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Paul Clement salutes super Sigurdsson as Swansea sink Southampton


Paul Clement hailed the performance of Gylfi Sigurdsson after the Swansea midfielder struck the winner in a 2-1 victory over Southampton at the Liberty Stadium.

The Iceland international’s expert finish from Luciano Narsingh’s cross gave the Swans back-to-back wins for the first time this season to strengthen their survival hopes.

They had led through Alfie Mawson’s 38th-minute header, only to be pegged back by Shane Long’s close range finish 12 minutes after the break.

But Sigurdsson, who had been linked with a move away from the Welsh club this month, underlined his importance with his seventh goal of the season and his second vital winner in as many games having scored the clinching strike against Liverpool at Anfield.

“Gylfi has fantastic delivery at set-plays and he produced a wonderful finish after good work from Luciano Narsingh, who made an instant impact,” said Clement.

“But I would like to comment on Gylfi’s work ethic. People have asked me if he is all right playing on the left, but I haven’t had a conversation with him about that.

“He has done everything that has been asked of him.”

And head coach Clement also praised the character of his side after they held off wave after wave of Saints pressure to secure the three points.

“It was a mixed performance, but a massive, massive result against a good side,” he added.

“They had a really good 3-0 victory over Leicester in their last league game and then they got a massive win at Anfield, so we have beaten a really good side here tonight.

“We did some really good things. We didn’t start very well – we gave them too much space in the first 10 minutes.

“But once we got to grips with that we had a good spell in to half-time and then defended well when there were a lot of balls into our box late on.”

Clement also confirmed striker Borja Baston would not be joining Villarreal on loan despite a deadline enquiry from the Spanish side for Swansea’s record signing.

Swansea started sluggishly but they grew into the game and led when Mawson got up to meet Sigurdsson’s corner, finding the net with the aid of deflections off Oriol Romeu and the post.

Long levelled by neatly finishing a Ryan Bertrand cross, but Swansea hit back on the break thanks to Sigurdsson’s classy finish.

“We had many chances, came back with a good goal from Shane, we pushed,” said Southampton boss Claude Puel.

“After this goal we pushed all the time, with many chances but we didn’t find the goal, which is disappointing because we can do better.

“Perhaps the reaction in the second half was too late, it is difficult to take the positives when you suffer a defeat.

“It was a good reaction but Swansea were clinical tonight in taking their chances.”

Source: PA




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Arsene Wenger blasts Arsenal’s mentality after Watford defeat


Arsene Wenger gave a blunt assessment of his side’s performance after Arsenal suffered a 2-1 defeat against Watford at the Emirates Stadium.

First-half goals from Younes Kaboul and Troy Deeney helped the Hornets earn their first ever Premier League win over the Gunners as the hosts suffered a blow to their title aspirations.

Alex Iwobi’s strike halved the deficit after half-time but Arsenal could not recover from a poor first-half display which saw them fail to register a shot on target and Wenger, who is serving the second game of his four-match touchline ban, does not believe his presence on the sidelines would have made a difference.

“I don’t know, it’s very difficult to know, it would be an excuse,” the Arsenal boss said when asked if he could have influenced the outcome from the technical area.

“We prepared for the game well. We were warned that Watford would come and make it very physical. Looking at the preparation, I have no basic regret on how we prepared for the game.

“Did we think subconsciously that we could just turn up and it will work? I don’t know.

“But from the stands, I agree with you that our first-half was not at the level that we wanted. I don’t think we have a physical power problem. We were not mentally prepared, we were not mentally ready to deal with these duels that we usually do.

“You don’t make 47 points in the Premier League after 23 games if you have no physical power, but you have to switch it on at 100% in the Premier League, that’s what it’s all about.

“I am responsible for the results of the team so I am frustrated that we did not win. What the other teams do does not matter.

“What you want is to win the games and I am very frustrated not to win the game.

“We are at home and we have a great opportunity, of course it’s frustrating and we have to learn from that, respond quickly and in a very convincing way.”

Wenger was also adamant that his decision to drop Theo Walcott to the bench was the right one. Walcott returned to the side with a hat-trick against Southampton last weekend but the Frenchman insists the forward was not ready to start having missed training on Monday.

“He played in the second half,” Wenger added.

“If you look well at his history, he has not played for five-and-a-half weeks. He was stiff still yesterday. I kept him out of training yesterday. We have three games this week.

“We know well, do not think we are completely stupid in the way we make decisions. I think it was a good, normal decision.”

Meanwhile, Watford boss Walter Mazzarri dedicated their win to the late Graham Taylor. The former Hornets manager died two weeks ago and the Italian gave a special tribute during his post-match press conference.

“Before the press conference finishes, I wanted to say that I want to dedicate this victory to a great person that was Graham Taylor,” Mazzarri said.

“We wanted to do it before today (against Middlesbrough) but I think today was a great game and I want to dedicate this victory to him and to the fans as well.

“It was, for sure, a great game but I also had other important games in my career but I also remember at home was with Napoli against Chelsea. But I also don’t like to live off the past. Now I’m in Watford and this was, for sure, one of the greatest.”

Source: PA




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Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino rues stalemate at Sunderland


Mauricio Pochettino left Wearside a disappointed man after seeing Tottenham pass up the chance to close the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Spurs could only draw 0-0 at bottom-of-the-table Sunderland as the Blues matched them with a 1-1 draw at Liverpool to maintain their nine-point advantage at the top of the table.

There was some consolation for Pochettino as his side at least leapfrogged north London rivals Arsenal into second place following their shock home defeat by Watford.

Asked if he was frustrated, the Argentinian said: “Not frustrated, disappointed. It was a massive opportunity to reduce the gap to Chelsea and be in second position which was important for us.

“When you drop two points like tonight, it’s difficult to change the feeling. We feel bad, that’s the reality.

“In the first half, we didn’t play well — we were poor. We shot once, and it’s difficult to win a game in that way. In the second half, we were much better. We created some chances to score, but it wasn’t enough.

“We dropped two points. We feel disappointed, but not only with the result, with our performance. We only competed for 45 minutes in the second half.”

Pochettino, whose medical staff will assess the knee injury full-back Danny Rose suffered before the break, was conciliatory over a wild challenge by Black Cats midfielder Jack Rodwell on Mousa Dembele which incensed his players.

The manager said: “There is nothing to say, nothing to complain about. That is football. For the referee, it is difficult to take a quick decision. I think we need to support the decision of the referee and it’s important.”

Sunderland boss David Moyes was significantly happier despite the knowledge that a good point had left his side further adrift of safety as a result of Swansea’s win over Southampton.

Moyes said: “It has to be a start. Look, I know how the other results have gone, so I am well aware of that. A point against Tottenham is not a bad result, and we had a point against Liverpool here a few weeks ago.

“Our home form, with the exception of probably Stoke in the Premier League, has been relatively okay for a few months. We have got a lot of big games coming at home – one point won’t be enough, three points is what we are going to need to get.

“Tonight it was a tight decision whether we opened up to try to force the three or whether we tried to contain the one. Obviously Tottenham dominated the second half and we found it hard to get much going at all.”

Moyes sent his players out knowing that the club’s final deadline-day bid to sign Leicester striker Leonardo Ulloa following the loss of Victor Anichebe to a knee injury had failed, meaning the arrival of former Everton duo Bryan Oviedo and Darron Gibson were the last of the January transfer window.

He said: “We were trying to add to the squad if we could. We knew it was going to be a difficult few days trying to get what we wanted.

“The injury to Victor Anichebe was the thing that really made things a lot harder for us and made us have to look at things differently.

“But it wasn’t for the want of trying. Some players we couldn’t get and some clubs chose not to sell us their players, so because of that, that’s where we are at.”

Source: PA




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UEFA Europa League January transfers – UEFA Europa League – News |Football News|

  • The full regulations around player registration can be found here (see Article 43).

31 January

  • Portugal Under-19 striker Jorginho joins St-Étienne on loan from Arouca until the end of the season.
  • Newcastle’s Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul joins AZ Alkmaar on loan; the 28-year-old spent the autumn with Ajax but did not make a first-team appearance.
  • Celta Vigo have bid farewell to Fabián Orellana after five-and-a-half seasons together, as the Chilean winger – who scored two goals in two Europa League appearances this campaign – has joined fellow Liga side Valencia on loan.
  • Villarreal‘s Brazilian forward Pato settles in at Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian, while defensive midfielder Alfred N’Diaye has been loaned to English side Hull City.
  • Zenit have loaned 20-year-old defender Vukašin Jovanović to Bordeaux.
  • Watford full-back Juan Carlos Paredes joins Olympiacos on loan for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, Serbia midfielder Luka Milivojević leaves the club for Crystal Palace.
  • A scorer of four goals for Genk in the 2016/17 group stage, 19-year-old Leon Bailey pens a five-year contract with Bayer Leverkusen. Read all about the speedy Jamaican forward here.
  • Beşiktaş re-sign Demba Ba on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the Turkish Süper Lig season. Ba, who hit 18 goals in 29 league appearances for the Black Eagles during the 2014/15 campaign, has not played since breaking his left leg on 17 July.
  • Denmark Under-21 midfielder Andrew Hjulsager completes a transfer to Celta Vigo from Brøndby, for whom he scored 16 goals in 80 Danish Super League games.

