Newcastle’s winner but hinted that the goalkeeper could be more consistent.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:59 CET

    Arrizabalaga, 25, failed to keep out Isaac Hayden’s injury-time header at St James’ Park to hand the Magpies all three points in a 1-0 victory.
    Despite the Blues dominating possession, they could not find a way through and the west Londoners’ latest reverse means they have lost six of their past 11 top-flight games.
    The Stamford Bridge outfit are still five points clear of the chasing pack in the race for the top four, although fifth-placed Manchester United do have a game in hand.
    Arrizabalaga arrived at Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao in the summer of 2018 for £71.6million, making him the world’s most expensive goalkeeper and there is no question that he has generally lived up to his price tag.
    However, the general consensus is that he should have been able to deal with Hayden’s glancing header at the weekend to earn his side a point on Tyneside.
    Lampard was asked about the Spain international shot-stopper at Monday’s press conference and, while hinting that he is not faultless, refused to kick the player while he is down.
    “I will always defend all the players, goalkeepers hold their hands up as well,” he said. “At times he has made good saves, at times he might feel he should do better.
    “He is a good goalkeeper. There have been times that he has saved us points.”
    Arrizabalaga has conceded 30 Premier League goals from 23 appearances this term – the highest number among the current top-four clubs – and will have another chance to keep a clean sheet when Arsenal come calling on Tuesday evening.
    The Gunners have scored just six goals in their last seven top-flight encounters and drew 1-1 with Sheffield United on Saturday.

  • Chelsea’s January transfer window striker options

    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says if he is to bring in any new faces in January then signing a striker will be his priority.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:49 CET

    The Blues dominated proceedings at Newcastle on Saturday but slipped to a 1-0 defeat, as they managed just four of their 19 shots on target.
    Lampard had previously suggested he would be happy to go through the winter window without adding to his squad as he was wary of making any “knee-jerk” moves after seeing the club’s transfer ban overturned.
    In the wake of the loss at St James’ Park, the Chelsea boss has now conceded his team are lacking a “killer instinct in front of goal” and, as such, are always susceptible to the kind of sucker-punch Newcastle came up with at the weekend as Isaac Hayden hit a stoppage-time winner.
    “If we are looking for people to bring in to the areas to win games when you are controlling it, it is scoring goals,” said Lampard.
    “It’s clear from what I’m saying we know where we need to strengthen.”
    We’ve taken a look at some of the strikers being linked with Chelsea as we enter the final stages of the January transfer window.
    Timo Werner, RB Leipzig
    Germany international Timo Werner has emerged as one potential target but there are a number of obstacles Chelsea need to overcome if they are to land the 23-year-old.
    The biggest hurdle is Leipzig’s reluctance to sell in the mid-season window. The Red Bull Arena outfit are the current leaders in the Bundesliga and with Bayern Munich stuttering have a real chance to claim the German title this season. Werner may also be keen to see out the season at his current club as they battle for silverware.
    Werner is under contract until 2023 so Leipzig are under no pressure to sell, and Chelsea are likely to face plenty of competition as Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have all been linked.
    Moussa Dembele, Lyon
    Lyon’s Moussa Dembele isn’t an out-and-out striker but he has an impressive scoring record regardless with 15 goals in 29 games across all competitions this season.
    Reports have claimed Chelsea have already seen a €40million bid knocked back for Dembele and will have to raise that offer, significantly, if they are to do a deal in January.
    Again they are likely to face competition, with Manchester United and Spurs also mooted as possible suitors.
    Edinson Cavani, Paris Saint-Germain
    Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani has handed in a transfer request at PSG and an exit looks inevitable as his contract is up in the summer. Lampard has stressed his focus is on youth and signing players who have the potential to develop further and at 32 Cavani doesn’t fit that profile, but he is a proven goalscorer who would provide a quick-fix for the remainder of the campaign.
    Atletico Madrid had been considered as the frontrunners in the battle for Cavani and a move to Spain does look more likely, while Manchester United have also been linked.
    Lampard is a fan though, as he labelled Cavani a “great player” and admitted he could seek to sign an experienced campaigner in the winter window as his young squad may “need a bit of help.”

