EPL

Chris Wood downs former club Newcastle and Luton win again

By Sports Desk December 26, 2023

Chris Wood retuned to haunt Newcastle with a stunning hat-trick as Nottingham Forest handed new boss Nuno Espirito Santo the first Premier League victory of his reign.

Wood, who joined Forest from the Magpies in January, produced two fine second-half finishes to secure a 3-1 comeback success at St James’ Park.

Newcastle went ahead through Alexander Isak’s 23rd-minute penalty but slipped to a sixth defeat in seven games in all competitions after Wood tapped home Anthony Elanga’s cross just before the break and went on to complete his treble in style.

Forest remain two points above the relegation zone after 18th-placed Luton pulled off a 3-2 success at bottom club Sheffield United thanks to two late own goals.

Blades pair Jack Robinson and Anis Ben Slimane each turned the ball into their own goal during the final 14 minutes of a chaotic clash at Bramall Lane.

Chris Wilder’s hosts had looked set for a vital three points after second-half strikes from Oli McBurnie and Anel Ahmedhodzic overturned Alfie Doughty’s 17th-minute opener.

In-form Bournemouth continued their remarkable resurgence by moving into the top half of the table thanks to a thumping 3-0 victory over Fulham.

Justin Kluivert put the Cherries ahead just before half-time at Vitality Stadium before Dominic Solanke’s eighth goal in seven games – a penalty after Joao Palhinha brought down Antoine Semenyo – doubled the lead.

Substitute Luis Sinisterra sealed an emphatic success late on as Andoni Iraola’s hosts made it 19 points from the last 21 available.

Related items

  • I owe everything to him – Trent Alexander-Arnold grateful to Jurgen Klopp I owe everything to him – Trent Alexander-Arnold grateful to Jurgen Klopp

    Trent Alexander-Arnold says he owes everything to Jurgen Klopp and believes the Liverpool manager’s impending departure could feed into the title-race drama.

    Reigning champions Manchester City sit top of the Premier League pile with six matches remaining after second-placed Arsenal and the third-spotted Reds suffered shock defeats on Sunday.

    Liverpool’s 1-0 home loss to Crystal Palace compounded Thursday’s 3-0 Europa League quarter-final defeat at the hands of Atalanta in what could prove Klopp’s final European night at Anfield.

    Alexander-Arnold made his return from two months out with a knee injury in the Eagles encounter and expects more “twists and turns” as the popular German’s final season in charge comes to an end.

    “I think experience is a massive part of it,” the Liverpool academy product told The Overlap podcast.

    “Obviously the other two teams will have experience from last season. They had their own title race within themselves.”

    Asked if Klopp leaving and the emotion around gives Liverpool an edge in the run-in, Alexander-Arnold said: “I think he will feed into that, the further it goes.

    “Let’s say we get into May, the start of May, and it’s still that tight, then he’ll start to feed into how it’s going to look, how it could feel. Up until then, we just need to try and stay (composed).

    “He never says, ‘We’re trying to win the league, we’re going to win the league’.

    “He doesn’t really speak about it. It’s more, ‘We’re going to get the most out of ourselves, we’re going to squeeze every drop of potential’.

    “There will be twists and turns, no matter what.”

    Liverpool are hoping for an almighty change in fortunes at Atalanta on Thursday, when the second leg could see Alexander-Arnold make his first start since February 10.

    Every one of his appearances for his boyhood club have come under Klopp, to whom the homegrown star is eternally grateful.

    “Incredible, really,” Alexander-Arnold said. “I owe everything to him, really, as a player.

    “I was thinking about this recently. The only thing you can ever ask for as a young player is opportunity.

    “All you can do is hope that when you get to 18, 19, you’ve got a manager that’s willing to give you a chance and I was fortunate enough to have that.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Trent Alexander-Arnold (@trentarnold66)

    “Not only that, he put his arm round me and guided me through it, through the ups and downs, the winning of stuff, losing things.

    “Good games, bad games, because your first bad game you think you’re never going to kick a ball again. You think, ‘I’m done’.”

    Alexander-Arnold is expecting it to feel “weird” returning to pre-season without Klopp, although he likes the idea of a “new challenge” under an as yet undetermined new boss.

    The 25-year-old will likely return late to Liverpool given England are among the favourites for Euro 2024, at which Gareth Southgate has a midfield role in mind for him.

    Asked whether he sees himself as a midfielder or a right-back, Alexander-Arnold said: “I’d probably say I still see myself as a right-back.

    “I see myself as someone who can probably play in both positions if needed.

    “But I think my focus, until I’m told otherwise by the gaffer, is that I’m still a right-back.

    “I come inside and I play inside when we have the got ball, but essentially, when you write the team-sheet, I am a right-back.”

  • Philippe Clement wants a reaction from Rangers after Ross County ‘off-day’ Philippe Clement wants a reaction from Rangers after Ross County ‘off-day’

    Philippe Clement has put Rangers’ historic defeat to Ross County down to an “off-day” that even the best teams in the world experience as he looks for a reaction against Dundee on Wednesday night.

