EPL

Football rumours: Jadon Sancho set for cut-price January sale

By Sports Desk September 22, 2023

What the papers say

The clock appears to be ticking on Jadon Sancho’s time at Manchester United. The Daily Star reports United are willing to sell the England winger, 23, in January for less than the £73million they paid Borussia Dortmund.

Another winger is being linked to a move to Old Trafford, with Manchester United among several clubs keen on Club Brugge youngster Antonio Nusa. The Daily Express reports Arsenal and Chelsea are also interested in the 18-year-old Norwegian, who is valued around £30million.

One forward not going anywhere is Son Heung-min. According to the Daily Telegraph, Tottenham are ready to trigger an option in the South Korean’s contract which will keep the 31-year-old at the club for a further year until 2026.

There are comings and goings off the pitch at Tottenham. The Guardian reports chief scout Leonardo Gabbanini has left the club ahead of the appointment of a new sporting director.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Michail Antonio: Wolves, Everton and Nottingham Forest could step in if the 33-year-old striker fails to agree a new deal at West Ham.

Khephren Thuram: Liverpool and Tottenham are among several top European clubs on the trail of Nice’s 22-year-old France midfielder.

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  • Alexis Mac Allister delight after opening Reds account with ‘best goal of life’ Alexis Mac Allister delight after opening Reds account with ‘best goal of life’

    Liverpool midfielder Alexis Mac Allister admits it was nice to be momentarily freed from the restrictions of his defensive role to score the “best goal of my life”.

    The Argentina international’s superb 30-yard rising drive into the top corner in Sunday’s dramatic 4-3 win over Fulham was his first for the club since signing from Brighton in the summer.

    His attacking qualities have been largely nullified following his arrival as necessity has meant he has been asked to play a deeper role in midfield than he is used to, but his flash of brilliance showed he has not lost any of his instincts in the final third.

    “Not a bad start to my career there in Liverpool as a goalscorer,” he said.

    “I had a nice one against Leicester (for Brighton) but it was disallowed so I think it was the best goal I scored in my life.

    “As soon as I hit it, I knew that it was going to be a goal. When I play as a number six I am not very worried about goals and assists (because) I have other work to do – but it’s always nice to score.”

    Mac Allister’s goal would have been a worthy match-winner but some haphazard defending allowed Fulham to equalise twice before taking the lead with 10 minutes to go.

    That set up a grandstand finish with Wataru Endo and Trent Alexander-Arnold scoring within a couple of minutes of each other to snatch victory and extend their perfect Anfield winning record to 11 matches this season.

    Captain Virgil van Dijk accepted there was a degree of sloppiness in Liverpool’s game but said at the start of a busy December it was important just to secure the points and move on to the next game, which comes at Sheffield United on Wednesday.

    “I think we were a bit too sloppy in possession in the transitions but I am not that kind of guy that wants to look too much to the negative side,” said the Netherlands defender.

    “If we win these types of games the way we do now is not a bad thing so we have to take the positives out of it, especially during this busy period that starts now.”

    Alexander-Arnold was pivotal to the victory as it was his impressive free-kick, which went in via the underside of the crossbar and the back of goalkeeper Bernd Leno, which kicked things off early in the game.

    When Mac Allister was withdrawn with 25 minutes to go it was the right-back who stepped into central midfield to continue to dictate matters with his passing and Van Dijk has been impressed with how his vice-captain has operated mainly in a hybrid role for the last nine month.

    “Well obviously when he has the ball at his feet and he is free he can put the ball wherever he wants and that is a big quality,” added the Dutchman.

    “We all know that and opponents know it as well. They tried to put him a bit more under pressure but obviously for him to (contribute to) two goals and be important on the offensive side is good and it is something we’re going to need, so let’s keep it going.”

  • Mauricio Pochettino wants Enzo Fernandez to ‘build confidence’ from Brighton win Mauricio Pochettino wants Enzo Fernandez to ‘build confidence’ from Brighton win

    Mauricio Pochettino believes Enzo Fernandez has the confidence to begin showing his best form for Chelsea after the World Cup winner netted his first Premier League goals against Brighton.

    The 22-year-old headed in his team’s first after 17 minutes before adding a second from the penalty spot after the break, as the hosts weathered the loss of captain Conor Gallagher to a red card in the 45th minute to claim a 3-2 victory at Stamford Bridge.