  • Hodgson says players returning from injury will be like new signings at Palace

    He also revealed Dundee United youngster Scott Banks is on the verge of joining the club.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:47 CET

    Roy Hodgson is unsure how active Crystal Palace will be during the rest of the January transfer window, with injured players set to return next month.

    The Eagles boss has consistently talked about wanting two full-backs in addition to a forward since the summer, but only striker Cenk Tosun has arrived on loan from Everton this month.

    After hosting Southampton on Tuesday night, Palace don’t play again in the Premier League until February 1 and two weeks later they have the weekend of 14th-16th off.

    Hodgson hopes this period will allow the likes of Mamadou Sakho, Patrick Van Aanholt (both hamstring), Jeffrey Schlupp (hip), Andros Townsend (groin) and Christian Benteke (muscle) to return and help the club remain in the top half of the table.

    “As for transfer targets or possibilities, we are still active, but the biggest boost I think will be from the players who I have not had chance to see or work with during the last six weeks,” he said.

    “They will almost be new players because it will be six weeks since they had a chance to compete in the first-team. They will certainly boost the squad and give me alternatives.

    “In the last few weeks we haven’t had a lot of alternatives and that is why I felt the need to praise the guys who have been out there doing the job each week and getting very little respite.”

    Hodgson did reveal the club were “on the verge” of signing teenager Scott Banks from Dundee United.

    Just 18, the attacking midfielder is set to join the Eagles academy set-up and will not be part of Hodgson’s senior side for a while yet.

    He added: “I know about Scott Banks, I think he is on the verge of joining us, but he is a very young player who Doug (Freedman) knows from Scotland. His first contacts with the club will probably be more on the academy side.

    “I haven’t been able to scout him at all, but I know he is a very talented midfield player and the right type we are looking for so it will be nice to welcome him to the club.”

    Palace only faced Southampton on December 28 and Hodgson handed a start to central midfielder James McCarthy in the 1-1 draw.

    The summer signing from Everton had largely been restricted to cameo roles before the trip to St Mary’s, but has started every fixture for the Eagles since and earned praise from his manager.

    McCarthy suffered a broken tibia and fibula for the Toffees in January 2018 and only made one appearance last season after recovering from the injury.

    “I think he has been excellent and is getting better and better. We knew it would take a little bit of time,” Hodgson said.

    “He deserves an awful lot of credit as does Connor Wickham because when you have these serious injuries, that take you out of football for a long time, it is not easy to get back to your level again.”

  • Spurs boss Mourinho 'in touch' with Real Madrid over £51m striker

    Jose Mourinho would still like to see a Real Madrid striker arrive at Tottenham in January, according to reports.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:45 CET

    Jose Mourinho would still like to see Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic arrive at Tottenham in January following Harry Kane’s injury, according to reports. Kane is likely to be out of action until mid-April after rupturing a tendon in his hamstring away at Southampton on New Year’s Day, while some reports suggest he could be sidelined for the rest of the season. The England skipper’s absence has proved costly for Spurs of late, with Mourinho’s men failing to score in each other last three Premier League games. And according to Defensa Central, Mourinho has been in touch with old club Madrid over a potential move for Jovic in the January transfer window. The 22-year-old completed a £51m switch to Los Blancos in the summer but has so far failed to justify that high price tag, scoring just one goal in 18 appearances under Zinedine Zidane. Nevertheless, it is believed that Madrid are prepared to be patient with Jovic as he continues to adapt to life in LaLiga. The report adds that Florentino Perez is determined to keep hold of the Serbia international this month, meaning Spurs will need to table an impressive offer if they want to lure Real into a sale. But it would appear that a striker will arrive in north London over the next two weeks, with Mourinho admitting after the goalless draw with Watford that Spurs need to do some business. “Do we need a striker? Yeah, if possible, yes,” he said. “But it has to be a positive situation for us, so in this moment we have attacking players that are very good. Son [Heung-Min], Lucas [Moura], [Erik] Lamela, [Giovani] Lo Celso, Dele Alli – of course they are very good, but we miss that target man. “So if it’s possible, we are doing everything possible and it’s not easy but we are trying to add that player to the squad.”  

