Christian Pulisic's last-minute goal secured a 1-0 win over West Ham despite Chelsea's lacklustre display at Stamford Bridge.

Thomas Tuchel's team had lost their previous two home matches in the league and that poor form looked set to continue when Jorginho's awful 87th-minute penalty was saved.

Yet West Ham had been reduced to 10 men when Craig Dawson fouled Romelu Lukaku for that spot-kick, and Chelsea made their numerical advantage count in the final minute of normal time.

Pulisic was the hero, slotting in from Marcos Alonso's cross to get Chelsea back to winning ways at home.

Arsenal's project under Mikel Arteta has taken positive steps this season, but the need for a striker remains.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette seemingly on the way out at the end of the season, that need could become even more pertinent.

If the Gunners achieve qualification for the Champions League however, Tammy Abraham's return to the Premier League could be on the cards.


TOP STORY – ARSENAL TO GO AFTER ABRAHAM

Arsenal are showing renewed interest in Tammy Abraham and are looking to bring him to the Emirates Stadium if they qualify for the Champions League, according to Star Sunday.

Mikel Arteta was very keen to sign the 24-year-old Abraham at the start of the season, before he left for Roma, who were able to guarantee a healthy salary and first-team football along with the chance to join Jose Mourinho.

Abraham has enjoyed a stellar first season in Serie A, contributing 15 goals and four assists in 33 league appearances.

While Chelsea can activate a buy-back clause at the end of the season, the Gunners would be willing to offer £50million (€59.5m) to secure Abraham's transfer.  


ROUND-UP

- West Ham have joined the race for Torino and Italy striker Andrea Belotti, whose contract expires at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.

- Real Madrid are in best position to sign German international Antonio Rudiger, who will leave Chelsea at the end of the season, Goal reports.

- Frenkie de Jong has been linked with a move to Manchester United, where he would reunite with incoming coach Erik ten Hag, per the Manchester Evening News.

- Ten Hag is also reportedly keen on signing Christian Eriksen, whose six-month deal with Brentford expires at the end of the season, according to Star Sunday.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has refused suggestions that a lack of effort has hampered the Blues at Stamford Bridge, although he admits he is struggling to explain their poor home form.

Having fallen to a 4-2 home defeat against Arsenal on Wednesday, Tuchel's men have lost three consecutive games at Stamford Bridge after a 4-1 Premier League loss to Brentford and a 3-1 Champions League quarter-final reverse to Real Madrid earlier this month.

Chelsea host West Ham on Sunday, looking to solidify their grasp on third place in the Premier League after losing just one of their last 15 home league games against the Irons (10 wins, four draws).

Although unsure as to what was causing the Blues' Stamford Bridge woes, Tuchel refused suggestions that a lack of effort was to blame.

The 48-year-old also insisted it was normal for elite players to feel less "tension" during regular league games than in European knockout games, having watched the Blues make multiple defensive errors in their defeat to the Gunners.

"It comes back to me because I should push them and make them alert," Tuchel said. "It's human to be tired, human to be more alert in a knockout game than a normal match. Sometimes it's also good, the foundation to be able to play 60 games.

"I remember at Mainz [Tuchel's first senior management role] with one game a week, every game was like a cup final. On a Saturday, we gave 150 per cent physically but also mentally, the players were drained until Tuesday. 

"Once I stepped into being coach at Borussia Dortmund, I saw that players gave everything physically on a normal match but mentally it was not the same stress level as for players at Mainz. They were capable of playing more games.

"It's a thin line in judging – that's why lazy is the wrong word. But it's okay to feel less tension in a normal match in the Premier League and a home match than if you go to the Bernabeu. 

"It's normal because it is maybe less tension, less excitement, less pressure. But it cannot lead to being less alert. This can never happen.

"I don't know what it is [causing Chelsea's poor home form]. If it was just the one thing, we would switch dressing rooms or take another hotel or something like this.

"But that would maybe be more superstition than anything else. I have no solution, but it's also not the level that we want to produce in home games."

Chelsea have secured 26 points from a possible 45 in their 15 home Premier League games this season (seven wins, five draws, three defeats). Away from Stamford Bridge, Tuchel's team have taken 36 points from 16 games (11 wins, three draws, two losses).

