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» Friday 22nd Sep 2017 - 10:09am

» Arfield hailed by manager Dyche
Scott Arfield has been described by Burnley manager Sean Dyche as a "fantastic servant" ahead of his reunion clash with Huddersfield. Arfield joined the Terriers for a fee of £400,000 in July 2010, going on to make 119 appearances for the club before being released in 2013. He helped Huddersfield gain promotion to the Championship via the play-offs but only made nine league starts the following campaign before being released. Burnley then took him on trial and gave him a contract for the following summer and he has since played in the Premier League in three different seasons, as well as appearing regularly for the Canadian national side. Dyche said; "Sometimes players who've been here a while get forgotten a little bit, he's been here since my first summer, and he's been a fantastic servant." "To come out of Huddersfield on a free, not knowing where his journey is going to go next, coming here, with what he and the club has achieved, he's played a big part in that and been excellent."
» Wenger moving on from Evans
Arsene Wenger says he is no longer interested in bringing West Brom defender Jonny Evans to Arsenal after his failed summer bid. The Gunners are thought to have tabled an offer for the Northern Ireland international during the recent transfer window but were knocked back by Albion, who also rejected bids from Leicester and Manchester City. With Arsenal having struggled at the back at times this season, while Per Mertesacker is set to retire at the end of the season, Wenger is thought to be in the market for a new centre-half. However, when asked if he could make a renewed bid to bring Evans to the Emirates Stadium in January, Wenger denied still holding an interest in the former Manchester United man. “Once the transfer period is over, you focus on your squad and your players," said Wenger. “You accept that as well from the players who play for their club.” Meanwhile, Wenger has also confirmed he made two attempts to sign Gareth Barry in the past, losing out to Manchester City and then Everton on each occasion. “We were interested in him yes, when he moved from Aston Villa to Manchester City," he added. “But at the time City was the big investor and so that financial potential was superior to ours at the time.”
» Palace winger hails Sakho arrival
Mamadou Sakho’s arrival at Crystal Place from Liverpool is a massive addition to the squad, according to Eagles winger Bakary Sako. The Frenchman joined the Selhurst Park outfit in the final few seconds of transfer deadline day after spending time on loan with the club last season, and impressing many fans and pundits. Palace are said to have paid a fee in the region of £26million for Sakho, who played no part in Liverpool's pre-season schedule and was very much out of favour under Jurgen Klopp. He made his first appearance of the season in Palace's 1-0 Carabao Cup win against Huddersfield and Sako has highlighted the importance of his new team-mate. "I think he will be massive for us, he lifts the team up by his confidence and the other defenders gain more confidence as well, so he is a really big player for us," he told reporters. Palace face a tough test on Saturday when they travel to table-toppers Manchester City looking for their first Premier League points of the season.
» Quadruple boost for Brighton
Brighton are hopeful Bruno, Glenn Murray, Izzy Brown and Gaetan Bong are all available for Sunday's visit of Newcastle. Brown, on loan from Chelsea for the season, has not featured for the Seagulls since the opening match of the campaign against Manchester City due to a hamstring injury but has recently returned to training. Bruno was absent for last Friday's defeat at Bournemouth, owing to a back injury, while Murray missed out on Tuesday's loss to the same team because of an injured ankle. Bong is also back in the reckoning having featured in the midweek League Cup tie against the Cherries and will be hopeful of making his first Premier League appearance of the season. Hughton said: "Bruno's fine. He's trained this week. We knew it wasn't a massive issue, but it was right to keep him out of the Bournemouth game. "Izzy Brown has been back in training this week and we'll make a decision about his inclusion. "Glenn Murray, who we chose to leave out of the Cup game at Bournemouth, is available. Gaetan Bong came through that game." A back injury means Steve Sidwell remains unavailable, while Beram Kayal is a long-term absentee having broken his leg and Sam Baldock continues to recover from calf surgery. Provisional squad: Krul, Maenpaa, Ryan, Schelotto, Hunemeier, Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Goldson, Rosenior, Suttner, Bong, Ahannach, Brown, Hutchinson, March, Stephens, Skalak, Propper, Knockaert, Izquierdo, Gross, Murphy, Murray, Hemed.
