WHO Poll
Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
a. Top Four, Champions League here we come
b. 5th-7th Europa League is well within our grasp
c. 8th to 14th anywhere in mid table is about right
d. We're in a dog fight before a ball has been kicked and we'll do well to finish 17th or just above
e. GSB have derailed our season before a ball has been kicked, the Championship beckons

Alan 2:25 Sat Jan 2
Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Manchester United believe they can sign 20-year-old England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund for less than £100m this year. (90 Min)

New Paris St-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with two of his former Tottenham players - England midfielder Dele Alli, 24, and Inter Milan's Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen, 28. (AS)

Liverpool have changed their stance on Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri, 29, and will not allow him to leave this month. (Liverpool Echo)

Arsenal have joined a host of Premier League clubs taking an interest in Celtic's Scotland midfielder Ryan Christie, 25, and hope their former Bhoys left-back Kieran Tierney, 23, can persuade him to move to Emirates Stadium. (90 Min)

Meanwhile, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is unsure whether German midfielder Mesut Ozil will return to the squad. The 32-year-old has not played for Arsenal this season. (Sky Sports)

Manager Jose Mourinho says it would be a "big surprise" if Tottenham are busy in the January window and insists he will not ask chairman Daniel Levy for reinforcements. (Standard)

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson says he is unconcerned by renewed speculation over the future of Wilfried Zaha, with AC Milan and Paris St-Germain the latest teams to be linked with the 28-year-old Ivory Coast forward. (Mail)

Borussia Dortmund are interested in Manchester City's 18-year-old Dutch winger Jayden Braaf. (Bild, via Mail)

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has dismissed suggestions that Croatia midfielder Luka Modric 35, Spain defender Sergio Ramos, 34, and Spain utility player Lucas Vazquez, 29, will leave the club. (Team Talk)

Arsenal's English defender Rob Holding, 25, is close to agreeing a new long-term contract, ending the hopes of top-flight teams seeking to take him on loan. (Telegraph)

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has "ideas" for the January transfer window, but may have to trim his squad size through sales and loans before he is in a position to spend. (Goal)

USA utility player DeAndre Yedlin, 27, could still have a role to play at Newcastle this season - despite talk of a January exit and interest from Turkish outfit Trabzonspor. (Newcastle Chronicle)

Juventus are considering a move for Shandong Luneng's 35-year-old former Italy forward Graziano Pelle, who has been linked with West Ham.(Goal)

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti will not stand in the way of any players who want to leave this month but says there have been no approaches for 29-year-old Turkey forward Cenk Tosun. (Liverpool Echo)

Manager Nuno Espirito Santo says Wolves are "ready to make decisions" in the January transfer window. (Express & Star)

Brighton do not expect to sell any key players in January, despite the Covid-related cash crisis, but some members of the squad may leave on loan. (Argus)

Wolves are leading West Brom and Fulham in the race to sign Grimsby's 19-year-old English defender Mattie Pollock. (Football Insider)

Aston Villa defender Bjorn Engels, 26, has been linked with a return to his native Belgium this month. (Voetbal24 via Birmingham Mail)

Dundee United have submitted a bid for Airdrieonians' 20-year-old French forward Thomas Robert, who has also been linked with Rangers and Celtic. (Football Insider)

The Football Association has warned clubs that they must fulfil FA Cup third-round ties next week even if they have only 14 players Covid-free and available. (Telegraph)


Tomas Soucek leaves it late as West Ham stun lacklustre Everton

Tomas Soucek celebrates after scoring West Ham’s late winner over Everton at Goodison Park. Photograph: Peter Byrne/Reuters

Andy Hunter at Goodison Park

After a punishing schedule and a gruelling spectacle, West Ham finally received their reward. Tomas Soucek’s late winner gave David Moyes his first points at Goodison Park since leaving Everton eight years ago and the manager responded in kind by giving his weary players four days off.

Everton could have gone second with a fifth consecutive Premier League win but served up a laboured display bereft of ideas. Carlo Ancelotti claimed his side merited a point. He was being extremely kind. They deserved exactly what they got as West Ham defended expertly, grew stronger as the game went on and produced the only creativity on show.

“Going back to your old clubs is always special,” said Moyes. “I had a brilliant time here. Coming here and winning was really important. Everton are in a great moment and you cannot underestimate what it would mean to go second, and we were on the back of our third game in six days. I cannot praise the players enough. Their fitness levels and professionalism is a great credit to them.”