The Blues' attempts to rectify their poor home displays could be buoyed, however, by the poor travelling record of Sunday's visitors, with West Ham failing to win a Premier League game on their travels since beating Crystal Palace on January 1, recording one draw and four defeats on the road since then.

Thomas Tuchel admits he has been left "very tired" by Chelsea's hectic programme and puzzled by their dreadful form at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues head coach said the demands since the international break have put him under strain, and he described Chelsea's form as "fragile".

While Tuchel appreciates managing the busy run of games is all part of the job, he is concerned by the rapidly rising number of costly individual errors that have crept into his team's performances.

Since Chelsea's players returned from national duty at the end of March, they have done well on their travels but suffered three painful home defeats.

They have lost 4-1 to Brentford and 4-2 to Arsenal at home in the Premier League, as well as going down 3-1 to Real Madrid, while a 6-0 win at Southampton provided relief before Chelsea were 3-2 victors after extra time against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

That result ended Chelsea's Champions League campaign as they exited 5-4 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, but a 2-0 win at Wembley against Crystal Palace has set up an FA Cup final clash with Liverpool.

Consistency is painfully lacking, and with off-field issues an inevitable distraction as the club seeks new ownership, it is little wonder Tuchel feels a touch weary.

"I felt very tired after Real Madrid and after the turnaround: Southampton away, Real Madrid away, and another away game at Wembley," Tuchel said.

"It was tiring, and I felt it and asked myself what signals should I give."

Tuchel, whose team tackle West Ham on Sunday, said he does not "feel the same level of excitement before every match", but stressed that did not mean less effort goes into preparation.

He pointed to Chelsea's recent defensive record as an area of considerable concern.

"We have a bit of a bad mix of big individual mistakes and a bit of lack of quality in the one-on-one defensive attitude and behaviour in the box and around the box," Tuchel said.

"We get punished for it heavily. I'm not so sure I have an explanation why. The expected goals we conceded since the national break is a bit higher than normal.

"It's about tactics, high pressing, deep pressing, how chances are created, to keep the expected goals as low as possible."

Since the international break, Chelsea have conceded 13 times from an expected goals against (xGA) tally of 8.92.

This does not follow the pattern of their season as a whole. Including all competitions, they have an xGA of 61.43 but have conceded only 45 times.

Of the seven errors they have made leading to a goal in this campaign, four of those have come in the last three weeks.

"Most of the time in football it's a mixture of circumstances and bad luck, and the opponent making the very most of what we offer them," Tuchel said.

"We lack the real determination and attitude on the one-on-one in the box to maybe keep the actual goals under the expected goals."

Chelsea will put their home form up for scrutiny again as the Hammers visit this weekend. Tuchel's team have just seven wins from 15 Premier League home assignments this season, the fewest victories of all sides in the top seven.

Away from home, only Manchester City (12) have won more games than Chelsea (11) in the Premier League.

Tuchel joked that Chelsea could perhaps switch dressing rooms at home or choose another hotel before home games, if they were a superstitious team.

"I have no solution, but this is not the level we hope to produce in home games," he said. "It's a bit fragile at the moment, I have to say. It can happen that a feeling creeps in that you don't want to have in a home game.

"We have a row of three home games with very similar results that we absolutely don't like. It's now the job to convince the players to keep on going, supporters to keep on pushing, and hang on in positively. Don't get superstitious now and don't believe in things that are not there."

One of world football's hottest commodities, Erling Haaland, is reportedly set to join Manchester City in the next transfer window after agreeing to personal terms.

It has long been understood that Haaland would likely not return to Borussia Dortmund for another season, with the Bundesliga club entertaining offers from the world's biggest clubs.

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain were considered Manchester City's biggest competition for the Norway forward's signature, but a massive contract, recent success and close personal ties to his father seem to have been the deciding factors.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND CHOOSES MANCHESTER CITY

The Daily Mail is reporting Haaland has agreed to a deal with Manchester City that will make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League at £500,000 per week.

With terms agreed, City are expected to trigger Haaland's £62.2million (€75m) release clause and sign him to a five-year deal, which could be announced in the next week.

His father, Alf-Inge Haaland, played at Manchester City from 2000-2003 and is said to have been "heavily involved in the negotiations".

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Goal, Real Madrid did not want to unsettle their dressing room by signing Haaland and making him the highest-paid player.