  • Lazaro on verge of Magpies switch

    Inter midfielder Valentino Lazaro is close to joining Newcastle United although Bundesliga side RB Leipzig are still keen on the player.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:43 CET

    Lazaro, 23, moved to the San Siro from Hertha Berlin in the summer of 2019 but has failed to establish himself in Antonio Conte’s plans.
    The Austria international has made only six Serie A appearances, with three of those being starts, and he has yet to open his goalscoring account for the Italian giants.
    The youngster has been on the bench for the majority of the campaign and it may well be that his time in Milan is coming to an end.
    Newcastle boss Steve Brue is desperate for reinforcements during the winter window after seeing numerous members of his squad succumb to injury over the past few months.
    The Magpies picked up nine injuries during the busy festive period and it was confirmed on Monday that defenders Jetro Willems and Paul Dummett will miss the rest of the season.
    Tuttomercatoweb.com are reporting that the Tynesiders are close to securing a deal for the youngster and have offered 2m euros for an initial loan, with an option to buy outright for 20m euros should all parties be in agreement at the end of the season.
    The one stumbling block bight be Leipzig who, according to German outlet Bild, are refusing to back down in their pursuit of the Graz-born ace.
    He is no stranger to German top-flight football, having enjoyed 58 Bundesliga outings for Hertha between 2017 and 2019, and Bruce told reporters on Monday that he “hopes” the players arrives.

  • Villa without recognised striker again for Watford visit

    Dean Smith’s side were beaten 3-0 by Watford at Vicarage Road at the end of December.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:33 CET

    Aston Villa are again without a recognised striker for Tuesday’s Premier League visit of Watford as the club is still tied up with paperwork for £8.5million Genk forward Mbwana Samatta.

    Wesley is out for the season with a knee injury, Keinan Davis has only just returned to training after nearly three months out with a hamstring problem, while Jonathan Kodjia has been sold to Qatari side Al Gharafa.

    Villa are also without midfielder John McGinn (fractured ankle), and goalkeepers Tom Heaton (knee) and Jed Steer (calf), while Lovre Kalinic is set to join Toulouse on loan.

    Ismaila Sarr has been ruled out of Watford’s trip to Villa Park.

    Sarr limped off with a hamstring injury in his side’s goalless draw against Tottenham and faces a spell on the sidelines.

    Danny Welbeck is closing in on a return but the game against Villa comes too soon for the former England international.

    Will Hughes (knee) Sebastian Prodl (shin), Daryl Janmaat (knee), and Tom Cleverley (foot) remain sidelined.

    Aston Villa provisional squad: Reina, Nyland, Guilbert, Engels, Chester, Konsa, Mings, Taylor, Elmohamady, Luiz, Nakamba, Drinkwater, Targett, Grealish, Trezeguet, El Ghazi, Hourihane, Jota, Lansbury, Vassilev.

    Watford provisional squad: Foster, Cathcart, Hughes, Doucoure, Capoue, Deulofeu, Kabasele, Deeney, Gomes, Dawson, Masina, Foulquier, Chalobah, Pussetto, Pereyra, Quina, Gray, Success.

  • Westwood urges Burnley to ‘kick on’

    Ashley Westwood wants Burnley to "kick on" after returning to winning ways against Leicester on Sunday.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:25 CET