30 January

  • Alexandre Pato has ended his time with Villarreal after six months by joining Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian, where he will play alongside Axel Witsel. He scored six goals for the Yellow Submarine in all competitions.
  • Czech Republic forward Tomáš Necid seals a switch to Legia from Bursaspor on loan for the rest of the season. The 27-year-old will link up with compatriot Adam Hloušek in the Polish capital.
  • PAOK buy Brazilian winger Pedro Henrique from Rennes. The 26-year-old has signed a contract until summer 2020 while PAOK have let midfielder Alexandros Tziolis join Scotland’s Hearts.
  • Jonas Svensson completes his move from Rosenborg to AZ Alkmaar. The 23-year-old Norway defender had been at Rosenborg since he was 16, helping them win consecutive domestic doubles in the last two seasons.
  • Athletic Club playmaker Ager Aketxe leaves for Cádiz. The 23-year-old had been at Athletic since his academy days.


Mathew Ryan (Club Brugge KV)

Mathew Ryan in his Club Brugge days©Getty Images

  • Genk bring in Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan from Valencia until the end of the season. Ryan, 24, had a successful spell in Belgium with Club Brugge between 2013 and 2015.
  • Also in Belgium, Gent winger Dieumerci Ndongala heads to Standard Liège. The 25-year-old Ndongala was a trainee at Standard before landing at Luxembourg’s Jeunesse Esch in 2011.
  • Teenage Schalke attacker Fabian Reese is loaned to Karlsruher in the German 2. Bundesliga for the remainder of the campaign. Reese, 19, has played six times for Schalke in 2016/17.
  • APOEL make their fourth January signing after agreeing a loan deal until the summer with Astana for Colombian midfielder Roger Cañas. The 26-year-old played against the Cypriot club in the UEFA Champions League play-offs last term as well as this season’s UEFA Europa League group stage. Meanwhile Andrea Orlandi is released by APOEL.

29 January


Roman Shishkin (Russia)

Roman Shishkin has joined Krasnodar on loan©AFP/Getty Images

  • Krasnodar secure the loan services of Lokomotiv Moskva and Russia right-back Roman Shishkin until the end of the season. The 30-year-old has won 13 caps for his country.
  • Sparta Praha loan Zinedin Mustedanagić to city rivals Dukla for the rest of the campaign, having recently prolonged the 18-year-old attacking midfielder’s contract until 2020.
  • Shakhtar Donetsk forward Pylyp Budkivsky also moves out on loan today, heading to Russian club Anji until the end of the season.

28 January

  • Roma bolster their midfield with the loan signing of 26-year-old Clément Grenier from Lyon. The Giallorossi have the option to make the deal permanent in the summer.
  • Riccardo Saponara leaves Empoli for Tuscan rivals Fiorentina, the attacking midfielder, 25, penning a loan deal until the end of the season.

27 January

  • Gent, perhaps the busiest of the round of 32 clubs in this window, announce the acquisition of defender Samuel Gigot on a four-and-a-half-year deal from Kortrijk.

26 January

  • Hapoel Beer-Sheva take back defender William Soares from Standard Liège following injury to Miguel Vítor, and sign Niv Zrihan from Ashdod in exchange for fellow forward Lucio Maranhao.
  • Ersan Adem Gülüm returns to Beşiktaş on loan from China’s Hebei China Fortune. The 29-year-old Turkey defender ended a six-season spell at Beşiktaş to move to China last winter.
  • Gent‘s latest arrival is Japan forward Yuya Kubo. The 23-year-old arrives from Young Boys, for who he played in the group stage.
  • Osmanlıspor sign holding midfielder Luíz Carlos on an 18-month contract. The 31-year-old former Braga, Paços de Ferreira and Freamunde player was a free agent after leaving Saudi club Al-Ahli.
  • Constantin Budescu, 27, rejoins Astra Giurgiu as a free agent. The attacking midfielder played for the club from 2011 until he joined Chinese side Dalian Yifang in January 2016. He was loaned back to Astra in July.
  • Dutch winger Lorenzo Ebecilio comes to APOEL. The 25-year-old former Ajax, Metalurh Donetsk and Anji man has agreed a contract until May 2019.

25 January

  • Goalkeeper Rubén joins Anderlecht on loan from Deportivo La Coruña while Davy Roef goes the other way in a similar deal. Former Barcelona player Rubén’s only appearances with new club Depor this season came in the Copa del Rey; Roef has lost his starting spot to Frank Boeckx.
  • Athletic Club midfielder Mikel Vesga is loaned to Sporting Gijón until the end of the season.
  • Mauro Zárate leaves Fiorentina to sign a two-and-a-half-year contract with Premier League side Watford. He has previously played in England with West Ham and Queens Park Rangers.


Daniel Caligiuri (Wolfsburg)

Daniel Caligiuri has joined Schalke©Getty Images

  • Schalke bolster their ranks with the acquisition of 29-year-old winger Daniel Caligiuri from Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg. “I want to make the most of this great chance and take my next step with Schalke,” he said.
  • Swedish international midfielder Viktor Claesson joins Krasnodar from Elfsborg on a three-and-a-half-year deal. Claesson, 25, has nine senior caps.
  • APOEL take French defender Cédric Yambéré on loan from Bordeaux until the end of the season. Thomas Christiansen has moved to reinforce his backline after Brazilian centre-back Carlão signed for Torino.

24 January

  • PAOK sign Egypt forward Amr Warda from Panetolikos. The 23-year-old, currently at the Africa Cup of Nations, has agreed a contract until summer 2020.


Mihai Balasa (FC Viitorul Constanţa)

Mihai Bălașa during his last spell in Romania©Getty Images

  • Mihai Bălașa returns to his native Romania with Steaua București after leaving Roma. He spent the first half of the season on loan at Trapani.
  • Legia Warszawa loan Steeven Langil back to Waasland-Beveren. The Martinique midfielder had left the Belgian club for Legia in the summer.

21 January

  • Adrián López rejoins Villarreal on loan from Porto. The twice-capped Spain forward also spent last season at Villarreal and scored a late winner in the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg against Liverpool.
  • Released PAOK defender Giorgos Tzavellas joins Turkey’s Alanyaspor. The Greek international terminated his PAOK contract by mutual consent on Monday.

20 January

Depay joins Lyon: Watch the Dutchman in action

Watch Memphis Depay in action

  • Netherlands forward Memphis Depay swaps Manchester United for fellow round of 32 contenders Lyon. The Ligue 1 side have reportedly paid upwards of €18m for the 22-year-old, who spent 18 months at Old Trafford.
  • Omar Elabdellaoui leaves Olympiacos on loan to link up with former coach Marco Silva at England’s Hull City.
  • Gent‘s changes continue as Lasse Nielsen leaves for Malmö. The Danish defender was a Belgian champion in 2014/15 a year after taking his home title with Aalborg.
  • Beşiktaş sell winger Kerim Frei to second-tier English club Birmingham City. The Turkish international previously played for Fulham and Cardiff City.

19 January

  • Schalke loan goalkeeper Fabian Giefer to English second-tier side Bristol City. The 26-year-old has been understudying Ralf Fährmann at Schalke and made his sole appearance this season in the UEFA Europa League loss at Salzburg in December.


Artur Jędrzejczyk (Legia Warszawa)

Jędrzejczyk as a Legia player in 2011©Getty Images

  • Artur Jędrzejczyk, 29, seals a return to Legia Warszawa from fellow UEFA Europa League hopefuls Krasnodar. The Poland midfielder started his professional career at Legia, and spent the second half of last season back there on loan.

18 January

  • Tesfaldet Tekie is the latest arrival at Gent after joining from Norrköping on a three-and-a-half-year deal. The creative Swedish youth international midfielder, 19, aided his former club to the 2015 Swedish title.
  • Nigerian midfielder Raheem Lawal is loaned by Osmanlıspor to Kayserispor until the end of the season. Despite taking part in four UEFA Europa League group stage matches, the 26-year-old made just three substitute appearances in the domestic league this term.  
  • Goalkeeper Luca Lezzerini is loaned by Fiorentina to Serie B side Avellino. The 21 year-old has made one Viola appearance this season as a substitute against Chievo in August.
  • Lyon midfielder Gueïda Fofana retires aged 25 due to persistent ankle problems. He last played in a reserve game in April.
  • Central midfielder Adrien Trebel, 25, is unveiled as an Anderlecht player, making the move from Standard Liège.