– Fichajes is reporting Real Madrid's attention will turn to Manchester United's Edinson Cavani now Haaland is out of the picture, while The Mirror claims Madrid have strong interest in Chelsea right-back Reece James.

Liverpool target Serge Gnabry is discussing a contract extension with Bayern Munich, according to Goal.

West Ham are hoping to add Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, with the England international likely to leave the club if they are relegated, per the Daily Mail.

Arsenal are in the box seat to land Marco Asensio from Real Madrid after Milan rejected his wage demands, reports CalcioMercato.

Declan Rice has revealed how the antics of Moussa Dembele and a post from Lyon's social media team inspired West Ham to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Prior to Thursday night's rematch between the sides, footage had circulated of Dembele winking to team-mates after appearing to go down easily to earn Aaron Cresswell a soft first-leg red card.

That decision contributed to the tie being finally poised at 1-1 going into the second leg in France; it also perhaps led to some overconfidence from the hosts.

As much could be seen in a reply from Lyon's official English language account on Twitter to the question of which teams looked best placed to progress this week.

It read: "Are you really asking like there's a chance we don't go through?"

Speaking after a 3-0 win saw the Hammers ease through to the last four, Rice confirmed that both perceived slights had ultimately served as motivation.

He told BT Sport: "There were a few incentives for us to go out there and win.

"Obviously, Dembele winking in the first leg at the camera, and then their Twitter admin saying they don't see how they're not going to get through.

"Those things come back to bite you. We stayed quiet, put in a performance, and now West Ham are in the semis. What more could we want?"

Lyon's belief no doubt stemmed from the knowledge they would have a raucous home crowd cheering them on in the return leg.

However, according to Rice, the atmosphere actually pushed the visitors to play their best game.

England international Rice said: "I feel like if you can't get up for these games then you shouldn't be playing football. The roar from the warm-up was spine-tingling, really. It just really gives you that fire in your stomach to go out and perform.

"[It feels] special, very, very special. We knew it was a tough place to come, we knew they had top individual quality.

"But with what we had on the pitch, our attacking players, and what we saw in the first game in terms of them defensively, we knew we could score goals tonight. For all the fans, it's just such a great night."

Manager David Moyes used his post-match interview to reflect on his team's short journey from relegation battlers to European silverware hopefuls.

Moyes said: "We've got a really good group of lads, I'm really lucky. They've been great in the time we've been here. We were trying to avoid relegation and now we're talking about getting to the semi-final of a European tournament, it's fabulous. I think it's been huge what we've done in two years.

"We've not won any trophies yet, we're trying to compete and qualify for European football again if we can.

"But I think to be getting to the latter stages and beating Sevilla and now Lyon - big clubs, big teams who are used to European football...

"You don't win anything tonight, but it was a big night for us. To come away and win 3-0 in Europe - a really, really good result."

West Ham cruised into a first European semi-final in 46 years as they beat Lyon 3-0 in the Europa League.

Goals from Craig Dawson, Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen secured a surprisingly comfortable 4-1 aggregate success in France, setting up a last-four meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Germans were, in fact, the opposition the last time the Hammers reached this stage of continental competition - that tie coming en route to defeat in the final of the 1976 edition of the Cup Winners' Cup.

But there will be hopes of going one better in Europe over four decades on after such a convincing win against elite opposition.

With Lyon supporters creating an intimidating atmosphere pre-match, West Ham wasted little time in showing they would not be cowed, Pablo Fornals bursting in behind to shoot wide with just 15 seconds on the clock.

But Lyon responded well, Karl Toko Ekambi smashing the post after quick feet in the box before Houssem Aouar saw a shot blocked on the line. 

The hosts were also controlling possession, and so when Ekambi kneed a Malo Gusto cross goalward soon after, it felt like the opener was coming.

Unfortunately for Lyon, it was at the other end, with sheer desire from Dawson allowing him to beat all others to a near-post Fornals corner and head home.

Not content to sit on their lead, West Ham then doubled the advantage before the break as a low Rice shot from the edge of the box found the back of the net after taking a nick off Castello Lukeba.

That late blow prompted Peter Bosz to roll the dice, Lucas Paqueta and Mateus Tete coming on at half-time to replace Tanguy Ndombele and Romain Faivre.