» Walters missing for Terriers visit
Jonathan Walters has been ruled out of Saturday's visit of Huddersfield due to a knee injury, while Nahki Wells remains unavailable. Walters has been battling a knee problem for the majority of the season, getting the green light to feature for the Republic of Ireland in the recent international break before the injury flared up again. Boss Sean Dyche has now confirmed he will be unable to call upon the 33-year-old this Saturday and is unsure when Walters will return to action. "He's got to let his knee settle down a little bit, his knee flared up a bit, so we’re not sure on timescales with that," the Burnley boss said. Wells, who has yet to make his Clarets debut, will not face the club he left on deadline day as he manages his comeback from ankle trouble. Nick Pope is set to retain the gloves in the absence of Tom Heaton (shoulder), and Adam Legzdins is likely to continue on the bench ahead of new arrival Anders Lindegaard. Dean Marney is the other long-term absentee for the Clarets as he works his way back from a serious knee injury. Provisional squad: Pope, Legzdins, Lowton, Long, Mee, Taylor, Ward, Tarkowski, Bardsley, Defour, Brady, Ulvestad, Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, Arfield, Gudmundsson, Vokes, Agyei, Barnes, Wood.
» Koeman plays down 'ridiculous' suggestions
Manager Ronald Koeman has dismissed suggestions Everton should finish in the top four as "ridiculous". Last Sunday the Toffees boss called for some realism in response to Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho's comment that Everton, having spent over £140million during the summer, are a club who "wants to at least secure a top-four position this season". Koeman, whose side are 18th in the table and suffered their fourth straight loss in all competitions when they were beaten by United, added that what he regarded as realistic was "the same as last season", when Everton came seventh. Asked about those remarks as he looked ahead to Saturday's home clash with Bournemouth, the Dutchman told reporters: "I know what we are and I know the way to be successful. "It's crazy, ridiculous to put a lot of pressure on the team by saying we need to finish in the top four. In my opinion, that's ridiculous. "Everybody has signed new players. We signed some young players, and (on Wednesday, in the Carabao Cup win against Sunderland) we played with six or seven boys of 19, 20, 21, 22. "That is the future, it needs time, and that is normal. Let's make the next step. "It doesn't mean we don't have ambition, because if there's one person in football who has a lot of ambition, then it's at this table. "But I'm realistic, and in football, being realistic is sometimes difficult." When it was put to him that Everton are a club who traditionally give their managers time, Koeman said: "What I feel is really a good connection with the board, and we speak about football. I speak with (director of football) Steve Walsh about football, about the team. "I think everybody knows the direction, and the difficulty there has been at the start of the season. But okay, it is football, and you need to win."
» Defender out for Watford
Watford will continue to be without defender Younes Kaboul as they look to bounce back with a trip to Swansea City. Kaboul continues to recover from a hamstring problem and is not expected back until after the international break so will miss the clash with Swansea. Sebastian Prodl, who agreed a new four-year contract earlier this week, is improving although the Austria defender remains in the treatment room despite progress on a thigh injury. Centre-half Miguel Britos is serving out a three-game suspension for his red card against Brighton, but right-back Kiko Femenia should be available after missing the Manchester City defeat as a precaution because of a head injury. Watford head to Swansea on Saturday looking for an instant response from their home mauling by Manchester City and without a goal in three matches. Boss Marco Silva said: "This (defeat) is a good match for us to learn something (from). Now is the moment to react. "We did some things in the wrong way, which we need to improve. "It was a bad afternoon, but it was in the past and we must look forward."
» Boss lays down challenge
Watford head coach Marco Silva has challenged Troy Deeney and others to make him change his mind about leaving them out. Skipper Deeney has yet to start a Premier League game under the new Hornets boss and was brought on for the closing stages of last weekend's thrashing by Manchester City when the result was already beyond doubt. Silva, though, has no issue with the approach of the forward, who has seen club-record £18.5million summer signing Andre Gray the preferred option in attack. "Troy is our captain and he did a very good season last season," the Portuguese coach said. "He needs minutes in his legs, but what I saw of him in training is someone who works hard. I believe he wants more minutes, like all the others, and he works hard for that, this is the most important (thing) for me." Silva added at a press conference: "It is normal for the seven who stay on the bench to be frustrated. "After they come here (to training), if they are unhappy, what they need to show is what Troy and the others try to do (and that is) to show to me they want to play in the first XI."