    County’s 3-2 cinch Premiership victory on Sunday was the Dingwall club’s first win over Rangers in 25 attempts and dented the Light Blues’ title hopes.

    Rangers are four points behind Celtic, with their game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park getting the green light to go ahead after two previous postponements due to an unplayable pitch.

    Clement’s side have won just two in seven and taken four points from their last 12 but the Belgian was keen to isolate the County display as the first of its kind with deficiencies in structure, organisation and basics since he took over in October and insists such days happen at every club, including all-conquering Manchester City.

    “They were very disappointed in themselves and that is a positive thing,” said Clement, who revealed left-back Ridvan Yilmaz remains out along with midfielder Mohamed Diomande, while defender Leon Balogun is a doubt with illness.

    “I had some clear words after the game and then we had a good debriefing on what went wrong – individually and collectively – and how we can make it better.

    “It was an off-day.

    “It is the first time in six months that I have seen my team like that and I was disappointed. But I think every manager has moments like that, even with teams that win amazing things.

    “I have been watching the series of Man City’s treble last year and I saw quite a few of those moments.

    “It doesn’t mean that I want to see it back on Wednesday of course, but it is part of the game.

    “It’s not something that you want, not the players or manager, fans.

    “But the most important thing is how you react and I have a good feeling about that, that I will see the real face of my team tomorrow.

    “Motherwell (lost 2-1) was a freak accident, we could have won 6-1, we had a lot of chances but it wasn’t our lucky day.

    “The Celtic game (3-3) was a big game, we didn’t start well but we had a great reaction and we played a really good second half and I think it was a deserved draw.

    “But this one on Sunday was a bad one, that is true, so we have to react tomorrow.

    “Sometimes you need a knock on your head to remind you what you need to do to be strong.”

    Clement was pleased to see that the match between Dundee and Rangers is set to go ahead at the third time of asking after a pitch inspection at Dens Park.

    Rangers have already made the trip to the Scot Foam Stadium twice – on March 17 and April 10 – only for the pitch to be deemed unplayable, and contingency plans had been drawn up for the game to be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park if the pitch failed its latest inspection.

    He said: “People who decided to play at Dens Park are sure that there will be a game tomorrow and that is a very positive thing.

    “They know the weather forecast probably and they are certain that the pitch will cope with that.

    “So it’s good for us to know where we will play and people from Dundee and Rangers are happy that we can finally play the game.”

  • Chance to do treble again an ‘inspiration and motivation’ – Bernardo Silva Chance to do treble again an ‘inspiration and motivation’ – Bernardo Silva

    Bernardo Silva is motivated by the prospect of making history as Manchester City chase an unprecedented second successive treble.

    City have put themselves in a strong position to retain the three trophies they won in glorious fashion last year after taking control of the Premier League title race at the weekend.

    Pep Guardiola’s side are now two points clear of rivals Arsenal and Liverpool with six games remaining.

    Their attention now switches to the Champions League and the second leg of a quarter-final tie against Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday that will begin with the aggregate score at 3-3. They then head to Wembley on Saturday for an FA Cup semi-final date with Chelsea.

    Midfielder Silva said of City’s triple target: “Of course it’s obviously (an) inspiration and motivation.

    “We want to create that legacy and win another Premier League, to do six in seven years and four in a row, and we want to win the Champions League, to do two in a row, that only Madrid did (with) three in a row. No-one else has won consecutive Champions Leagues, if I am not mistaken.

    “If we can win two trebles in a row, that no-one did, that would be legacy. That is definitely motivation.

    “It’s very difficult as in one week we could be out of all the competitions, but we are fighting for it and going to do everything in our power to be, each day, a step closer that goal.”

    Manager Pep Guardiola, who was speaking alongside Silva at a press conference, was more circumspect in detailing his ambitions but made clear his team will be giving everything to achieve the maximum.

    He said: “I am not going to say don’t feel this to my players when they feel this, but I have a different opinion. We are far away from those hypothetical dreams.

    “When we are in the final of the FA Cup, and (have) two or three games (to go in the Premier League) with an advantage, and in the final of the Champions League, I will start to think about that. But not before a game against Real Madrid.

    “We have a lot of difficult games. It is one game at a time and it is Real Madrid tomorrow. I started to think of the treble last season when we beat (Manchester) United in the FA Cup final.

    “The success for me this season is that we are still there, in this position four or five weeks away, still in contention. It’s incredible.

    “Now, extend the chance one more week, then one more week. This is what we try to do tomorrow and Saturday and the next games.”

    Guardiola, as a former Barcelona captain and manager, has had a fierce rivalry with Real Madrid throughout his career.

    This is the third successive year his City side have played Real in the Champions League knockout stages, with the Spanish side going through in 2022 but the Premier League outfit prevailing a year ago.

    And after last week’s pulsating draw in the Bernabeu Stadium, Guardiola is relishing another contest against Carlo Ancelotti’s team.

    Guardiola said: “Real Madrid in this competition is always a big game. It’s been special for me as a player and manager, but that doesn’t count. What counts is what we have to do to win tomorrow.

    “I don’t fear them but I respect them a lot.”

    City hope to have Kyle Walker back after five games out with a hamstring injury.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.