But there was to be no quick fix, with Bowen breaking free just three minutes after the restart and producing a cool right-footed finish to all but settle the tie.

Lyon did not stop trying to make things interesting from there on in, their best chance seeing Gusto force Alphonse Areola to push a powerful shot around the post.

But a first failure to trouble the scoresheet at home in the Europa League since the 2013-14 season ultimately ensured that West Ham had little trouble seeing out the win. 

 

What does it mean? West Ham deserve to dream

With the tie delicately poised at 1-1 and Lyon sure to be roared on by an enthusiastic home crowd, this game felt like a major test of an inexperienced West Ham side's European credentials.

But the ease with which they passed it can only provide a major boost to belief among David Moyes' squad that something special is in the offing this season.

Ndombele struggles

After failing to pull up any trees during his time in the Premier League, Ndombele might have hoped to make a point with his performance against English opposition here.

But the midfielder won just 40 per cent of his five duels and surrendered possession on five occasions before being hooked at half-time.

Fornals a creative star

It feels unfair to highlight any one player after West Ham performed so impressively from front to back against top-level opposition.

However, Fornals' influence on both sides of the ball can be fairly summed up by his team-high 66 touches, two assists, and four interceptions.

What's next?

West Ham return to Premier League action on Sunday when they host struggling Burnley. Lyon, meanwhile, face Bordeaux at home on the same day.

After a cardiac episode at Euro 2020, there were questions about whether Christian Eriksen would ever be able to play football again, let alone at the highest level.

But less than a year after being released from his contract at Inter, the Denmark international is a hot commodity once again.

Since signing with Brentford on a six-month deal, Eriksen has displayed the quality that saw him net 69 goals over six and a half seasons for Tottenham, and now Premier League teams are circling.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE WANT ERIKSEN AS FLAGSHIP SIGNING

Tottenham have been linked with Eriksen in a potential reunion in the upcoming transfer window, but they are reportedly going to have to contend with Newcastle United, who wish to make him a "flagship" signing, per the Northern Echo.

Being out of contract, Eriksen will have his pick of potential suitors, yet Newcastle will likely have deep enough pockets to contend with anyone serious about adding the midfielder.

Since his return from the bench against Newcastle, Brentford have won all four Premier League matches in which Eriksen has played 90 minutes, including a 4-1 away win at Chelsea, where he scored.

 

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider is reporting Mohamed Salah is close to signing an extension with Liverpool that will pay him £400,000 per week.

West Ham have entered the race for Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, per Calciomercato.

– 90min is reporting Edinson Cavani may be Manchester United's "secret weapon" in their quest to sign fellow Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez from Benfica in the upcoming transfer window.

Cardiff City and Tottenham are joint-favourites to land the services of Wales international Gareth Bale when his contract with Real Madrid expires in June, per Wales Online.

– According to the Chronicle, both Arsenal and Newcastle are heavily linked with Lyon midfielder Lucas Paqueta, who is expected to fetch a price of around £58million.

Manchester City and Liverpool produced a pulsating top-of-the-table clash on another enthralling day of Premier League action on Sunday.

The top two played out a hugely entertaining 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium to ensure the title race remains delicately poised with seven games remaining, City's one-point lead intact for now.

Elsewhere, Brentford beat London rivals West Ham, while there were wins for Leicester City and Norwich City over Crystal Palace and Burnley respectively.

Stats Perform takes a look at some key Opta facts from the day's games.
 

Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool: Guardiola's men miss chance to pull clear of rivals

The hosts started at a breathless pace and went ahead early on thanks to Kevin De Bruyne's 11th Premier League goal of the season. The Belgium international has only once scored more in a single top-flight campaign (13 in 2019-20).

Diogo Jota pulled Liverpool level before Gabriel Jesus restored City's advantage, and both players maintained their records of never losing in a Premier League game when they have scored. Jota is unbeaten in 33 matches (W27 D6) and Jesus in 45 (W42 D3), with only James Milner (54 games) and Darius Vassell (46) scoring in more without losing in Premier League history.

Sadio Mane scored just 46 seconds into the second half to secure a point for the Reds. It was the first time they had scored in the opening minute of the second half in a league game since January 2019 (Mohamed Salah vs Crystal Palace) and the first time City had conceded in the 46th minute in a Premier League game since November 2004 vs Norwich City.