17 January

  • Bigrer Verstraete moves from Kortrijk to Gent with fellow midfielder Hannes Van de Bruggen going the other way. “It’s very nice to sign for a big club like KAA Gent,” said Belgium Under-21 player Verstrate, 22, who can play anywhere in midfield or even at left-back. The 23-year-old Van de Bruggen had been with Gent since 2004.


Thievy Bifouma (Bastia)

Thievy Bifouma in his Bastia days©AFP/Getty Images

  • Congo striker Thievy Bifouma moves to Osmanlıspor from Bastia on a three-and-a-half-year contract from French outfit SC Bastia. Bifouma, 24, has also played for Espanyol, Las Palmas, West Bromwich Albion, Almería, Granada and Reims. Bifouma will link up with his compatriot Dzon Delarge.
  • Rostov sign 33-year-old Serbian-born Ukrainian international Marko Dević on an 18-month contract. The former Shakhtar Donetsk forward had been without a club since December’s departure from Rubin Kazan.
  • Tottenham Hotspur sell midfielder Tom Carroll to Swansea City. The 24-year-old youth product had made only three Spurs appearances this season.
  • Argentinian forward Gustavo Blanco Leschuk moves to Shakhtar Donetsk on a three-and-a-half-year deal. The 25-year-old leaves Kaparty Lviv having previously played in Sweden, Morocco and Russia.

16 January

  • Former Lyon defender Aly Cissokho, 29, joins Olympiacos on loan from Aston Villa, with the Greek side holding the option to make the move permanent in the summer.
  • Former Ludogorets defender Júnior Caiçara departs Schalke for surprise Turkish league leaders İstanbul Başakşehir.
  • APOEL have made forward David Barral, most recently of Granada, their first acquisition of the January window. The 33-year-old has penned an 18-month deal.


Aleksandar Prijovic (Legia)

Aleksandar Prijović (centre) has left Legia for PAOK©Getty Images

  • Legia Warszawa striker Aleksandar Prijović, who scored twice in the record-breaking 8-4 loss to Borussia Dortmund on UEFA Champions League matchday five, has left the Polish club for fellow round of 32 contenders PAOK on a deal running until summer 2021. 

14 January

  • Erstwhile German international Sidney Sam, still only 28, departs Schalke for Darmstadt on loan for the rest of the season.

13 January

  • Fiorentina have announced the signing of goalkeeper Marco Sportiello on loan from Atalanta until June 2018, with an option to make the deal permanent. The highly-rated 24-year-old will compete with Ciprian Tătărușanu for the No.1 jersey.
  • Celta Vigo have added to their array of impressive, technical midfielders by capturing Jozabed on loan from Fulham. Jozabed returns to Spain after a sparkling 2015/16 campaign with Rayo Vallecano in which he scored nine Liga goals.

12 January


Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United)

Morgan Schneiderlin has left United©Getty Images

  • France midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has been reunited with former Southampton manager Ronald Koeman at Everton. He has joined the Toffees from Manchester United on a four-and-a-half-year deal for a fee that could rise to €27.5m.
  • Midfielder Nicolaj Thomsen agrees a move to København from Nantes, signing a contract until 2021 with the Danish champions. “I have great ambitions to win trophies here,” said the 23-year-old, who only arrived in France during the summer.
  • Sheffield Wednesday forward Sergiu Bus, who spent the first half of the season on loan at Italian side Salernitana, agrees an 18-month contract with Astra Giurgiu, where he has been signed as a replacement for the Steaua-bound Denis Alibec.

11 January

  • Winger Felipe Pardo goes on loan from Olympiacos to Nantes for the rest of the season. The former club of Olympiacos strategic adviser Christian Karambeu will have the option to purchase the 26-year-old Colombian outright.


Holger Badstuber (Bayern)

Holger Badstuber has swapped Bayern for Schalke©Getty Images

  • Turkey winger Olcay Şahan, 29, leaves Beşiktaş to join Trabzonspor on a three-and-a-half-year contract. Olcay has struggled to hold down a starting place for the Black Eagles this season.
  • Lyon allow 20-year-old midfielder Olivier Kemen to join Ligue 2 Gazélec Ajaccio on loan until the end of the season to gain playing time.

10 January

  • Genk pick up 22-year-old striker José Naranjo from Celta Vigo on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
  • Schalke have reacted to injury concerns in defence by signing Bayern München’s Holger Badstuber on loan until the end of the season. Badstuber, 27, has won 31 Germany caps.
  • Attacking midfielder Yohan Mollo, 27, has swapped Kryla Sovetov for Zenit, committing himself to the Saint Petersburg club until summer 2020. Mollo is the cousin of France striker André-Pierre Gignac.
  • Krasnodar sign 22-year-old Ecuador left-back Cristian Ramírez from Ferencváros, tying him to a deal until summer 2021.

9 January


Guido Burgstaller (Schalke)

Guido Burgstaller©Getty Images

  • Schalke snap up 2. Bundesliga top scorer Guido Burgstaller from Nürnberg subject to a medical. The Royal Blues will hope that the Austrian, 27, can help fill the void left by injuries to Breel Embolo, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Franco Di Santo.
  • Brazilian centre-back Carlão ends two and a half years at APOEL. “I had offers from other countries, including Greece and Germany, but when I heard there was interest from Torino, I immediately said yes,” says the 30-year-old.
  • Gent sign striker Darko Bjedov, 27, from Serbian side Javor Ivanjica. Kalifa Coulibaly is on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Mali.
  • Lyon loan 20-year-old forward Aldo Kalulu to Ligue 1 rivals Stade Rennais for the remainder of the season.

7 January

  • Ludogorets have added Brazilian goalkeeper Renan dos Santos to their ranks. The 27-year-old arrives from Avaí FC in his homeland.

6 January

  • Beşiktaş make their second signing of the winter, capturing Matej Mitrović, 23, in a €4.2m move from HNK Rijeka. The Croatia centre-back has agreed a three-and-a-half-year contract.
  • Ludogorets raid domestic rivals Botev Plovdiv for the services of João Paulo. The Brazilian striker, 28, is the Bulgarian A League top scorer alongside new team-mate Claudiu Keșerü on 12 goals.
  • Legia Warszawa bring in Daniel Chima Chukwu from Norwegian side Molde on a three-and-a-half-year contract. The Nigerian striker replaces Chicago Fire-bound Nemanja Nikolić at Legia, who have also re-signed defender Artur Jędrzejczyk from Krasnodar. 

5 January

  • Sparta Praha start their winter training with two new acquisitions – Spanish forward Néstor Albiach from Dukla Praha and Romanian forward Bogdan Vătăjelu from Universitatea Craiova.
  • Sweden forward Isaac Kiese Thelin joins Anderlecht on loan from Bordeaux.
  • Cheick Diabaté, scorer of five goals in his last four outings of 2016, departs Osmanlıspor to join Metz on loan, while Ajax‘s Nemanja Gudelj moves to Chinese side Tianjin.
  • Denis Alibec marks his 26th birthday by starting training with Steaua București following his move from Astra Giurgiu.
  • Olexandr Karavaev joins Fenerbahçe on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk. The 24-year-old has spent the past two-and-a-half seasons on loan at Zorya Luhansk, and was in the side that met Fener twice during the group stage.

4 January

  • Bundesliga strugglers Borussia Mönchengladbach sign French centre-back Timothée Kolodziejczak from Sevilla on a long-term deal.
  • Legia Warszawa‘s Poland right-back Bartosz Bereszyński joins Sampdoria.
  • Roma make Iago Falque’s loan move to Torino permanent while Juan Iturbe is sent the same way until the end of the season.
  • Gent bring in Nigerian teen Samuel Kalu from Trenčín while Lazaros Lamprou, 19, links up with PAOK from Iraklis.
  • St-Étienne loan Jonathan Bamba to Angers until the end of the season. The 20-year-old winger spent the first half of the campaign with Belgian side Sint-Truiden.

3 January

  • Zenit‘s key midfielder Axel Witsel joins Tianjin Quanjian of the Chinese Super League.
  • Wilfred Ndidi, 20, agrees a move from Genk to English champions Leicester City. The Nigerian midfielder had been ever-present for the Group F winners in the UEFA Europa League this season.

2 January

  • Former Liverpool, Ajax and Netherlands striker Ryan Babel, 30, signs a two-and-a-half-year deal with Beşiktaş having been released by Deportivo La Coruña.
  • Genk pull off a bit of a coup by snapping up highly-rated 18-year-old midfielder Sander Berge from Vålerenga in Norway.

1 January

  • Thomas Delaney officially starts at Werder Bremen after the “best six months” of his career captaining København after his transfer to the Bundesliga was made public.
  • Midfielder Uroš Matić – younger brother of Chelsea’s Nemanja Matić – was announced as a new København signing from Sturm Graz back on 13 December. The club’s central defender Per Nilsson, meanwhile, has retired, aged 34.

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Senegal midfielder Alfred N’Diaye joins Hull on loan from Villarreal |Football News|

Alfred N’Diaye made 81 appearances for Real Betis.