    Burnley haven’t been able to find any consistency in 2019-20 but Westwood is hoping that can change in the second half of the campaign.
    They have bounced from one terrible run to another, losing four in a row prior to Sunday’s win over Leicester, and find themselves in a battle against relegation.
    Sean Dyche’s men haven’t been able to go more than two games without tasting defeat since October when they enjoyed a four-match unbeaten run.
    Sunday’s 2-1 triumph has slightly eased those concerns, moving Burnley five points clear of relegation, but they still have plenty of work to do to ensure they maintain or potentially even enhance that gap.
    Westwood proved to be the matchwinner against the Foxes, scoring his first league goal of the term, and he wants the Clarets to back up that performance.
    “It was a massive win for us, The character in the group really shows through and it was a great performance. That’s what we are about. We never give in,” Westwood told the club’s official website.
    “We need to kick on now. It was always going to be a tough run of fixtures and it was a massive win. It gives us a bit of breathing space. We’ve got two more big games and then we’ve got a good run-in.”
    Earning back-to-back victories is set to be a tough task for the Lancashire outfit as they head to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United next time out on Wednesday.
    A home meeting with Arsenal and a trip to Southampton follow their Old Trafford date, both of whom are placed above Burnley in the table, and it’s set to be a testing run for the relegation-threatened side over the coming weeks.

  • Leeds offered chance to sign forgotten Everton forward

    The agent of Everton forward Oumar Niasse has reportedly offered Leeds United the opportunity to sign his client on loan for the rest of the season.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:18 CET

    Leeds are pushing hard for automatic promotion from the Championship this season as they sit second in the table, but back-to-back defeats in the league has allowed the teams around them to close the gap and there are now real doubts over whether the Whites will finish in the top two.
    Scott Parker’s Fulham are just four points behind in third while Nottingham Forest, who occupy fifth position, can move to within two points of the West Yorkshire outfit if they win their game in hand.
    Marcelo Bielsa’s men are looking a little light in their squad following the exits of Jack Clarke and Eddie Nketiah, whose loans were cut short, and the manager is eager to bring in some reinforcements before the transfer window shuts.
    It is now being claimed the Toffees have offered Leeds the chance to sign Senegal international Niasse, who has only made 31 Premier League appearances since arriving at Goodison Park from Lokomotiv Moscow in February 2016.
    The 29-year-old forward, whose contract expires at the end of the campaign, was used from the bench by Carlo Ancelotti with 16 minutes remaining in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at West Ham, but he is expected to leave Merseyside this month.
    Leeds, who could slip four points behind leaders West Brom if the Baggies defeat Stoke on Monday evening, are believed to be contemplating a loan deal for Niasse for the rest of the season before then potentially signing the Senegalese on a permanent deal for free in the summer.

  • Liverpool is €60m striker's 'preferred goal' in huge blow for Chelsea

    Premier League sides Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have all been linked with the German striker.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:16 CET

    RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner favours a move to Liverpool as Premier League interest builds in the German, according to reports. The Germany international has scored 25 goals and contributed seven assists in all competitions this season, helping Leipzig climb to the top of the Bundesliga standings. Premier League sides Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have all been linked with Werner recently following another good campaign for the 23-year-old. The Sunday Mirror claimed yesterday that Chelsea could force Liverpool’s hand as they ‘have already opened negotiations’ to sign Werner. Liverpool had wanted to wait until the summer to make their move but may now act to prevent a direct Premier League rival from signing a major target in January. And German publication Bild (via Sport Witness) says that Liverpool is the ‘preferred goal’ for Werner, who has a €60m release clause. The report adds that Liverpool have the perfect playing style to suit Werner, while Jurgen Klopp would be an ideal mentor for him. Speaking recently on his future, Werner told Bild: “The Premier League is certainly the most interesting league, you have to say. There is a certain flair to watching the English league and playing there. “But many Germans have also been very successful in Spain, such as Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil.”  

  • Hamilton boss Brian Rice turned himself in to SFA after breaching betting rules

    Rice has been charged with breaching the SFA’s zero-tolerance rules on gambling on football.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:11 CET

    Hamilton head coach Brian Rice has revealed he reported himself to the Scottish Football Association for breaching betting rules after his “horrible disease” of gambling addiction returned.

    The 56-year-old has been charged with breaching the SFA’s zero-tolerance rules on gambling on football during this season and each of the previous four campaigns.

    Rice previously admitted a 30-year gambling problem in 2013 after being threatened with jail in Qatar over a £65,000 debt which friends helped him pay off.

    The former Hibernian and Nottingham Forest midfielder has expressed his regret at his lapse and declared he wanted to “atone through openness”, a decision backed by his employers.

