EPL

BREAKING NEWS: Premier League clubs approve return to contact training

By Sports Desk May 27, 2020

Premier League clubs have unanimously agreed to resume contact training in groups.

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  • Mourinho reaches 200th Premier League win Mourinho reaches 200th Premier League win

    Jose Mourinho recorded his 200th Premier League win as a manager with Tottenham's 1-0 victory over Everton.

    A Michael Keane own goal proved enough for Spurs to claim triumph on Monday despite an uninspiring display.

    Spurs produced little that will live long in the memory as Mourinho became just the fifth Premier League manager to reach the 200 mark.

    The Portuguese achieved the feat in 326 games in the division, with only Manchester United legend Alex Ferguson (322) getting to that tally in fewer matches.

    Mourinho won 140 top-flight games across two spells at Chelsea, with another 50 coming at United and this being his 10th league win with Spurs.

  • Arsenal talking to Real Madrid over Ceballos deal Arsenal talking to Real Madrid over Ceballos deal

    Arsenal are in talks over making Dani Ceballos' loan switch from Real Madrid permanent.

    The 23-year-old Spain midfielder had his season interrupted by a hamstring injury but has now started seven of the previous eight Premier League games and is thriving under Mikel Arteta.

    The Gunners are back in action against third-placed Leicester City on Tuesday, where building on their 2-0 weekend triumph at Wolves is vital in terms of maintaining their slim hopes of Champions League qualification.

    A strong finish could also make Emirates Stadium a more attractive long-term home for Ceballos.

    "Yeah, we are talking to [Real Madrid]," Arteta said.

    "Obviously we don't own the player, it is not in our hands. We need to have a communication and see what we can do."

    Ceballos' last-gasp winner against Sheffield United set up an FA Cup semi-final showdown with holders Manchester City and Arteta is impressed by the player's enthusiasm as much as his quality.

    "I'm really happy with him the way he is evolving. And, as well, I love how much he likes to play football, the passion that he puts in every training session and in every game," he added.

    "You have to see his celebrations. Whether he's on the pitch or on the bench, the way he celebrates the goals. He puts his life into it.

    "I'm really happy with him. I think he is evolving the right way and becoming a really important player for us."

    Such satisfaction applies across the board for Arteta, with Arsenal stringing together three consecutive Premier League victories since returning from lockdown with damaging losses at City and Brighton and Hove Albion.

    "I think the players are trying their maximum, the effort they put into every press, every duel. It's tough," he said.

    "Even at Brighton, where I was a little bit more critical, I never criticised the effort or the determination that they put in on the pitch; just some focus on the way that we competed in certain moments in the game to give chances to the opponent.

    "I am delighted with how the team is acting, how active they are, how alive they are, how hungry they are to compete and put everything into the game."

    Matteo Guendouzi remains an exception in this regard, however.

    The midfielder has not featured since the 2-1 loss to Brighton, with Arteta calling for Guendouzi and similarly jettisoned playmaker Mesut Ozil to be "100 per cent committed to our culture".

    Asked whether the situation with the 21-year-old Guendouzi should have changed since he issued the ultimatum, Arteta replied: "I don't know. The reality is that is hasn’t so we are still where we are."

  • Lampard urges Abraham to forget contract and focus on form Lampard urges Abraham to forget contract and focus on form

    Tammy Abraham has been warned by Chelsea boss Frank Lampard to focus on his faltering form as opposed to a new contract.

    Abraham made a superb start to his breakthrough Premier League campaign, scoring 12 top-flight goals before the turn of the year, while also netting for the first time at senior international level with England.

    However, the 22-year-old has not scored since January 11 and lost his starting place upon the post-coronavirus restart.

    Timo Werner's pending arrival from RB Leipzig further complicates matters for Abraham, who is yet to agree an extension to a Chelsea deal that expires in June 2022.

    "I think Tammy's contract, we're not at a critical level with it and I'll leave that between him and the club to discuss that side of it," Lampard said ahead of Tuesday's trip to Crystal Palace.

    "I don't think it's something that's in his mind. It certainly shouldn't be.

    "What needs to be in his mind now is these games we have coming up and how much he can give us on the pitch, whether he's coming on as sub or starting games.

    "He has had a really good season. He hasn't scored so much in the second half of the season and, as a young player, it's always clear when you have those periods there's only one way out of it.

    "That's work and repetition in training – every moment you get trying to make the most out of it.

    "I just think that's where Tammy's at. The contract will hopefully look after itself between him and the club. He just needs to focus on giving us that Tammy that we had earlier in the season, who was giving defenders so much of a problem during games and scoring regularly.

    "It all came form how he was training and working through the week. You could see it in his demeanour, which meant he performed on the match days. That's what he just has to sustain all the time."

    Lampard has generally fielded more gushing enquiries over the group of Chelsea youngsters he has blooded this season.

    Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were selected alongside Abraham in Gareth Southgate's England squad, joining club team-mates Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi in winning Three Lions caps.

    USA international Christian Pulisic is the current toast of the Stamford Bridge fanbase, while Reece James and Billy Gilmour offer more compelling evidence of a bright near future in west London.

    Nevertheless, Lampard was keen to caution that troughs such as the one Abraham is enduring are inevitable sequels to the peaks for youngsters enjoying lavish praise.

    "We get very excited with young talent and young players, and rightly so," he said. "We've seen it this season and that's why I try to stay pretty grounded when I get asked a lot about the youth, particularly earlier in the season.

    "It's really hard to come into this Premier League with the level that it's at and sustain performances or be in the side all the time. There's competition, games are hard.

    "So whether its Tammy, whether it's Mason, whether it's Fikayo – they'll all have periods of real input, playing regularly, and periods when they're not so much.

    "That's something that we all have to be a bit calm with from the outside and expect that.

    "The main thing for me, working behind the scenes with them all is they understand that and understand they will have those little moments and not lose confidence – I'm always there to support them on that one.

    "But they also need to continue the work and never think they've cracked it. That's a message for all the young players, not just mine."

    Lampard added: "I've been there, I know how hard it is to break through. But once you break through it's possibly harder to sustain it and move on to the different level, which top players do – sustaining great performances for years.

    "All these younger players here potentially have it. A lot of it is in their hands at this point."

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