Hull City have announced the deadline-day signing of Alfred N’Diaye on loan from Villarreal.

Former Sunderland midfielder N’Diaye will spend the remainder of the season at Hull, subject to international clearance.

N’Diaye made 16 Premier League appearances for Sunderland before spells at Eskisehirspor, Real Betis and Villarreal.

The Senegal international has struggled for game time in Spain this campaign, making one La Liga start.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.


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Middlesbrough 1-1 West Brom: Match Report | Football News |




Middlesbrough pick up welcome point against West Brom

Middlesbrough’s winless run in the Premier League continued although they claimed what could be a crucial point in their fight for survival with a 1-1 draw against West Brom at a wet and windy Riverside.

Boro, who had collected just two points from their last five top-flight matches prior to this fixture, fell behind when their former midfielder James Morrison lashed home from 20 yards early on.

But in an entertaining opening half they drew level when Gareth McAuley needlessly brought down Martin de Roon in the area and Alvaro Negredo slotted home the resulting penalty, which proved to be the end of the scoring.

Both sides had chances to go ahead in a more sedate second half as Matt Phillips and Salomon Rondon struck opposite posts in quick succession while De Roon’s first-time effort drew a fine save from Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster.

A point may soothe the mood of Boro boss Aitor Karanka, who on Monday admitted his frustrations at failing to sufficiently add to his squad in the January transfer window, with targets Robert Snodgrass and Jese Rodriguez moving elsewhere.

However, Crystal Palace’s win at Bournemouth means they are now only two points clear of the drop zone.

Karanka, who made seven changes to the line-up from the 1-0 FA Cup win over Accrington at the weekend, saw his side fall behind after six minutes.

After the home side failed to clear their lines from a ball into the box, West Brom skipper Darren Fletcher expertly chested down to Morrison and the former Boro academy product rifled low past Victor Valdes from the edge of the area.

Boro were nearly two down inside the first quarter of an hour as Chris Brunt’s dipping volley went narrowly over, but they were given a lifeline in the 17th minute when McAuley senselessly hacked down De Roon in the area, allowing Negredo to stroke home the spot-kick as he sent Foster the wrong way.

The Teessiders, galvanised by their equaliser, felt they should have had another spot-kick when Cristhian Stuani went down under Allan Nyom’s challenge but referee Stuart Attwell was this time unmoved.

While Boro were having difficulties clearing crosses into their area they looked more than a handful going forward and they almost pulled ahead when Nyom diverted Adama Traore’s cross towards goal, only for Foster to keep it out as well as Stuani’s rebound from an acute angle.

At the other end, Valdes was alert to keep out Negredo’s inadvertent header from Brunt’s ball into the area as the teams went in at the break level.

On the resumption, Valdes was beaten twice as West Brom hit both posts in the space of seconds, first through Phillips’ diving header then Rondon’s follow up.

Immediately afterwards, Boro broke down the right which led to De Roon’s first time strike being magnificently clawed away by Foster.

Neither side seemed content to settle for what would be a second draw between the teams this season, following a goalless stalemate at the Hawthorns in August.

Boro had three shots in quick succession blocked by last-gasp Baggies defending while the ever dangerous Brunt’s strike from distance had to be tipped over by Valdes.

Phillips could not direct his strike goalwards in the closing stages and while Boro finished strongly, they could not find a way through a resistant Albion defence as the spoils were shared.

Source: PA




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Burnley 1-0 Leicester: Match Report | Football News |




Late Sam Vokes goal continues Burnley’s home run at expense of sorry Leicester

Burnley’s run of home victories continued as a controversial late goal from substitute Sam Vokes secured a 1-0 triumph over Leicester – the Foxes’ third successive Premier League defeat.

Vokes fired in from close range in the 87th minute to secure the Clarets’ seventh successive win at Turf Moor in all competitions and fifth in the league, although replays suggested he may have controlled the ball with his arm before shooting.

Referee Mike Dean, who had earlier waved away notable penalty appeals from both sides, allowed the effort to stand despite the strong protests of Leicester’s players.

Source: PA




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Sunderland 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Report |Football News|

Black Cats get the point as out-of-sorts Tottenham draw a blank on Wearside

Sunderland boss David Moyes was given some respite at the end of a frustrating January as Tottenham wasted the chance to maintain their pursuit of Premier League leaders Chelsea.

The bottom-of-the-table Black Cats gave as good as they got before the break, and then battled manfully in containing an out-of-sorts Spurs to claim a 0-0 draw and another point in their quest for survival.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will certainly feel two points were left at the Stadium of Light and opposite number Moyes knows only wins will get his side out of trouble – but the Scot was given cause for hope by a spirited display as he attempts to dig the club out of a hole on the tightest of budgets.

Moyes, who had earlier seen a final deadline day bid to land Leicester striker Leonardo Ulloa fail, went into the game knowing his team would have to exceed its recent standards to emerge with any reward.

They did just that during an opening 45 minutes which saw Spurs enjoy plenty of possession, but do relatively little with it as Harry Kane on his return from a groin injury and Dele Alli were largely becalmed.

Left-back Danny Rose and Heung-min Son prospered in the early stages, but apart from a Kane cross which Lamine Kone had to hack away and a rasping Victor Wanyama shot which was parried by Vito Mannone, they created little of note.

As a result, the Black Cats grew in confidence and actually created the better openings before the break.

Jermain Defoe, whose goals have proved so valuable to the club in the last two years, set the tone with an adventurous ninth-minute run which took him past Toby Alderweireld and Wanyama, only for his shot to be blocked.

Had the half’s best chances fallen to Defoe, Sunderland, for whom midfielder Jack Rodwell may have been fortunate to escape with just a yellow card for an awful challenge on Mousa Dembele, might have gone in at the break, but they fell instead to Fabio Borini, who failed to make the most of them.

Defoe once again turned Alderweireld and fed the Italian with 21 minutes gone, but with the goal at his mercy, he miscontrolled and the chance had gone.

Borini set himself up two minutes later after running on to Eric Dier’s weak clearing header, but although the path to goal opened up invitingly, he fired straight at keeper Michel Vorm to let the visitors off the hook.

Kane only just failed to connect with a Son cross within seconds of the restart and Mannone was called upon to claim a dipping Christian Eriksen free-kick 10 minutes later with Spurs finally slipping into gear.

Full-back Kyle Walker saw a 63rd-minute strike fly over the top with the help of a deflection off opposite number Javier Manquillo and Wanyama powered a header inches over from Son’s cross from the resulting corner.

Son’s 70th-minute shot from Kone’s poor header also cleared the bar and Dier headed just wide at the death – but Tottenham were simply unable to make the pressure tell.

Source: PA


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Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Match Report |Football News|

Chelsea celebrate Anfield draw as leaders move closer to Premier League glory

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp delivered on his promise of a big performance after a miserable week of results but Chelsea had the better night at Anfield.

The Premier League leaders left with a point, which could have been three had Diego Costa not missed a penalty, but results elsewhere improved their evening and the way Antonio Conte celebrated at the final whistle suggested he was delighted.

Arsenal‘s defeat by Watford and Tottenham’s two dropped points at Sunderland meant even a 1-1 draw against Liverpool strengthened Chelsea’s position at the top.

Chelsea’s advantage is now nine points after David Luiz’s free-kick was cancelled out by Georginio Wijnaldum’s second-half header, while for Liverpool a fourth successive home defeat for only the second time in their history was avoided – and deservedly so.

The mood around Anfield has been in freefall, matching recent performances, but this fixture always gets the juices flowing and was the perfect antidote to some insipid displays.

Having taken an hour to produce a shot on target against Sky Bet Championship side Wolves at the weekend, there were only 12 minutes gone when Wijnaldum forced Thibaut Courtois to extend himself.

Liverpool enjoyed the vast majority of possession as they benefited from facing a team who, unlike most who come to Anfield, were not intent on shutting up shop.

But they did not do enough early on to test their visitors, who travelled without Branislav Ivanovic as he finalised a move to Zenit St Petersburg, and the sucker-punch duly came in the 24th minute.

Referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a debatable free-kick for Adam Lallana’s challenge on Eden Hazard, but while Liverpool were still debating it Luiz needed no further encouragement.

Mignolet, trying to organise his defence, was not even looking at the centre-back when the ball was struck. Although it is unlikely he would have been able to stop the dipping shot that went in off the post, he needed to at least give himself a chance.

Soon afterwards, Liverpool’s goalkeeper did manage to get a hand to Willian’s free-kick which almost picked out Luiz having flown through a crowd of players.

The sight of substitute Sadio Mane, back from the African Nations Cup just over 24 hours earlier, sitting on the bench with an ice pack on his left knee was not what Liverpool needed.

But the hosts’ start to the second half was more like what was required, with a good move involving Wijnaldum, Lallana and Clyne spoiled by Roberto Firmino rushing his first-time shot and scooping it over.

Victor Moses had a chance to put the result to bed moments later after James Milner’s half-tackle but this time the post was not of any assistance to Chelsea.

