Today’s Premier League transfer news includes Man United considering ending their pursuit of Jadon Sancho, Barcelona looking to take Hector Bellerin on loan from Arsenal, and Spurs continuing their search for another striker…
Manchester United have spent the better part of 2020 in pursuit of Borussia Dortmund starlet Sancho, but they might be close to their wits’ end after failing to land their no. 1 transfer target. The Red Devils are reportedly considering ending their efforts to bring the 20-year-old England international back to the Premier League. According to previous reports, contract and agent fees have already been agreed, but the two clubs are yet to reach an agreement on the transfer fee to be paid. The Man United – Jadon Sancho saga might, finally, be coming to an end.
Bellerin could find himself the subject of a loan offer from Barcelona, a proposition which could prove all too tempting for the Spaniard who began his career at the famed La Masia academy before leaving for Arsenal at the age of 16. Nelson Semedo is expected to leave the club shortly, which opens up lots of minutes at right back for the Blaugrana. Given the depth Arsenal have at right back, perhaps a loan-to-buy deal would suit all involved parties.
Jose Mourinho is keen to avoid a repeat of last season, when Harry Kane and Son Heung-min both suffered long-term injuries around the same time, leaving the Spurs boss without a legitimate option at center forward. Mourinho confirmed this week that he desperately wants a striker signed before the Oct. 5 deadline, though Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik has reportedly been crossed off the list of potential targets due to the fee which would be required. They are, however, monitoring Troy Deeney after Watford were relegated from the PL.
The summer arrivals of Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, coupled with Christian Pulisic’s sensational first season at Chelsea, will likely leave Callum Hudson-Odoi longing for first-team minutes this season. Thus, the 19-year-old English winger is reportedly set to be offered out for loan. There aren’t many clubs outside the PL’s top-six for which Hudson-Odoi wouldn’t massively improve their attack and further his development at the highest level. Another example of all involved parties benefiting from an obvious situation.
West Ham – Newcastle saw Callum Wilson celebrate a dream debut for Newcastle United as he scored the opening goal in the Magpies’ 2-0 victory over West Ham United, opening the 2020-21 Premier League season with three massive points, at the London Stadium on Saturday.
Jeff Hendrick, who also made his debut and picked up the formal assist on Wilson’s goal, completed the scoring with a laser-like strike in the 87th minute.
The victory sees Newcastle match their win total from their first seven games (five points in total) in 2019-20, as Steve Bruce and Co., strive for a top-half finish after making three key additions to the side that finished 13th last season.
1. Instant impact: Wilson only completed his transfer to Newcastle (for $23 million) five days ago, yet it was Wilson who shone brightest and led Bruce’s side to the win on Saturday. Deployed alongside Andy Carroll in the classing “big man-little man” strike partnership, Wilson provided endless energy and movement between the lines and across channels. His 56th-minute goal was merely the cherry on top of a very bright debut. The move to a club of Newcastle’s size appears to have suited Wilson quite well, and he has a solid platform upon which to build. It’s amazing what can happen if you spend money, and do so wisely, to improve your team.
2. West Ham crying out for quality signings: The Hammers finished 15th last season, just five points clear of relegation, yet David Moyes’ employers have done precious little to improve the squad. Tomas Soucek was signed for $19 million, and he looked rather handy during Project Restart and again on Saturday, but the rest of the midfield and the wide attackers were completely bereft of ideas and creativity against Newcastle.
3. West Ham, Newcastle not exactly for the neutrals: Look, David Moyes and Steve Bruce have long, halfway successful managerial careers spanning the last two decades, but neither of them has ever been accused of being “too attacking” or “too progressive” in how their teams are set up to play. Saturday’s clash was an exercise in one team defending counter-attacks on one end of the field, followed immediately by implementing a counter-attack of their own on the other end, with the roles switched at the change of possession.
Man of the Match: Callum Wilson – Even without the goal, he was the most impactful player on the field.
West Ham were thoroughly frustrated after hitting the woodwork twice during a first half which saw them dominate their visitors from the northeast. Angelo Ogbonna struck the crossbar with a header in the game’s opening stages, and Pablo Fornals was also denied by the bar not long before halftime.
Newcastle, meanwhile, were held to a handful of hugely speculative efforts from the edge of West Ham’s penalty area. Jonjo Shelvey, Wilson and Carroll all went close, but never close enough to force Lukasz Fabianski into a first-half save, with long-range efforts.