» Barry - Gunners tried to land me
As he prepares to break the Premier League appearance record Gareth Barry has revealed Monday's opponents Arsenal tried to sign him. The 36-year-old will play in his 633rd top-flight game and eclipse Ryan Giggs' record if he features against the Gunners on Monday. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted he wanted to take Barry to north London when he left Aston Villa to join Manchester City in 2009 but could not compete with City's financial muscle. The Gunners were also keen before Barry joined Everton five years later and the player acknowledged it would have been good to work with Wenger. "There were a couple of conversations with representatives and Arsene that he was interested," Barry said. "Before I was leaving Villa and when I was leaving Man City to go to Everton there was a bit of interest too. "But it didn't materialise. I've got massive respect for Arsene Wenger for what he's done for the English game and it would have been good to work under him, but that didn't happen. "He deserves credit because he was ahead of the game back then. If you speak to people who worked with him in the late 1990s, he was seeing things and doing things that other managers in England weren't." Barry made 365 top-flight appearances for Villa, 132 for Manchester City, 131 for Everton and has played four games for West Brom since signing for around £800,000 in the summer.
» Hammers out to dent Spurs' title bid
Slaven Bilic wants his West Ham side to put an early spoke into rivals Tottenham's title ambitions on Saturday. Bilic's side effectively ended their rivals' hopes last season with a 1-0 win at the London Stadium in May. With that derby victory still fresh in the mind, the Hammers boss wants a repeat performance against the team he concedes is the best footballing side in the Premier League. "For me they are the team that plays the most attractive football and for me they are definitely one of the contenders to win the league," he said. "They have patterns, they have individual quality, they have pace and they are a team building up for three years now, they are improving the team. "That for me makes them maybe the best team, or the most attractive definitely. "We always put a special kind of performance against them. Okay it is a derby and all that, and my wish and the key is to get those kind of performances whoever we play against. "But it is a special atmosphere, we all remember those performances, the fans and the players and everyone involved talks for months after the game. "We still remember the game in May. Those are the patterns that we want to repeat on Saturday. "If we repeat everything - because against them you need a complete performance - then we have a chance." Bilic has seen the pressure surrounding his position ease following three games unbeaten, and three clean sheets. West Ham grabbed their first win of the season at home to Huddersfield, battled to a goalless draw at West Brom and then eased past Bolton 3-0 in the Carabao Cup. "Now we are stabilised," he added. "We went step by step, first we focused on basic things - stop the opponent conceding or creating chances for 90 minutes, keep the shape no matter what the result is or the minute of the game. "Now the confidence is back, you can feel it and we want to build on that."
» Klopp has a plan
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool's current problems are being over-exaggerated and he has a plan of action to turn round a frustrating week. Having been held to a draw by Burnley last week, the Reds boss saw a much-changed side crash out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday against Leicester - whom they face again in the Premier League this weekend. Liverpool have conceded the first goal in their last four matches, resulting in two draws and two defeats, and that has been compounded by an inability to convert a significant number of chances in all those games. Defensive concerns have increased with Dejan Lovren unable to train this week due to a bad back and fellow central defender Joel Matip struggling with a knock from the weekend, but Klopp believes the situation is not as bad as is being portrayed. "It sounds like we have no points and are completely the worst team in the league," he said. "Yes we have problems, that is why we 'only' have eight points and not 15. We can make it more serious than it is or we can take it like it is. "I understand 100 per cent (why) we sit here and talk about the things that have happened. "I know already about all these problems - or 'not problems' - and I've made my decision already how to work with it but if I talk a lot about it I only create headlines 'Klopp says this. Klopp says that' and it doesn't help us. "We have work to do but that would be the same if we had 15 points, only it would feel different but it would be the same. "We conceded first goal against Seville and responded really well, we conceded the first goal against Burnley and responded really well. "I would prefer not to concede the first goal to be honest. "This is the long part of a three-game week from Tuesday to Saturday so we have one more session. We can use it but we have to prove it on Saturday."