The result means Liverpool are now winless in their last five Premier League matches against City (D3 L2), their joint-longest run without a victory against them along with a five-game run between November 2011 and December 2013.

Brentford 2-0 West Ham: Hammers stung by Bees

This win means Brentford have recorded a league double over West Ham for only the second time, last doing so in 1953-54 when both sides were in the second tier.

Bryan Mbeumo opened the scoring and the forward has now found the net in both Premier League games against West Ham this season. He is only the second Brentford player ever to score both home and away against the Hammers in the same league campaign, after Jack Holliday in 1933-34.

Ivan Toney added a second to take his tally to eight goals from 32 shots in the Premier League in 2022, after netting just four times from 36 attempts prior to the new year. Indeed, only Son Heung-min (nine) has scored more top-flight goals since the turn of the new year than the Brentford striker.

West Ham, meanwhile, have lost seven of their last 11 away Premier League games (W2 D2), which is one more away defeat than they suffered last season.

The Hammers have suffered three consecutive away defeats for the first time since a seven-game run between December 2019 and June 2020.

Leicester City 2-1 Crystal Palace: Foxes too strong for Vieira's men

Leicester remain unbeaten in their last six Premier League games against Palace (W4 D2), having lost four on the bounce against the Eagles in the top-flight before this run.

Ademola Lookman got them on their way with his fifth league goal of the season, equalling his best tally in a domestic campaign for a side in Europe's big five leagues (also five in 2017-18 with RB Leipzig).

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall then doubled their advantage with a superb strike after being teed up by James Maddison.

England international Maddison, who has been involved in more Premier League goals than any other Leicester player this season (eight goals, five assists), became just the fourth player to register 20-plus goals and 20-plus assists for the Foxes in the Premier League, after Muzzy Izzet, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.

Patrick Vieira's Palace got one back through Wilfried Zaha, who has scored more Premier League goals against Leicester than he has versus any other side in the competition (seven), yet they were unable to find an equaliser.

Norwich City 2-0 Burnley: Canaries boost survival hopes

Norwich injected life into their Premier League survival bid with a comfortable win over fellow strugglers Burnley.

Pierre Lees-Melou opened the scoring with his first Premier League goal for the Canaries in his 26th appearance in the competition, becoming the first French player to score for the club in the English top flight.

Teemu Pukki made sure of the three points with his 20th Premier League goal, moving him ahead of Mark Robins (19) as the club's third top scorer in the competition after Chris Sutton (33) and Grant Holt (23).

The result meant Dean Smith's side have gone unbeaten home and away against a Premier League opponent for just the second time this season (D1 W1).

Burnley, meanwhile, are winless in their last four Premier League games against teams starting the day bottom of the table (D1 L3).

Jesse Lingard's future with Manchester United is unclear.

The 29-year-old England international is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lingard had a brilliant loan spell at West Ham United last season but has remained out of favour at Old Trafford this term.

 

TOP STORY – ITALIAN OPTIONS FOR LINGARD

Lingard could reunite with Jose Mourinho at Roma, with the Italian club joining the race for the forward, according to the Mirror.

Lingard is being pursued by West Ham following his impressive loan spell, while Newcastle United are also interested in the 29-year-old.

Serie A clubs Milan and Juventus also have an interest in Lingard, with a move to Italy offering a lucrative alternative option.

English pair Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham have enjoyed productive spells at Roma, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is on loan from Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are moving on from their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe , who appears set to stay with Paris Saint-Germain, by turning their attention to landing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, claims the Mirror.

- Inter will make a move to sign Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea, following his August exit from the Italian champions, reports Football Insider. Lukaku previously expressed his regret at leaving Inter.

- The Sun claims that Arsenal and Tottenham will battle to sign Leicester City midfielder James Maddison who is rated at £60million and could be put up for sale.

- Danny Ings could be on his way out of Aston Villa as manager Steven Gerrard plans a clear-out, according to the Mirror.

- CBS Sports claims Liverpool and West Ham are no longer interested in Leicester City's Youri Tielemans, leaving the door open for Manchester United to land the midfielder.

- Juventus are circling for Chelsea midfielder Jorginho , reports Tutto Mercato.