Wilson broke the deadlock just before the hour mark. Magpies fans won’t care the slightest bit that his first goal for the club in a completely unremarkable manner. Javier Manquillo beat his man down the right wing and got the ball into the box, where Hendrick was able to flick it on to Wilson inside the six-yard box. There were suspicions of a high boot from the former Bournemouth man, but video review confirmed the goal was to stand.
Hendrick opened his account with time ticking away, and he did so seemingly out of nothing. Miguel Almiron, who had just come into the game seconds earlier, found Hendrick in an innocuous part of the penalty area, with a defender nearby, but the Irishman was able to get the ball out from under him rather quickly and unleashed a left-footed strike to the far post.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp isn’t too worried about the sloppy defense his champions showed in a 4-3 win over new boys Leeds United on Saturday.
The Reds blew three leads before Mohamed Salah completed his hat trick in the 88th minute with his second penalty of the game.
All of Liverpool’s goals came from dead balls: Two penalty kicks, a Salah hammer of a knocked-down free kick, and a Virgil van Dijk header off a corner kick.
But the Reds will be looking for much better in defense as Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Andy Roberson all made substandard plays or outright gaffes in allowing Leeds to equalize thrice.
Here’s Klopp, who as you can imagine loved the style and energy from admired manager Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds. From the BBC:
“The opponent forced us to make mistakes, we can do better, we will do better but I loved a lot about the game against a well-organised, passionate side like Leeds. We used our skills to cause them problems, we could have scored more and in the end we used set-pieces which is fine by me.
“It is not like riding a bike, you can lose something in pre-season and it takes time to all come together again. I am really positive about this game. Leeds will have a good season if they can keep up that intensity and they did it in the Championship with more games so why not?”
The mistakes were bad and Leeds scored some great goals but let’s not ignore Liverpool’s control of the match.
Leeds scored on three of their five shot attempts. SofaScore says not one should be considered a “big chance created.” Goals Jack Harrison and Mateusz Klich were the stuff of special creativity and technique, and Patrick Bamford’s the result of Van Dijk’s uncharacteristic lack of awareness.
although they scored four from set plays, Liverpool’s counterpress created a dozen chances in the penalty area that easily could have been the winner pic.twitter.com/nQg5Ep8Pet
Liverpool – Leeds: Mohamed Salah scored two penalties as part of a hat trick as Liverpool overcame three blown leads in a 4-3 win over Leeds United at Anfield on Saturday.
Mohamed Salah scored his 95th, 96th, and 97t Liverpool goals, while Virgil van Dijk scored, too, but Leeds scored on three of its five shots as it was 3-3 until the 88th minute. That’s when Rodrigo fouled Fabinho in the box for the Reds’ second penalty.
Former NYCFC star Jack Harrison scored for Leeds as did Patrick Bamford as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Van Dijk had dicey defensive moments in the first half hour. The Reds lost track of Mateusz Klich en route to Leeds’ third equalizer, a beautiful goal in its own right.
The Reds have not kept a clean sheet in seven-straight competitions between the Premier League and a Community Shield loss to Arsenal, but will be relieved to have the win.
1. Dicey defense continues for Reds: If Liverpool’s defense still needed a wake-up call after a lackluster end to their title-winning season and a Community Shield loss to Arsenal, Leeds gave them it in the first half hour. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez were both at fault when Harrison made it 1-1 for Leeds and Van Dijk made a colossal awareness error to give Bamford a route past Alisson Becker. The third goal featured lackluster pressure from Andy Robertson and disorganization from Van Dijk and Gomez (and a great finish from Klich).
It’s going to have to be better and soon, because next week’s opponent Chelsea has played the Reds very well in four meetings during the 2019-20 fixture list (three won by Liverpool with a combined score line of 9-8.
2. Special Salah starts well: The penalty was clinically taken but the second goal is what will give Reds fans hope that Salah can return from a good scoring season to a great one. Salah saw his chance when a ball fell to him in the 18 and he smashed it into the upper 90.
Salah’s gone from 44 to 27 to 23 goals in all competitions over the past three seasons. Not one of those constitutes a bad campaign considering he collected 41 assists in that span, but the Reds will find a new level if he returns to 30-plus goals.