Covid-19 loomed large over the fixture, with Ryan Fredericks self-isolating after a positive test and West Ham preparing to clean out their training ground once again. Moyes said: “We have not been told to do that and it is not because of the one Covid player we have got. It’s because we are trying to do everything we can.”

After three matches enriched by the noise of fans, Goodison fell eerily silent once again following the Liverpool city region’s move into tier 3 on Wednesday. It was as depressing for the 2,000 hoping to start the new year by watching their team in the flesh for the first time since March as for those due to attend Monday’s postponed match against Manchester City. Though small, the attendances had played a big part in Everton’s rise up the table and their absence was reflected in a subdued performance. Everton’s players could not find inspiration from within. Ancelotti recalled Richarlison following the Brazilian’s concussion against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup and must have wondered why he bothered. Richarlison was woeful. James Rodríguez also returned as a substitute after missing the past five matches with a calf problem but could not improve a flat attacking display either. So much for the benefit of extra rest after the City postponement.

This was West Ham’s third game since Christmas Day but they never appeared at a disadvantage and were on top before Soucek’s late winner. They restricted Everton to playing neat, sharp triangles in harmless areas, stopped all service to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who looks shattered, and closed down quickly whenever Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson or Bernard received possession. The visitors were forced into a late change of goalkeeper when Lukasz Fabianski felt a recurrence of a thigh injury during the warm-up. His replacement, Darren Randolph, did not have a save to make until the 45th minute.

Everton’s first shot on target was a dipping volley from Bernard after a Sigurdsson corner had been cleared into his path but Randolph was equal to the effort. Jordan Pickford’s first save arrived even later, when Aaron Cresswell arched a free-kick towards the far corner following a foul by Ben Godfrey on Vladimir Coufal. Pablo Fornals then squandered an excellent chance to break a tedious stalemate. The midfielder was unmarked when Jarrod Bowen picked him out with a dinked cross into the area but, from only eight yards out, he miscued a header so far wide a teammate’s scream echoed around the stadium.

Both managers attempted to inject much-needed creativity and quality by introducing Rodríguez, André Gomes, Andriy Yarmolenko, Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio but only Moyes’s changes succeeded. With four minutes remaining, Yarmolenko released Soucek with an intelligent chip. Pickford parried the midfielder’s initial shot on the turn but the rebound fell to Cresswell whose low drive deflected off Yerry Mina and into the path of Soucek, who made no mistake for his fifth goal of the season.


Tomas Soucek gives David Moyes happiest of returns as West Ham pounce late against stodgy Everton

Chris Bascombe

David Moyes has enjoyed numerous satisfactory evenings since his reinstatement as West Ham’s manager, but none as bittersweet as this win.

It was a victory laced with irony, not least as his first at Goodison Park from the opposing dug-out.

Bear in mind that chief among the reasons why Moyes was overlooked for an emotional Everton comeback just over a year ago was the perception he has a habit of being too cautious - negative even - settling for a point in tough venues when games are meandering towards a draw.

The late changes which brought three points punctured that theory.

There were just over 15 minutes left when Moyes, already heading to a satisfactory if dour point against the club where he spent 11 years as coach, summoned Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmalenko from the bench.

More obviously, Michail Antonio had already been introduced and noticeably improved the visitors’ attacking potency. Moyes’ late adventure was a game-changer.

Yarmalenko’s clever chipped pass to Tomas Soucek was critical in the build-up to the 86th minute winning goal, which the Czech midfielder struck having seen his first volleyed effort pushed aside by Jordan Pickford. He was still in place to divert Aaron Cresswell’s cross/shot as the Everton defenders appealed for an offside flag.

“A big influence,” Moyes said of his substitutes, while acknowledging the extra meaning in the win.

“Going back to your old clubs is special,” he added.

“I had a brilliant time here, great years, but I want to do it again at West Ham and that means going and winning at the other clubs. "Coming here tonight and winning was really important, Everton are in a great moment, have been playing well, getting great results and had a chance to go second so you couldn't under-estimate what it would mean to Everton. And we were on the back of our third game in six days.”

Suffice to say, this was not the statement of intent Carlo Ancelotti wanted heading into 2021, Everton’s hopes of appearing closer in Liverpool’s rearview mirror dashed to end a four match winning sequence.

Everton remain indecisive whenever there is a threat of them being described as title challengers. This performance exposed their hesitancy in embracing lofty declarations as they still give the impression they are more capable of taking significant steps forward rather than mighty strides.

Ancelotti remains clear-headed amid the insanity of fluctuating moods, seeing his side’s current position as the foundation for more realistic objectives than grounds for premature predictions of title glory. That’s why even when his side has put together winning sequences on the back of grinding wins, he has tried to kid nobody about the relative quality of his squad compared to those with stronger claims on the Premier League crown.