After a number of false dawns since Alex Ferguson's retirement from coaching, Manchester United are reportedly looking to make a splash with Erik ten Hag.

West Ham's Declan Rice has emerged as one of Europe's premier defensive midfielders and is seen as a key piece in a potential rebuild.

According to reports, this off-season might be the time West Ham and Rice's representatives look to cash in.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED TO MAKE RECORD PLAY FOR RICE

Manchester United are ready to break their transfer record and make him a marquee signing under new boss Erik ten Hag, according to 90Min.

It is understood West Ham made an offer to extend Rice's contract last year, but ultimately, the Hammers would be unable to compete with likely wage offers elsewhere.

For Rice, United appear willing to break their transfer record set in 2016 for Paul Pogba, a midfielder who has never really found a set position or provided a return on sizeable investment.

They would face stiff competition from Manchester City and Chelsea, who are also keen on the 23-year-old England international.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are preparing a deal to sign Leeds United and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, per the Manchester Evening News.

Brazil are willing to offer Manchester City manager Josep Guardiola a substantial salary to follow on from Tite as the country's national team manager, according to Marca.

Everton boss Frank Lampard has the confidence of club owner Farhad Moshiri and the board, despite the Toffees' relegation battle, the Daily Mail reports.

– The Athletic has reported RB Leipzig and Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol has emerged as a target for Tottenham .

Tanguy Ndombele was on target as Lyon held 10-man West Ham United to a 1-1 draw in their Europa League quarter-final first leg.

Ndombele – on loan from Tottenham – opened his account for the Ligue 1 side; equalising midway through the second half at the London Stadium on Thursday.

Jarrod Bowen had broken the deadlock early in the second half as David Moyes' side capitalised on sloppy defending by the visitors.

The Hammers played the entire second period with 10 men after Aaron Cresswell was controversially shown a straight red card just before the break.

Unbeaten in six European matches against English opposition, including their elimination of Manchester City in the 2019-20 Champions League quarter-finals, Lyon had the first sight on goal after 10 minutes.

The in-form Moussa Dembele lost Declan Rice at the near post, but was unable to direct Lucas Paqueta's inviting cross towards the target.

Said Benrahma latched onto Craig Dawson's long ball over the top of the defence at the other end before he was denied by Antony Lopes from a tight angle.

The Hammers suffered a big blow when they were reduced to 10 men just before half-time; Cresswell shown a straight red card after dragging back Dembele when he was deemed to be the last defender.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the hosts took the lead seven minutes after the restart. Pablo Fornals won possession high up the field and after a couple of fortunate ricochets, Bowen's goal=bound effort deflected up and over Lopes via Jerome Boateng.

Lyon responded 14 minutes later as Ndombele tucked away after the Hammers failed to deal with Tete’s initial cross – leaving the tie finely poised heading into the second leg at the Groupama Stadium next week.

Declan Rice believes a green jacket would be an ideal complement to claret and blue for West Ham fans Billy Horschel and Francesco Molinari.

England and West Ham footballer Rice sent the loyal Hammers a message of good luck on Thursday, with the Masters getting under way at Augusta National.

Neither Horschel nor Molinari hail from West Ham's traditional east London catchment area, but both have made public declarations of love for the Premier League club.

Horschel, a 35-year-old American, became a West Ham supporter during his days in college and used a golf bag bearing club colours and the team's crest during last year's Open Championship.

Molinari first began following West Ham in 2009 when his friend and fellow Italian Gianfranco Zola was manager of the team.

Rice said, in a message posted on West Ham's Twitter page: "Billy, Francesco, all the best this week in the Masters.

"Me and the boys will be rooting for you. Hopefully one of you can get the green jacket. All the best. See you soon."

Horschel finished tied for second at the recent Arnold Palmer Invitational and is up to 13th in the world rankings. He has only ever spent one week higher on that list, when he briefly held down number 12 in 2014, and headed into the Masters with high hopes, looking to improve on his best performance of tied-17th in the 2016 tournament.

He was due off in a starry afternoon group alongside Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, both two-time major winners.

Molinari, the 2018 Open champion, has struggled for results of late and was among the early starters on day one, joining 1987 Masters winner Larry Mize and Austria's Sepp Straka in the third group out.