    In a statement on his club’s official website, Rice said: “I have made no secret of the fact that I have struggled with the disease that is gambling addiction in the past.

    “The reality is I am an addict and while I have been proud of the fact I have been in recovery from this disease, a key part of the recovery programme is honesty: honesty to myself, and honesty to those who have and who continue to support me, including my family and my football family at Hamilton.

    “I wrote a letter to the Scottish FA self-reporting my gambling and did so as an admission that my disease has returned, in order that I commit to recovery. I have apologised to those at the club in whom I have sought counsel and I apologise today to the players, fans and colleagues I have let down through my gambling addiction.”

    Rice joined Hamilton 12 moths ago and was assistant manager at Inverness and St Mirren during previous seasons on the SFA charge sheet.

    He added: “The reason I am speaking out is to remove the stigma attached to this horrible, isolating disease, in the hope that those involved in Scottish football who are similarly in its grasp feel they can seek help and draw strength from my admission.

    “After committing to recovery I cannot believe that I have found myself back in the grip of gambling addiction but this disease is not cured with a finite course of treatment.

    “You are an addict for life and through my commitment to the 12-step recovery programme, I am confident I can stay on top of this disease one day at a time.

    “I am eternally grateful to the club for its unwavering support, both seen and unseen.”

    Hamilton chief executive Colin McGowan, who has previously spoken about his own battles with alcohol and drug addiction in his younger years, believes Rice’s admission could be a watershed moment and called on the SFA to adopt an amnesty on gambling offences in order to help players and coaches confront their addictions.

    McGowan said: “On behalf of my fellow directors at Hamilton Academical, we are proud that our head coach, Brian Rice, has spoken publicly of his struggles with gambling addiction.

    “As a recovering addict myself – and somebody who has dedicated the last 20 years to counselling individuals across the country, from all walks of life – I believe Brian’s actions are a show of colossal strength and inspiration.

    “Having spoken extensively to Brian since his addiction resurfaced, I know that he’s followed a well-worn path from smaller, less frequent bets to the snowball effect of a daily addiction. He has re-engaged fully with professionals, is committed to recovery and has the full support of all at Hamilton Academical.”

    McGowan thanked the SFA for its empathy and vowed to support Rice as a club.

    “We also believe Brian’s public admission today can be hugely significant in helping the lives of other coaches and players who can relate to his addiction and other addictions,” he added.

    “Brian’s courage can be a seminal moment for Scottish football.”

    Rice faces a hearing on January 30. The sanctions available to the disciplinary panel range from a three-match to a 16-match ban to expulsion from the game in the most serious of cases, and a fine of up to £100,000.

  • Smith expecting England call for flying Grealish

    Aston Villa boss Dean Smith believes Jack Grealish's recent performances must have attracted the attention of England boss Gareth Southgate.

    20 Jan 2020, 14:01 CET

    Grealish, 24, has yet to be capped at full international level despite a steady improvement in his performances over the past few years.
    The Birmingham-born midfielder has taken his game to another level this term, however, with the clamour surrounding possible selection for the next England squad increasing in volume by the day.
    He notched his seventh Premier League goal of the campaign when firing in a 75th-minute equaliser as the Villans rescued a point in a 1-1 draw away at Brighton on Saturday.
    The result failed to lift the West Midlanders out of the relegation zone and they now sit 18th in the table  – a point from safety.
    Grealish has had a few problems away from the action since he turned professional but now seems to have settled down into Villa’s most important player and it is only a matter of time before he gets the Three Lions call.
    Pundits on Match of The Day agreed that he should be included when England face Italy and Denmark in late March to give the talented scheme a chance to show what he can do before Southgate names his squad for Euro 2020.
    Smith agrees and has praised Grealish for the way he has knuckled down to put on a series of consistent displays, with nine goals from 24 appearances across all competitions.
    “Everyone is taking notice of him because of the way he’s playing. He’s turned into an all-round player,” he said. “But the beauty of Jack is he’s a great guy as well
    “People will take notice of him, that’s for sure, and he’s doing what he can to get himself noticed by the England squad.”