» Abraham looks to England
Swansea loanee Tammy Abraham has reiterated that he has comitted his international career to England. Reports on Thursday suggested the Nigeria Football Federation is hopeful of persuading the England Under-21 international, who qualifies for the African nation through his father, to switch countries. But the Swansea striker, on loan from Chelsea, is adamant England are the country for him. In a statement, Abraham said: "Contrary to reports in the media I would like to clarify that I have not agreed to switch my national team allegiance. "I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father. "However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark. "I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England."
» Dier to continue as a utility man
Mauricio Pochettino says he will continue to use Eric Dier in a number of positions unless he becomes indispensable in one area. Dier has been deployed predominantly in holding midfield this season, but may have found himself in defence more often were it not for a knee injury to Victor Wanyama. With Wanyama expected to be out for another three weeks and summer signing Davinson Sanchez delivering assured performances at the back, Dier is likely to continue further forward for a while longer. The 23-year-old, however, has grown accustomed to the role of utility man under Pochettino, who has used him as centre-back in both a defensive pair and trio, as well as midfield and, occasionally, right-back. Pochettino insists Dier's flexibility is a strength, not a weakness, not least because it enables him to become a core member of the starting XI. "If he in time shows he is great or one of the best in the world in one position, okay, that is fantastic for him," Pochettino said. "But if you are a very good player and can play very well in different positions, there are more possibilities for him to play." Pochettino added: "I think the most important thing last season was that he was the player in the squad that played the most. When you are a player, you want to play and be in the starting XI. "He can dominate different positions on the pitch and that is so fantastic - he can be top as a midfielder, centre-back or full-back. Then it is up to the manager to use him in different positions."
» Luiz sits out for the Blues
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will once again make changes to his side to face Stoke this weekend as David Luiz is unavailable. Pedro is expected to be fit to return from a leg injury at Stoke, but Luiz will serve the second game of his three-match domestic suspension following his sending off last weekend. Conte is poised to tinker once again, after making nine changes for Wednesday night's 5-1 Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest, with the boss expected to revert to his strongest possible XI. Midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko was involved in a minor car accident on his way home from training on Thursday but the France midfielder was not injured and is expected to be in the squad on Saturday at Stoke.
» Chelsea keen to move on
Chelsea will look to the future at Stoke on Saturday after an agreement was reached for Diego Costa to re-join Atletico Madrid. Head coach Antonio Conte is poised to face questions on Costa at his pre-match media conference on Friday after the striker was granted his wish to return to Atletico. The 28-year-old Brazil-born Spain international joined the Blues from Atletico in July 2014, scoring 59 goals in 120 appearances. Costa won two Premier League titles in his three seasons at Stamford Bridge, but admitted to pandering for a return to Atletico as early as his first season in England. And after months of acrimony, claim and counter claim, Costa has been granted his wish after the Blues and Atletico agreed a fee reported to be in the region of £58million. Chelsea play at Atletico next Wednesday in Champions League Group C and all parties will be relieved the matter has been resolved. Costa will now travel to Madrid from Brazil to finalise his move. Atletico said: "Atletico de Madrid and Chelsea have reached an initial agreement for the transfer of Diego Costa. "The agreement is pending the formalisation of the contract between our club and the Spanish international forward. "The English club has authorised Diego Costa to travel to Madrid in the coming days to undergo medical tests and settle his contract with our club." With Atletico under a transfer embargo and unable to register new players until January, Costa will have to wait to wear the red and white stripes again.
» Hughton hoping Seagulls adapt
Brighton boss Chris Hughton has told his players to learn to recover from disappointing results in order to avoid relegation this term. The Seagulls are currently playing in their first Premier League campaign, but they have found life tough so far. Hughton's men are currently 16th in the league table, with just one win to their name. After beating West Brom two weeks ago, Brighton have since lost to Bournemouth, in both the league and Carabao Cup, and Hughton admits his team must learn to live with disappointing results. He told reporters: "The key is going to be responding to them (disappointing results). Putting them in the past and focusing on the next games and also trying to be happy with the majority of what you're seeing both in games and training. "We recognised at the start of the season it would be tougher season. "The player's mindsets have been very good and so has the training and what we need to do is put as much of that in to practice on the main arena and the next opportunity is against Newcastle."