That said, even without some of his better players - Lucas Digne remains injured, Michael Keane was rested, and James Rodriguez’s return was from the subs bench - Ancelotti anticipated a more proactive display against a West Ham side with its own adversity to overcome.

Moyes revealed his club’s training ground has been closed for a ‘deep clean’ after Ryan Fredericks’ positive covid test.

“The only reason is so we can get another clean and keep people out,” Moyes explained.

“We have not been told to do that and it is not because of the one covid player we have got. It's mainly because we want to give the players a break and it means we are trying to do everything we can. We want everyone to take responsibility. It is so difficult at the moment with covid.”

He was also forced to switch his goalkeeper in the warm-up, Darren Randolph replacing Lukasz Fabianski. There was no mention of this change as the teams lined up, so those not paying enough attention may not have noticed it for 44 minutes.

That was when Randolph was called into action for the first time, pushing wide a Bernard volley. It was not that West Ham were negative - their 4-3-3 was designed to attack if circumstances allowed - but until the end there was a lack of creative substance in both sides which meant opposing strikers Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sabastien Haller were kept waiting in vain for a progressive pass.

Aaron Cresswell dragged wide the most encouraging early opportunity for the visitors after half an hour.

Declan Rice was also entitled to ask why none of his team mates reacted quicker to a sumptuous ball into Pickford’s six yard box ten minutes into the second half.

Pickford’s first save followed shortly after Cresswell’s free-kick, which was probably more of a cross.

Both coaches’ late changes showed they were hunting the victory. With Antonio, West Ham’s goal threat was especially amplified, and the introduction of Yarmalenko and Lanzini meant ambition was rewarded.

Moyes kept perspective in victory, ignoring his club’s proximity to the top four.

Ancelotti was again preaching realism.

“It was not a good performance. We did not deserve to win or lose,” said the Italian.

“We had a good run. Now we have to keep our belief high.”

Liverpool Echo

West Ham United release Manuel Lanzini statement after appearance against Everton

Manuel Lanzini was brought off the bench in the second half of Everton's 1-0 defeat to West Ham United at Goodison Park on New Year's Day

By Adam Jones

West Ham have released a statement on Manuel Lanzini after their forward was pictured spending Christmas with a trio of Tottenham Hotspur stars.

The Hammers player was pictured alongside Sergio Reguilon, Giovani Lo Celso, Erik Lamela and a number of other adults over the festive period - breaking government covid-19 rules.

The Argentine was introduced in the 73rd minute of Everton's 1-0 defeat to David Moyes' side on New Year's Day, replacing Pablo Fornals.

In a statement on Saturday morning, West Ham confirmed that Lanzini has returned a negative covid-19 test since the picture was taken, but made clear they were disappointed by their forward's actions.

The statement read [via the Daily Mail]: "The club has set the highest possible standards with its protocols and measures relating to COVID-19 so we are disappointed to learn of Manuel Lanzini’s actions.

"The matter has been dealt with internally and Manuel has been strongly reminded of his responsibilities.

"Manuel Lanzini has returned a negative test since the photo was taken, with just one player (Ryan Fredericks) currently self-isolating in line with Government and Public Health guidelines, which the manager confirmed last night at Everton."

Spurs also released a statement on Saturday morning condemning the actions of their players, shortly ahead of their match against Leeds United.


Hammers face anxious wait on Fabianski

Łukasz Fabiański will undergo a medical scan today after feeling something in his thigh during in the warm-up before the Everton game yesterday.

Claret and Hugh understand that the West Ham keeper felt something in his right thigh in the warm-up and was replaced Darren Randolph with David Martin coming onto the bench.

Hammers medics believe it is too early to give an exact prognosis before the results of the scan is known but he does have the luxury of two weeks recovery time before the Hammers face Burnley on 16th January. Randolph is likely to play again for the FA Cup game on 11th January whatever happens.

Fabianksi was out for 111 days last year missing 17 games until the end of January this year when he suffered a hip injury.

David Moyes will be hoping this new thigh issue is a minor injury and he will be match fit again by mid-January to regain his starting spot between the sticks.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Texas Iron 7:16 Sat Jan 2
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)

zico 3:17 Sat Jan 2
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Re the news - In my MSN feed the The Independent have just posted that Georgie Michael dies aged 53 - Pretty sure the reporter must have had a little much to drink yesterday!

Sven Roeder 2:28 Sat Jan 2
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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