    It was a first win in six attempts in the Premier League against Roberto De Zerbi’s side and saw the Argentina international, who signed from Benfica for a then British record £107million in January, finally break his scoring duck in the league on his 31st appearance.

    His influence has grown at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield, particularly since the arrival of Moises Caicedo in August, which has allowed him to take up more advanced positions.

    Pochettino, who also saw defender Levi Colwill score his first for the club, predicted Fernandez’s first league goals will only accelerate his progress.

    “It’s important that different players can score,” said the manager. “It was Enzo’s first and second in the Premier League, it’s important to build confidence.

    “Players sometimes need one season, six months, 10 months to start to show their real quality. Why would it be different at Chelsea?

    “So happy that different players can score. It’s a good thing for the team.”

    The win was just Chelsea’s second at home in the league this season and their fourth of 2023, lifting them into the top half of the table following the previous weekend’s 4-1 rout by Newcastle.

    The game finished amidst confusion as Brighton were awarded a penalty in the ninth minute of stoppage time by referee Craig Pawson after the ball struck Colwill in the face inside the box.

    A pitch-side VAR check – the game’s second after Mykhailo Mudryk had won a spot-kick following a review – overturned the decision, but emotions boiled over with players of both sides squaring up to each other as the final whilst went.

    “Football is emotional, no?” said Pochettino. “It’s normal, our reaction and the reaction from Brighton.

    “You are playing for a lot of things. It’s really important there three points for us (or) one point for Brighton.

    “There’s massive confusion at the end of the game. It was exciting, people were upset. That’s what happened when we were in the middle all together.

    “You create this type of relationship where it becomes massive confusion.”

  • Sendings-off stacking up – Premier League on course for record red card haul Sendings-off stacking up – Premier League on course for record red card haul

    Conor Gallagher’s red card in Chelsea’s win over Brighton on Sunday was the 31st in this season’s Premier League – already more than the whole of last season.

    Here, the PA news agency looks at how the two seasons compare to Premier League history.

    Dirty thirty

    Gallagher’s was the second red card of the Premier League weekend, following Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie’s second of the season in Saturday’s defeat to Burnley.

    Thirty players in total have seen red already this campaign, with 14 clubs having experienced at least one dismissal – Aston Villa, Brentford, Crystal Palace, Luton, Manchester United and Newcastle are the exceptions.

    Liverpool are the worst offenders with four red cards, though Alexis Mac Allister’s against Bournemouth was overturned on appeal. Virgil van Dijk, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones are their other culprits.

    Gallagher became the third Chelsea player sent off this season, joining Malo Gusto and Reece James and moving them alongside Burnley, Tottenham and Wolves.

    Last season saw 29 Premier League players sent off, with Manchester United midfielder Casemiro the only repeat offender. Wolves’ six, for Nelson Semedo, Mario Lemina, Jonny, Nathan Collins, Diego Costa and Matheus Nunes, were twice as many as any other club.

    Over-correction

    There were only 17 straight red cards last season, the fewest in the Premier League era, while the overall total was the lowest since the 28 shown in 1993-94.

    While an increase on that figure was always likely, this season’s average of one red card every 4.5 games means the top flight is currently on course for 84 over the course of the season.

    That would comfortably be a new record, beating the 75 shown in the 2005-06 season.

    That campaign brought red cards for all 20 teams, and more than one for all bar Portsmouth. Eleven teams had four or more, topped by Blackburn and Everton with seven apiece. A 76th red card initially shown to Newcastle’s Jermaine Jenas against Arsenal was rescinded after referee Steve Bennett reviewed his own decision, with no need for a formal appeal.

    Before last season, the total had been in the 40s for four years in succession – and before that, over 50 every season as far back as 1997-98.

    Goals galore

    Another statistic on the rise this season is the most important in football – goals.

    With Burnley’s 5-0 win over Blades followed on Sunday by Liverpool and Chelsea winning 4-3 and 3-2 respectively and a 3-3 draw between Manchester City and Tottenham, there have now been 442 goals in 140 matches this season.

    That average of 3.16 per game would, if sustained over the full season, be the highest in Premier League history – beating the record of 2.85 set last season.

    The 1,084 goals scored on that occasion were a record for a 20-team season, with this season currently on track for 1,200.

    There have still been only three 0-0 draws – Bournemouth against Chelsea and Crystal Palace’s home games against Fulham and Nottingham Forest.

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