West Ham had a major assignment of their own to look forward to on Thursday, tackling Lyon in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Christian Eriksen has been in sparkling form since returning to action with Brentford following his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.

Inter allowed Eriksen to end his contract after the Denmark international was unable to play in Serie A after having a cardiac device implant fitted, allowing the Bees to sign him on a six-month deal.

Eriksen has since scored for both club and country, and his form has some familiar faces swirling.

 

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM WANT ERISKEN REUNION

With his return to health, and some form, Tottenham want to bring Eriksen back to the club where he made a name for himself in England.

Eriksen departed from Ajax in 2013, and would spend seven seasons with Spurs, scoring 69 goals in 305 appearances, before signing with Antonio Conte's Inter in Serie A.

As luck would have it, Conte is now the man in charge at Tottenham, and The Daily Mail is reporting he would like to bring Eriksen back on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of this season.

Spurs will have some competition, though, as it is also reported that Manchester United will be seeking the Dane's services.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Liverpool Echo is reporting that Jurgen Klopp is "happy" with the fact that Mohamed Salah and "decisive parties" are talking to each other regarding a contract extension at Liverpool.

– If Salah was to leave the club, FourFourTwo is reporting that Liverpool will explore replacing him with Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe – while according to RMC Sport, a third "mystery team" has entered the race for Mbappe, with Real Madrid also circling.

– Real Madrid will be offering out Eden Hazard on loan for the 2022-23 season, according to AS.

– Union Berlin's Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi will fetch a price of £25million if Newcastle, West Ham or Southampton want to prise him away, per Bild.

– The Daily Mirror is reporting that Newcastle could offer England midfielder Kalvin Phillips a contract worth £120,000 per week to lure him away from Leeds United.

Everton's players are in "dreamland" and the squad are suffering from a significant lack of leadership, says Tim Howard.

Frank Lampard's team lost again on the road on Sunday, going down 2-1 to West Ham in another blow to their chances of staying up.

Just three points separate Everton from the bottom three, and the Toffees still have to face fellow strugglers Burnley and Watford away from home, where they have taken just six points all season.

Since the start of October, Everton have won the fewest points in the top flight (12) and are the only side in the division to not win an away game in that timeframe (P11 D2 L9), while Lampard is the club's first manager in the Premier League era to lose his first four away matches in charge of the club in the competition.

Mason Holgate's deflected strike restored parity at the London Stadium after Aaron Cresswell's free-kick put West Ham ahead, yet Michael Keane and Alex Iwobi then combined to undo Everton's hard work.

Michail Antonio pounced on the error and Jarrod Bowen scored from the resulting rebound. Keane – captain of Everton in the absence of Seamus Coleman – later received a second yellow card for a lunge on striker Antonio.

Howard, who played under current West Ham manager David Moyes during a nine-year stint at Goodison Park, was angered by what he saw from Everton's players at full-time.

"I don't see a leader on this team. I see smiles. I see them losing again and I see smiles after the whistle," said Howard, who is a pundit on the USA Network.

"I see no urgency, no one running to get the ball, chasing it, kicking up the pitch. It's as if they're in dreamland that they're not in this thing.

"[There is] lack of leadership. Three red cards in the last three games. You have to basically say to each other, 'We can't even win a game with 11 players, don't you dare get sent off', and it just keeps happening."

Everton have had a player sent off in each of their last three Premier League games, matching a record in the competition for successive matches by a team with a player having been shown red. It had previously occurred on 10 occasions.

Lampard was only given his marching orders three times across his entire Premier League playing career, and Everton are the first Premier League side to have a player see red in three games in a row since Watford in December 2017.

Everton have made eight errors leading to goals in the Premier League, at least three more than any other team this season, and Howard questioned why Keane – who picked up his first booking for fouling Antonio before half-time – was even kept on the pitch by Lampard.

"You have to protect your team, knowing that it was a rash challenge, he hasn't been in the best of form," Howard said.

"He's giving you the right opportunity to say, 'Sorry Michael, you're coming off, I have to put somebody on who I know can finish the game'."

While West Ham boosted their hopes of pushing for the Champions League, Everton stay 17th, with that huge Burnley clash at Turf Moor next up on Wednesday.

Everton lost Donny van de Beek to injury in the warm-up, with Lampard confirming the on-loan midfielder would be assessed before the trip to face the Clarets.

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