» Wagner confirms fitness woes
Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner has revealed his injury list is growing ahead of the trip to Burnley on Saturday. The Terriers could soon find themselves dropping down the Premier League table after a strong start to the campaign as injuries are now hitting the squad. Striker Steve Mounie will miss the trip to Turf Moor, but he is expected to return in time for next week. Midfielder Danny Williams is also out with a fractured foot and he is joined on the sidelines by Colin Quaner. Quaner looks set to return after the international break, but Laurent Depoitre and Rajiv Van La Parra are late fitness doubts. Speaking ahead of the game against the Clarets, Wagner said: "Both will not be in contention this weekend. Steve will probably be ready for the next home game against Tottenham. "Danny Williams has a small fracture on the bone in his foot. We have a specialist appointment tomorrow where we will get some information about how long he's out. "At the moment, this is very open as it is a very small fracture. He is definitely out for tomorrow and anything else we will know after the weekend. "Lolo (Depoitre) and Rajiv (Van La Parra) are stiff. Lolo Depoitre is further along than Rajiv with whom there is some doubt at the moment. So we have some injury concerns at the moment but we will find some solutions for it," he added. "Colin Quaner is out too. He will be ready during the next international break."
» King ready to go
Bournemouth striker Joshua King insists he is now fully fit after struggling with injury at the start off the current campaign. The Norway international was in fine form last season, scoring 16 goals to help the Cherries finish ninth in the Premier League. However, the former Blackburn Rovers man was forced to play with a back injury towards the end of last season. His pre-season schedule was disrupted as a result and King has been forced to bide his time this season. After netting the winner in the Carabao Cup clash against Brighton this week, King insists he is now fully fit and ready to go. "I was injured for most of the end of last season, since the West Ham game," he told the Bournemouth Echo. "I came back for pre-season and didn't train for two weeks. I was behind the others and was still struggling. I needed a bit more time. "It sorted it and my back is fine. All is good now. After the way I finished last season, you set your targets and want to score early to get yourself going and beat your previous tally."
» Pellegrino relishing United test
Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino says he cannot wait to see how his side perform against Manchester United this week. The former Alaves coach has enjoyed a strong start to his spell in charge of Saints since taking over as boss in the summer. Southampton currently sit ninth in the Premier League table after picking up eight points so far, their latest win coming against struggling Crystal Palace. However, they face their toughest test of the new season when they welcome Manchester United to St Mary's and Pellegrino admits he cannot wait to test himself against the best. "For me it's a nice opportunity, I see this game as a huge opportunity for us because we realise how we are against a top team,' the 45-year-old told the Daily Mail. "When we play against the biggest team in the world, it allows us to draw some conclusions about how we are. This is for me the nice challenge and we have to strive for this. "Playing against Manchester United is one of the most beautiful things. I will live this opportunity, I will live this game, and now we have to try to enjoy this game."
» Smith leaps to Wimmer defence
Stoke legend Denis Smith admits Kevin Wimmer has made a slow start to life with the club but believes he will improve. The Austria international completed a move to the Potters from Tottenham in late August for a fee of £18million after struggling for regular gametime in north London. Wimmer has turned out just three times for Stoke since, twice in the Premier League and, most recently, in the Carabao Cup loss to Bristol City on Tuesday. The 24-year-old has come under some criticism for his performances but Smith, who played over 400 times for Stoke as a defender, feels it would be wrong to judge Wimmer straight off the bat and insists he needs time to settle. Smith told the Stoke Sentinel: “In his first game against Manchester United I was quite impressed, but he does now look a bit off the pace at the moment. “I don’t know what is happening in his life in terms of moving home, moving the family, etc. They are actually human beings. “Also, I don’t want to judge anybody on a couple of games, it’s simply not fair. You look at people over a period and then you make a judgement. “There will have been a reason why the management team and scouting staff will have looked at him and believed he could do a job for us.”