Then it was Conte’s side who were made to pay as Jordan Henderson’s ball to the far post caught Moses napping and Milner headed back across goal for Wijnaldum to head in from six yards.

Mane’s arrival off the bench ramped up expectation levels for home fans, but before he could get into the game they had a major escape. Joel Matip brought down Diego Costa, only for Mignolet to redeem himself with a good low penalty save to his right from the Spain international.

Firmino had the chance to snatch a win in added-time but planted his header straight at Courtois.

Liverpool’s season may be back up and running but Chelsea still appear to be running away with the title.

Source: PA


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Swansea 2-1 Southampton: Match Report |Football News|

Gylfi Sigurdsson the hero again as Swansea beat Southampton

Swansea recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season as Gylfi Sigurdsson’s strike saw them beat Southampton 2-1 and claim a crucial victory at the Liberty Stadium.

The home side had led through a deflected Alfie Mawson header seven minutes before the break, but were pegged back by Shane Long’s near-post effort just before the hour mark.

But up popped Sigurdsson with 20 minutes to go to score his seventh league goal of the season – a second winner in 10 days after his strike against Liverpool at Anfield – and boost the Welsh club’s Premier League survival hopes.

The Saints had made the better start as Swansea were strangely muted. Dusan Tadic and Long immediately found some joy down the Saints right flank, with the Republic of Ireland international firing high and wide from the Serbian’s astute ball down the channel.

Swansea initially struggled to deal with the combination but slowly began to settle. Sigurdsson saw his shot blocked on the edge of the area, and the hosts then had a penalty appeal waved away as the ball flicked on to the hand of Southampton defender Jack Stephens.

Fraser Forster soon made his first save, holding a dipping Sigurdsson strike before parrying Leroy Fer’s volley around a post.

But the goalkeeper had little chance from the resulting corner. Mawson lost Oriol Romeu and the defender’s header diverted off the Spaniard on to the inside of the post and into the net.

Swansea were on top, and Forster did particularly well to keep out a deflected Sigurdsson drive after the Iceland international had beaten two defenders with ease.

The home side started the second half on the front foot too, Sigurdsson breaking into the box but unable to find a supporting white shirt.

But Swansea were made to pay the price for failing to take advantage of a strong period in the game when Long equalised from an incisive Southampton attack.

Steven Davis found Ryan Bertrand’s forward run and his cross picked out Long for the striker to finish neatly at the near post.

Swansea boss Paul Clement responded by sending on Luciano Narsingh for his debut in place of Wayne Routledge, but nearly saw his side fall behind moments later.

Nathan Redmond and substitute Sofiane Boufal led a break and the former should have done better when teed up 14 yards out.

Redmond then worked Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski from distance as Southampton built the pressure.

However, against the run of play Swansea hit back through Sigurdsson. Fernando Llorente and Tom Carroll sent Narsingh racing forward and despite the Dutchman’s cross being behind Sigurdsson, the midfielder adjusted to send a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner.

Swansea had to survive some nerve-jangling moments during the final 20 minutes, including seeing Maya Yoshida’s header fly inches past the post, but they held on for three more valuable points.

Source: PA


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Arsenal 1-2 Watford: Match Report |Football News|

Early strikes help Watford stun Arsenal at Emirates

Arsenal suffered a blow in their Premier League title bid as Watford secured a surprise victory at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Hornets had not won a league game since December 10 but raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of a deflected Younes Kaboul strike and a Troy Deeney tap-in.

With Arsene Wenger in the stands as he served the second of a four-match touchline ban, the Gunners rallied after a dismal first half but could not build on Alex Iwobi’s effort as the visitors hung on for a 2-1 win.

The result was Arsenal’s first defeat of 2017 and adds even more significance to Saturday’s showdown with leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal‘s home record this season was exemplary but they were caught cold in the early stages as the Hornets looked to spring a shock.

Shkodran Mustafi fouled debutant M’Baye Niang and Kaboul’s drive from the resulting free-kick took a huge deflection off Aaron Ramsey and flew past Petr Cech.

There was no immediate reaction from the Gunners, and the second Watford goal followed shortly afterwards as Etienne Capoue broke forward, eased past Mustafi and, although his effort was saved by Cech, Deeney was on hand to snaffle home the rebound.

Arsenal’s problems increased as Ramsey was forced off through injury with a little over 15 minutes on the clock, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming on in his place.

The Gunners thought they had a penalty when Nacho Monreal went down in the box but referee Andre Marriner booked the Spain full-back for simulation.

Heurelho Gomes remained untested in the visitors’ goal but Cech was forced into action as he tipped Sebastian Prodl’s far-post header behind for a corner.

Cech had to be at his very best just moments later to palm away a fierce effort from Niang as Watford once again stole possession deep in Arsenal territory.

A cacophony of jeers met the half-time whistle as Arsenal fans vented their frustrations, although half-time substitute Theo Walcott offered some hope with a decent strike on goal shortly after the interval.

He then had Arsenal’s first shot on target as Gomes turned it behind off his legs before then saving superbly from Iwobi.

Alexis Sanchez saw his own penalty appeal turned down but was then on hand to cross for Iwobi to steer a finish back past Gomes and get the hosts back into the contest.

The expected siege on the Watford goal never truly materialised although Lucas Perez rattled the crossbar with a rasping drive.

And, despite having scored six goals in the 90th minute or later this season, Arsenal could not produce late heroics here as Watford, who had sold misfiring striker Odion Ighalo to Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai earlier in the evening for B#20million, sealed a vital win for manager Walter Mazzarri.

Source: PA


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AFC Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace: Match Report |Football News|

Allardyce’s Palace break Premier League duck with win at Bournemouth

Crystal Palace secured their first Premier League win under Sam Allardyce with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on Tuesday night.

Both sides struggled in the first half as the rain came down at the Vitality Stadium but the visitors needed less than a minute after half-time to take the lead through Scott Dann.

Bournemouth had the majority of the possession in the second half but Palace doubled their lead in injury time through Christian Benteke.

The result means Bournemouth have failed to win a game in January and Eddie Howe made three changes from the side which drew 2-2 with Watford on January 21.

Simon Francis, back from suspension, Brad Smith and Benik Afobe replaced Tyrone Mings, Charlie Daniels and Callum Wilson while for Palace, Patrick van Aanholt was handed his debut after joining from Sunderland on Monday.

Eagles winger Wilfried Zaha was back in the starting line-up for the first time since he returned from the African Nations Cup and came close to putting the visitors in the lead early on in foggy conditions. Some impressive footwork saw the Ivory Coast international lose Bournemouth’s defence before his low shot hit the post.

Bournemouth struggled to get into the game in the opening 15 minutes, with Palace’s defence looking strong, but a moment of nervousness between the back four left Josh King with the chance to pick their pocket. The forward was given space and time but his curling shot was wide of the mark.

Speaking before the game at the Vitality Stadium, Palace manager Sam Allardyce said that playing games on transfer deadline day was unsettling for the players and despite a couple of decent chances for both sides, neither could break through to open the scoring in the first half.

Bournemouth had to wait for Palace to come out for the second half but Allaradyce’s team talk seemed to work as just 55 seconds after the restart, Palace took the lead.

Yohan Cabaye’s initial corner was punched away by Artur Boruc but the ball fell to Van Aanholt, whose quick pass gave Jason Puncheon time to curl the ball back into the box.

Damien Delaney’s flick fell to Dann, who slotted it home to score his first goal since September and put Palace on course for their first victory under the former England manager.

Bournemouth piled on the pressure after the goal but despite a number of chances, they conceded a second in stoppage time.

Andros Townsend, who has been heavily linked with a move back to Newcastle, crossed and an unmarked Benteke had an easy task to head into the back of the net.

Bournemouth have conceded at least two goals in six of their last seven home league fixtures as they slip to 14th in the table while Palace remain two points behind 17th-placed Swansea, who beat Southampton.

Source: PA


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Swansea seal Jordan Ayew swoop as Neil Taylor heads to Aston Villa | Football News |


Swansea have completed a cash-plus-player deal for Aston Villa striker Jordan Ayew, with Wales defender Neil Taylor going in the opposite direction.

Ayew, on Ghana duty for the African Nations Cup in Gabon, has signed a contract until 2020.

Villa are reported to have also banked £5million in the deal as Ayew ends an 18-month stay at the club having scored 10 goals in 58 games.

His brother Andre played for Swansea before making a move to West Ham last year.

“I’m sure his brother has given him the inside track on the club,” Swans head coach Paul Clement told the club’s official site.

“He is a very good acquisition. He’s versatile and dynamic to attack the lines and get in behind defences.

“He will certainly give us something different to what we’ve got.”

Taylor’s exit ends a six-and-a-half year spell with the Swans.

The left-back moved to the Liberty Stadium from non-league Wrexham in 2010, with his first season ending with promotion to the Premier League.