3. Leeds entertains in return with American links: Former NYCFC man Jack Harrison’s sensational goal was Leeds’ first Premier League goal in 16-plus years and he was soon joined on the score sheet by Patrick Bamford as the Peacocks twice leveled the score line in the first half. The third goal was wonderful. Marcelo Bielsa’s men have a lot of expectations in their return to the Premier League. Clearly they also have a lot of work to do, but the entertainment was a great start.
The Reds were all over the new boys right away and earned a penalty for a handball that sent Salah to the spot for a fourth-minute opener.
Leeds had the ball in the goal within four minutes but Helder Costa was just offside before turning and slotting home.
That was foreshadowing as Kalvin Phillips set up ex-Wake Forest and NYCFC player Jack Harrison made Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez look foolish.
Liverpool restored order off a corner kick, Van Dijk racing into the box to head through an unprepared Illan Meslier.
But Bamford equalized again before the match was a half-hour old when Van Dijk didn’t realize the striker was next to him. The Dutchman’s poor clearance attempt was soon in the back of the goal. Ugly.
Fortunately for the Reds, Salah remains a part of their team. The Egyptian took a loose ball in the 18 and fired a laser into the top of the goal for his 75th Liverpool goal in the Premier League (He also has two with Chelsea).
At the other end, Alisson thwarted a promising Stuart Dallas move before Liverpool countered and Sadio Mane blazed over the goal.
Leeds got its third equalizer with a tremendous finish from Klich, who took a Costa pass that wasn’t challenged by Andy Robertson and missed by Van Dijk and did tidy work to make it 3-3.
Van Dijk had it 4-3 when he scored from in-close off a free kick but a grab on his marker was spotted and the goal did not stay on the scoreboard.
A sloppy foul from substitute Rodrigo allowed Fabinho to hit the deck and send Salah to the line for another fine penalty.
West Ham – Newcastle: Two Premier League clubs that know well the meaning of unrest will hope to give supporters hope with an opening week match at the London Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 3pm ET on Peacock).
West Ham captain Mark Noble is clearly unhappy and took his frustrations with West Ham’s transfer policy public earlier this week (see below). The West Ham faithful are worried about the state of their team under David Moyes, who oversaw the team’s successful safety push but did about the same (at best) as fired boss Manuel Pellegrini.
The Magpies have been flustered by a failed or stalled takeover bid but saw owner Mike Ashley open the pocket book for promising signings of Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, and Jamal Lewis. Is Steve Bruce the man to fit these pieces into a comfortably mid-table puzzle.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of West Ham – Newcastle this Saturday with team news, odds, stream link and more.
Issa Diop and Declan Rice start for West Ham, while Robert Snodgrass misses the opener. Tomas Soucek was one of the Irons’ two keys to PL survival and starts after coming out of COVID-19 isolation. Declan Rice is available but is also coming off an injury and just played 180 minutes for England last week. Manuel Lanzini makes the bench.
The Magpies will be without its star goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, its reigning Player of the Season, and injuries are already mounting up for a club hit hard last season. Paul Dummett, Matty Longstaff, and Dwight Gayle are out.
New signing Callum Wilson starts next to Andy Carroll for Newcastle, with fellow new boys Jamal Lewis and Jeff Hendrick also in the XI to leave Joelinton and Miguel Almiron on the bench.
West Ham captain Mark Noble on the sale of Grady Diangana: “As captain of this football club I’m gutted, angry, and sad that Grady has left, great kid with a great future.”
As captain of this football club I’m gutted, angry and sad that Grady has left, great kid with a great future!!!!! https://t.co/oNPPEp8Pt6
Newcastle striker Callum Wilson on his fine record v. West Ham: “It’s one of those teams. Every striker will have them. You score goals against a team more than the others. That’s no disrespect to West Ham. I think I scored my first Premier League goal against them. From then, it’s always going to give you that confidence. I think I got my first hat-trick against them as well. Every time I go into a game against them, you feel you’re going to score against them. I’m quite self-confident, and I’ll back myself to score if I play. It’s all systems go.”
The oddsmakers are shrugging their shoulders at this one, with hosts West Ham (+110) barely paying off better than their visitors (+240) or a draw (+245). Only two other matches have slimmer margins between favorite and underdog.
Both teams have players who can craft moments of magic. West Ham has the better midfielders available for Saturday while Newcastle has the better center back corps. Throw in the Irons at home but with no crowd and it’s seems a wash. 1-1 draw.
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