The 27-year-old leaves the Swans having played 179 games with his last appearance coming in the 2-1 win at Crystal Palace earlier this month.

Taylor also has 38 caps for Wales – and scored in their run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals – while he also represented Great Britain at the London Olympics in 2012.

He has signed a four-and-a-half year deal with Villa.

“I loved my time at Swansea but I’m looking forward to this new challenge in my career,” Taylor said on www.avfc.co.uk.

“You only have to look at the facilities, the stadium and the fan base to know that this is a huge club that deserves to be in the Premier League.”

Source: PA




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Chelsea celebrate Anfield draw as leaders move closer to Premier League glory | Football News |


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp delivered on his promise of a big performance after a miserable week of results but Chelsea had the better night at Anfield.

The Premier League leaders left with a point, which could have been three had Diego Costa not missed a penalty, but results elsewhere improved their evening and the way Antonio Conte celebrated at the final whistle suggested he was delighted.

Arsenal‘s defeat by Watford and Tottenham’s two dropped points at Sunderland meant even a 1-1 draw against Liverpool strengthened Chelsea’s position at the top.

Chelsea’s advantage is now nine points after David Luiz’s free-kick was cancelled out by Georginio Wijnaldum’s second-half header, while for Liverpool a fourth successive home defeat for only the second time in their history was avoided – and deservedly so.

The mood around Anfield has been in freefall, matching recent performances, but this fixture always gets the juices flowing and was the perfect antidote to some insipid displays.

Having taken an hour to produce a shot on target against Sky Bet Championship side Wolves at the weekend, there were only 12 minutes gone when Wijnaldum forced Thibaut Courtois to extend himself.

Liverpool enjoyed the vast majority of possession as they benefited from facing a team who, unlike most who come to Anfield, were not intent on shutting up shop.

But they did not do enough early on to test their visitors, who travelled without Branislav Ivanovic as he finalised a move to Zenit St Petersburg, and the sucker-punch duly came in the 24th minute.

Referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a debatable free-kick for Adam Lallana’s challenge on Eden Hazard, but while Liverpool were still debating it Luiz needed no further encouragement.

Mignolet, trying to organise his defence, was not even looking at the centre-back when the ball was struck. Although it is unlikely he would have been able to stop the dipping shot that went in off the post, he needed to at least give himself a chance.

Soon afterwards, Liverpool’s goalkeeper did manage to get a hand to Willian’s free-kick which almost picked out Luiz having flown through a crowd of players.

The sight of substitute Sadio Mane, back from the African Nations Cup just over 24 hours earlier, sitting on the bench with an ice pack on his left knee was not what Liverpool needed.

But the hosts’ start to the second half was more like what was required, with a good move involving Wijnaldum, Lallana and Clyne spoiled by Roberto Firmino rushing his first-time shot and scooping it over.

Victor Moses had a chance to put the result to bed moments later after James Milner’s half-tackle but this time the post was not of any assistance to Chelsea.

Then it was Conte’s side who were made to pay as Jordan Henderson’s ball to the far post caught Moses napping and Milner headed back across goal for Wijnaldum to head in from six yards.

Mane’s arrival off the bench ramped up expectation levels for home fans, but before he could get into the game they had a major escape. Joel Matip brought down Diego Costa, only for Mignolet to redeem himself with a good low penalty save to his right from the Spain international.

Firmino had the chance to snatch a win in added-time but planted his header straight at Courtois.

Liverpool’s season may be back up and running but Chelsea still appear to be running away with the title.

Source: PA




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Southampton sign Manolo Gabbiadini | Football News |


Southampton have signed Napoli forward Manolo Gabbiadini for an undisclosed fee.

Saints announced the news shortly after their 2-1 Premier League defeat to Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday night.

The 25-year-old has put pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year contract to keep him at the Premier League club until the summer of 2021.

Source: PA




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Ravel Morrison returns to QPR on loan from Lazio |Football News|

Ravel Morrison signed for Lazio from 2015.

Ravel Morrison has returned to Championship side Queens Park Rangers on loan from Lazio.

Morrison, who started his career at Manchester United, is contracted to QPR until the end of the season when the club will have the option to make the deal permanent.

The 23-year-old, who spent part of 2014 on loan at QPR scoring six goals in 15 league appearances, told the club’s official website: “I am really pleased to be back here.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to come back and hopefully find the form I showed the first time around.

“I am ready to work hard and focus fully on playing for Rangers.

“I’m really grateful to the manager and everyone else at the club for sorting out this loan deal — and I can’t wait to play in front of the QPR fans again.”

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.


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Middlesbrough pick up welcome point against West Brom


Middlesbrough’s winless run in the Premier League continued although they claimed what could be a crucial point in their fight for survival with a 1-1 draw against West Brom at a wet and windy Riverside.

Boro, who had collected just two points from their last five top-flight matches prior to this fixture, fell behind when their former midfielder James Morrison lashed home from 20 yards early on.

But in an entertaining opening half they drew level when Gareth McAuley needlessly brought down Martin de Roon in the area and Alvaro Negredo slotted home the resulting penalty, which proved to be the end of the scoring.

Both sides had chances to go ahead in a more sedate second half as Matt Phillips and Salomon Rondon struck opposite posts in quick succession while De Roon’s first-time effort drew a fine save from Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster.

A point may soothe the mood of Boro boss Aitor Karanka, who on Monday admitted his frustrations at failing to sufficiently add to his squad in the January transfer window, with targets Robert Snodgrass and Jese Rodriguez moving elsewhere.

However, Crystal Palace’s win at Bournemouth means they are now only two points clear of the drop zone.

Karanka, who made seven changes to the line-up from the 1-0 FA Cup win over Accrington at the weekend, saw his side fall behind after six minutes.

After the home side failed to clear their lines from a ball into the box, West Brom skipper Darren Fletcher expertly chested down to Morrison and the former Boro academy product rifled low past Victor Valdes from the edge of the area.

Boro were nearly two down inside the first quarter of an hour as Chris Brunt’s dipping volley went narrowly over, but they were given a lifeline in the 17th minute when McAuley senselessly hacked down De Roon in the area, allowing Negredo to stroke home the spot-kick as he sent Foster the wrong way.

The Teessiders, galvanised by their equaliser, felt they should have had another spot-kick when Cristhian Stuani went down under Allan Nyom’s challenge but referee Stuart Attwell was this time unmoved.

While Boro were having difficulties clearing crosses into their area they looked more than a handful going forward and they almost pulled ahead when Nyom diverted Adama Traore’s cross towards goal, only for Foster to keep it out as well as Stuani’s rebound from an acute angle.

At the other end, Valdes was alert to keep out Negredo’s inadvertent header from Brunt’s ball into the area as the teams went in at the break level.

On the resumption, Valdes was beaten twice as West Brom hit both posts in the space of seconds, first through Phillips’ diving header then Rondon’s follow up.

Immediately afterwards, Boro broke down the right which led to De Roon’s first time strike being magnificently clawed away by Foster.

Neither side seemed content to settle for what would be a second draw between the teams this season, following a goalless stalemate at the Hawthorns in August.

Boro had three shots in quick succession blocked by last-gasp Baggies defending while the ever dangerous Brunt’s strike from distance had to be tipped over by Valdes.

Phillips could not direct his strike goalwards in the closing stages and while Boro finished strongly, they could not find a way through a resistant Albion defence as the spoils were shared.

Source: PA




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Allardyce’s Palace break Premier League duck with win at Bournemouth


Crystal Palace secured their first Premier League win under Sam Allardyce with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on Tuesday night.

Both sides struggled in the first half as the rain came down at the Vitality Stadium but the visitors needed less than a minute after half-time to take the lead through Scott Dann.

Bournemouth had the majority of the possession in the second half but Palace doubled their lead in injury time through Christian Benteke.

The result means Bournemouth have failed to win a game in January and Eddie Howe made three changes from the side which drew 2-2 with Watford on January 21.

Simon Francis, back from suspension, Brad Smith and Benik Afobe replaced Tyrone Mings, Charlie Daniels and Callum Wilson while for Palace, Patrick van Aanholt was handed his debut after joining from Sunderland on Monday.

Eagles winger Wilfried Zaha was back in the starting line-up for the first time since he returned from the African Nations Cup and came close to putting the visitors in the lead early on in foggy conditions. Some impressive footwork saw the Ivory Coast international lose Bournemouth’s defence before his low shot hit the post.

Bournemouth struggled to get into the game in the opening 15 minutes, with Palace’s defence looking strong, but a moment of nervousness between the back four left Josh King with the chance to pick their pocket. The forward was given space and time but his curling shot was wide of the mark.

Speaking before the game at the Vitality Stadium, Palace manager Sam Allardyce said that playing games on transfer deadline day was unsettling for the players and despite a couple of decent chances for both sides, neither could break through to open the scoring in the first half.

Bournemouth had to wait for Palace to come out for the second half but Allaradyce’s team talk seemed to work as just 55 seconds after the restart, Palace took the lead.

Yohan Cabaye’s initial corner was punched away by Artur Boruc but the ball fell to Van Aanholt, whose quick pass gave Jason Puncheon time to curl the ball back into the box.

Damien Delaney’s flick fell to Dann, who slotted it home to score his first goal since September and put Palace on course for their first victory under the former England manager.

Bournemouth piled on the pressure after the goal but despite a number of chances, they conceded a second in stoppage time.

Andros Townsend, who has been heavily linked with a move back to Newcastle, crossed and an unmarked Benteke had an easy task to head into the back of the net.

Bournemouth have conceded at least two goals in six of their last seven home league fixtures as they slip to 14th in the table while Palace remain two points behind 17th-placed Swansea, who beat Southampton.

Source: PA




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Watford confirm Odion Ighalo’s departure to Chinese club – Serie A 2016/2017 |Football News|

Odion Ighalo off to China

by
Staff Reporter

Wednesday Feb 01, 2017. 00:00


Premier League club Watford have confirmed Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo has joined Chinese Super League club Changchun Yatai after a successful medical.

‘The Hornets can confirm that Odion Ighalo has agreed a permanent move to Changchun Yatai,” Watford announced on their website Tuesday night.

“The 27-year-old striker joins the Chinese Super League outfit after two-and-a-half years at Vicarage Road.

“Ighalo scored 39 goals in 100 appearances during that time, including 20 as Watford secured promotion to the Premier League in 2014/15, and 17 during the club’s first campaign back in the top-flight.

“The Nigerian international initially arrived on loan from Granada in July 2014, a move which was made permanent three months later.

“All at Watford FC thank Odion for his contributions to the club, and wish him the best of luck for his future career.”

He moved to China for a reported 20 million pounds.

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Ross County vs. Motherwell – Football Match Report – January 31, 2017 |Football News|

Scott McDonald and Louis Moult were on target as Motherwell moved into the Ladbrokes Premiership top six with a 2-1 victory over Ross County in Dingwall.
McDonald pounced on a Jay McEveley mistake to open the scoring in the 28th minute but the County defender redeemed himself by heading an equaliser six minutes later.
The unmarked Moult headed home from Steven Hammell’s inswinging corner nine minutes after the interval and the visitors held on for a crucial win.
Moult had the ball in the County net in the 17th minute but he was flagged offside and the home defence were guilty of giving the ball away too easily as Lee Lucas picked up a loose ball, but his effort was blocked in front of goal.
County first threatened in a breakaway move but Craig Samson tipped the overlapping Marcus Fraser’s ball over the bar.
Well took the lead three minutes later when McEveley failed to cut out a through ball from Lucas and McDonald drove into the box and and fired past Scott Fox.
McDonald came close again a couple of minutes later when he cut inside and blasted a shot over.
McEveley was soon celebrating when Martin Woods’ corner found the defender on the edge of the six-yard box and he sent looping header over Samson’s head and into the net as the Motherwell goalkeeper protested in vain, claiming he had been impeded.
County were lifted and Samson saved well from Woods’ header.
County made a double substitution at the start of the second half with Milan Lalkovic and Jason Naismith replacing Christopher Routis and McEveley respectively.
Woods drifted a left-foot just wide but it was Motherwell who restored their lead when Moult rose highest to nod the ball home from close range.
A delicate chip into the box from Woods almost let Alex Schalk in on goal but Samson rushed off his line to make a timely intervention.
County were going all out for a leveller and Schalk stung the hands of Samson when he cut inside and let fly and Boyce was unable to knock in the rebound.
The chances kept coming and, after a Woods header was cleared behind, Michael Gardyne sliced a shot well wide of target.
County continued to dominate until the final whistle but they just could not find that elusive equaliser.

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Arsenal lose at home, Leicester defeated away – UEFA Champions League – News


TUESDAY

Arsenal 1-2 Watford (Iwobi 58; Kaboul 10, Deeney 13)
Alex Iwobi pulled one back after half-time, the Gunners rallying a little after being booed off at the break following a dire start. Former Tottenham man Younès Kaboul opened the scoring, and Troy Deeney hit the Bees’ second before Aaron Ramsey came off injured. Arsenal‘s first defeat of 2017 ended a run of ten unbeaten at home in the league (W8 D2).

Burnley 1-0 Leicester (Vokes 87)
Sam Vokes volleyed in a late winner as last season’s second-tier title winners overcame the Premier League champions. Demarai Gray and Riyad Mahrez had the best of Leicester’s chances on a soggy surface in Lancashire, with the Foxes having won just one of their six competitive games this January (W1 D2 L3).

WEDNESDAY

Chambly v Monaco (18:00, French Cup round of 32)

West Ham v Man City (20:45)

Rennes v Paris (21:00, French Cup round of 32)

Atlético v Barcelona (21:00, Spanish Cup semi-final first leg),

All kick-off times CET

Arsenal


©Getty Images



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Hamilton Academical vs. Inverness Caledonian Thistle – Football Match Report – January 31, 2017 |Football News|

Inverness’ relegation fears deepened as they lost 3-0 to Ladbrokes Premiership drop-zone rivals Hamilton at the SuperSeal Stadium.
Richie Foran rushed returning frontman Billy McKay back into his Caley Thistle line-up but it failed to produce the spark his Ladbrokes Premiership bottom side were looking for.
They now trail 11th-placed Accies by three points after Alex D’Acol, Grant Gillespie and Rakish Bingham struck to hand Martin Canning’s side their first win in 13 league games.
Greg Tansey had the chance to level for the Highlanders while they were a goal down but Gary Woods pulled off a crucial save to stop his first-half penalty.
McKay was handed a return to the Inverness ranks just hours after securing a loan switch from Wigan, but red tape prevented Hamilton’s new right-back Giannis Skondras making his debut.
It seemed McKay was in for a dream homecoming when Tansey picked out the Northern Irishman with a sublime quick free-kick launched over the top, but the striker’s shot flew into the side-netting.
Caley Thistle have the leakiest defence in the top-flight and they showed why after 10 minutes as Accies grabbed the opener.
D’Acol’s darting run across the front post should have been easily picked up but he was allowed to run ghost free and glance home his seventh goal of the season from Ali Crawford’s corner.
Mikey Devlin’s push on Carl Tremarco gave Inverness a golden chance to square things up from the spot after 27 minutes, but Woods sprang to his right to push away Tansey’s penalty.
And a calamitous evening got even worse for the basement boys as they conceded a shambolic second 90 seconds after the break.
Bingham outstripped David Raven down the right but his cut-back was missed by both D’Acol and Caley captain Gary Warren as they slipped on Accies’ plastic pitch.
That left Gillespie free to strike from 16 yards but even he was surprised to see the ball squirm through Owain Fon Williams’ hands into the net.
And Brad McKay’s misjudgement on halfway was just as costly as Bingham wrapped up an emphatic win by scoring after 61 minutes when he surged 30 yards before smashing the ball into the top corner.
ends

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Partick Thistle vs. St Johnstone – Football Match Preview – February 1, 2017


St Johnstone could move into fourth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership against Partick Thistle on Wednesday night, but midfielder Murray Davidson is still a while away from analysing the table.
The Perth side are level on points with Hearts following the 3-0 win over Hamilton on Saturday, where the midfielder scored the third with a header.
A victory at Firhill would also go a long way to help clinching a top-six spot – Saints would go 11 clear of their sixth-placed hosts – but Davidson is not too concerned about league positions at the moment.
“I don’t look at the table at this stage of the season but I knew we were three points behind Hearts,” the 28-year-old said.
“Everyone is different. I think certain players do, but I have never looked at the table.
“You see it here and there and you are aware of where you are but it is something I have never done.
“The last four or five seasons, because we have been successful and once we have our place in the top-six cemented, that is when I have a proper look and you can maybe start targeting where you can finish.
“I am just trying to get into the top six as fast as possible. Hopefully we can do that and once we do that I will maybe start looking around us.
“Yes, 11 points at this stage is a big gap but Partick will be looking to bring it down to five.
“They have done quite well against us recently but we went down there earlier in the season and won 2-0 and played very well.
“We know if we do play well we are more than capable of getting a result.”
Adam Barton feels vindicated in his decision to move to Thistle as he believes their style of play has brought out the best in him.
The 26-year-old moved from Portsmouth in August and quickly became a hit with the Thistle fans and others, winning the Ladbrokes Premiership player of the month award in October.
And the skilful former Preston and Coventry player, who can line up in defence or midfield, feels that is down to Thistle’s commitment to passing football.
“That was a key factor why I came to Partick,” he said. “A player like me, I like to get on the ball and I like teams that play. If I didn’t do that then I would probably be useless in a team, to be quite honest with you.
“Me and my agent discussed it and it was the right decision in the end, the way we play.
“There are probably three or four teams in (English) League Two that play. A lot of teams may say they want to play but they don’t.
“If I can get to a team that likes to play like Partick do then it suits me and it hopefully brings the best out in me. And it has shown in recent weeks and months, hopefully my performances have been okay and that’s down to the way the team wants to play.”
Thistle went from bottom of the table to the top six in recent weeks but Barton feels there is still room for improvement following four consecutive clean sheets.
“We have gone a number of games now where we have kept clean sheets,” he said. “At the start of the season that was the one thing we really pushed for. And now we have got that we just need to try and put these chances away.
“It’s happened all season, we are creating chances but in certain games we don’t take them.”



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Romain Alessandrini joins LA Galaxy as designated player


Romain Alessandrini has joined the LA Galaxy ahead of the 2017 season.

The LA Galaxy signed French midfielder Romain Alessandrini as a designated player on Tuesday.

Alessandrini, 27, has spent his entire career in France and joins from Marseille, where he played for the past two and a half seasons.

A league source told ESPN FC that the Galaxy and MLS will pay Marseille a transfer fee of $1.75 million, with Alessandrini earning a salary of $2m per season.

After making 57 league and cup appearances with 11 goals during his first two campaigns with Marseille, Alessandrini has been limited to just eight league and cup matches this season.

And his playing time was likely to be decrease even more after OM sealed the £25m signing of Dimitri Payet from West Ham, but the Galaxy were happy to sign their “number one target,” general manager Peter Vagenas said.

“We are very excited to add a talented, attacking winger like Romain to our roster,” Vagenas said in a statement. “He is in the prime of his career and has spent time playing at a top division in Europe.

“Romain will play a valuable role in our team’s success this season and we look forward to him joining the team ahead of the 2017 season.”

The Galaxy have cash to spend this offseason after the departures of Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan.  Alessandrini joins Giovani dos Santos as a designated player in LA.

ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report.



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Proposed MLS franchise in San Diego can coexist with Liga MX’s Tijuana


Shaka Hislop delves into Don Garber’s MLS expansion plans and his thoughts on the correct number of teams for the league.

The bid to bring an MLS expansion franchise to San Diego faces a unique challenge because of the close proximity of Liga MX side Club Tijuana to the city. But according to Nick Stone, a member of the prospective ownership group, there is enough demand for soccer in the area to support both teams.

“Personally, I think a rising tide lifts all boats,” Stone told ESPN FC. “This is all net additive and building enthusiasm for the sport, and when people discover that there’s Xolos soccer right across the border, we’ll figure out how to play both teams against each other.”

San Diego was one of 12 markets to announce they have applied for expansion to MLS before the league’s deadline on Tuesday. They are vying for four expansion slots that would comprise MLS teams 25 through 28. MLS announced in December that following a review of each prospective market, teams 25 and 26 will be selected during the second or third quarter of 2017.

The teams selected will be expected to begin play in 2020, and the expansion fee for those teams is $150 million. As a point of comparison, Toronto FC’s expansion fee ahead of its inaugural season in 2007 was $10 million.

Other ownership groups applied to bring teams from Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, Sacramento, San Antonio, Tampa/St. Petersburg.

But San Diego has the closest proximity to an existing club, with Club Tijuana’s home stadium, Estadio Caliente, located just over 20 miles away. Stone estimates that 6,000 fans go across the border from Southern California for every Tijuana home game.

There are other aspects beside competition for fans and crowd share, however. Tijuana have historically recruited heavily from the area in its search for players, including local product and U.S. international Joe Corona, so it’s likely far ahead in the battle for hearts, minds and eyeballs. Stone is undaunted nonetheless.

Approximately 6,000 fans travel from Southern California to Tijuana to attend Xolos matches in Liga MX.

“If there was ever an independent verification that this market is screaming for soccer, that’s it,'” he said about San Diegans attending Tijuana games. “Think of that as a starting point for the demand. What I think is the very unique part of San Diego is that we have this very unique cross-border relationship here. Imagine the Border Cup rivalry that exists.”

He added, “This is a huge market for soccer. I don’t think there’s only 6,000 tickets demand in San Diego at all. I think it’s much bigger than that. There’s a big Liga MX following here, which is obviously the Xolos component of the equation. But there’s also a big European and MLS following. We think we’re going to try and fit into both of those buckets.”

San Diego formally announced its bid to bring MLS to the city on Monday atop the USS Midway Museum. The plans include building a $200 million stadium with a capacity of 30,000 seats on the site currently occupied by Qualcomm Stadium that would be shared with San Diego State University. The project would also include a 55-acre river park, 800 units of student-focused housing, as well as an entertainment district.

Given that the site exists outside of downtown — a well-known preference of MLS executives — the ancillary development will be critical to the project.

“Today, the site is a parking lot between two freeways,” he said. “It’s a very well-located parking lot, but it’s a parking lot. Part of our effort was going around and visiting different stadiums. We repeatedly heard the phrase, ‘Do not build an island in a parking lot. It doesn’t work.’

“Which is why you’re seeing us come forward with this proposal to do much more than build a stadium in an existing parking lot.”

A 30,000 seat stadium is the centerpiece of the San Diego ownership group’s bid for an MLS franchise.

The ownership group is offering to privately finance the construction, purchase the land at fair market value, and relive the city of $12 million in annual maintenance costs once Qualcomm Stadium is demolished to make way for the new building. It’s why Stone is calling the project a “win-win-win.”

“You have no taxpayer dollars and the fair market value piece, plus the real opportunity cost,” he said. “There’s real cash out the door leakage [from the maintenance costs], and that’s what makes us different from other expansion candidates. And three we’ve got this great group of supporters that really want this, it feels like we’re starting in a good spot.”

The biggest challenge will likely be getting the stadium approved and completed by 2020. That’s why Stone and fellow investors Mike Stone (no relation), Qualcomm president Steve Altman, San Diego Padres co-owner Peter Seidler, Univision Deportes president Juan Carlos Rodriguez, and technology entrepreneurs Massih and Masood Tayebi will try to fast-track the project through the city council without a public vote. That will be accomplished by getting 72,000 signatures from registered voters, though Stone added they hope to get upwards of 125,000.

“The city council has two choices, it can directly adopt the proposal and do it, or put it on ballot in November 2018, which is way too late to secure an MLS franchise. So we’re asking the city council to explicitly adopt this.”

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.



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Moritz Leitner leaves Lazio to seal return to Augsburg


Moritz Leitner is back in Germany after an unsuccessful spell with Lazio.

Moritz Leitner left Lazio to return to the Bundesliga with Augsburg on Tuesday.

The midfielder made only two appearances with Lazio after signing in the summer from Borussia Dortmund.

He previously played on loan at Augsburg in 2011 and helped the the club win promotion to the top flight.

A young crop of players are rising in Serie A, and Gab Marcotti feels this could be a golden generation.

“My first spell at FCA, which was crowned with promotion to the Bundesliga, was terrific,” the 24-year-old told the club’s website. “I only have positive memories of it so it quickly became clear to me that I wanted to take this opportunity to return to the Bundesliga.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved for their confidence and I look forward to getting to know the team and being able to wear the FCA shirt for a long time.”

Lazio also parted ways with left-back Vinicius Freitas, who joined AEK Athens, while 20-year-old Joseph Minala went on loan to Serie B club Salernitana.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.



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Gbenga Arokoyo 2017 MLS season over before it begins


Gbenga Arokoyo in action for Portland Timbers in the MLS

by
Staff Reporter

Tuesday Jan 31, 2017. 22:18


Nigeria defender Gbenga Arokoyo won’t play in the 2017 MLS season for Portland Timbers due to a ruptured Achilles’ tendon injury he suffered Tuesday at the pre-season training in Tucson, Arizona.

The team coach Caleb Porter said the former Gaziantepspor of Turkey central defender went down after a collision with another Portland player in training.

This is a devastating news for Arokoyo, who missed most of his time with the Timbers in 2016 due to a groin injury sustained while featuring for the second team, as well as for the team, who suddenly find themselves missing an expected starter on their back line.

The defender, who has been capped by Nigeria at U20 and full international levels, will now undergo a surgery.



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The Coach: Three favourable fixtures on Matchday 19



The Coach: Three favourable <a title="" class="aalmanual" target="_blank" href="http://www.bet365.com/dl/~offer?affiliate=365_357520">fixtures</a> on Matchday 19 – bundesliga.com



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2017 MLS All-Star Game set for Soldier Field in Chicago


Soldier Field will host the 2017 MLS All-Star Game.

The 2017 MLS All-Star Game is headed to the city of Chicago, the league announced on Tuesday, with the match to be held at Soldier Field on Aug. 2.

Veljko Paunovic, the head coach of the Chicago Fire, will manage the All-Star team, with an opponent to be announced at a later date.

The event returns to the Chicago area for the first time since 2006, when the All-Stars beat Chelsea 1-0 at the Fire’s Toyota Park.

MLS commissioner Don Garber was joined by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel in making the announcement at the home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

Chicago will host nearly a week of events surrounding the game, including concerts, player appearances, and the Homegrown Game featuring young players.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.



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