After scoring Manchester United’s opener in the team’s 3-1 win against West Ham, Danny Welbeck was forced to leave Saturday’s game after 54 minutes with a suspected knee injury. Though there were some fears the England international had aggravated a problem that sidelined him earlier this season, the 23-year-old’s recovered enough to travel to Hull on Boxing Day, all fears of serious injury having been averted.
[REVIEW: Manchester United 3-1 West Ham: Rampant Red Devils ease to three points (video)]
Welbeck’s goal after 25 minutes Saturday at Old Trafford was his third in as many games, the young striker having stepped up in the absence of the injured Robin van Persie. But just nine minutes after halftime, David Moyes had to bring off his number nine, with Welbeck forced off in favor of Javier Hernández. Though United would go on to their fourth straight win, the status of their hottest goalscorer was in doubt.
Having started the last three games, Welbeck’s been crucial to Manchester United’s uptick in goals, with the team scoring eight times in that span. Though Hernández and Wayne Rooney are also capable of being deployed as David Moyes’s lead striker, the ongoing absence of van Persie (thigh) increases Welbeck’s importance. Without him, Hernández or Shinji Kagawa (eight league starts combined) would be forced into United’s starting XI.
[PREVIEW: Hull City vs. Manchester United]
From Moyes’s perspective, however, that possibility doesn’t seem particularly likely. From reporting by the Guardian:
“I didn’t know exactly what it was after the game. He had a problem with his knee a few weeks ago but this was just a kick right on the kneecap,” the United manager said. ” It is only a contact injury, one he should be able to shake off. He has trained and we hope he is OK.”
With or without Welbeck, United will be favored to extend their winning streak to five on Thursday when they kick off Boxing Day with their visit to Hull.
Goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool come back from an early deficit to win the PL Asia Trophy on Saturday in Hong Kong.
Islam Slimani gave Leicester City an early lead in front of a heavy pro-Liverpool crowd at Hong Kong Stadium, but Coutinho delivered the goods on both goals in a 2-1 win.
The tournament win is Liverpool’s first in its second trip to the PL Asia Trophy Final.
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First he crossed for Salah to head home, and then he scored the above goal by cutting in from the left and lashing a shot past a flailing Kasper Schmeichel.
We’ve seen this one before from Coutinho, just not on this particular continent. The Brazilian remains a Barcelona target, but looks prepared for the season in whatever land he sets foot.
Neymar and Alexis Sanchez to Paris? Brazil and Chile’s finest living as one? Reunited and it feels so French?
The latter’s talents will see Arsenal’s resolve tested by a $46 million bid, according to Sky Sports, though Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has been adamant that Sanchez will not be sold this summer.
Reports circled last year that Arsenal was prepared to offer Sanchez and Mesut Ozil record deals to stay at the club, though PSG has reportedly met with Sanchez and his agent with ideas of incredible $650,000 per week wages at the Parc des Princes.
[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]
A source also told Sky Sports that it would take “a miracle” for Neymar to remain at Barcelona, so that Sanchez/Edinson Cavani/Neymar trident could be coming to a theater near you.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is hopeful of convincing Virgil Van Dijk to stay at St. Mary’s, but for now he’s been forced to ask the defender to take time away from the club.
Van Dijk, hopeful to engineer a move to a UEFA Champions League club, has not been in the preferred mental state for Pellegrino.
“When I was talking with him, the boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave. I need to work with a player that works at 100 percent to defend Southampton. This is the decision. I had to say: ‘OK, if you don’t want to be involved because you don’t feel OK, you have to train alone until this period of time.'”
Liverpool publicly ended their interest in Van Dijk following Southampton complaints, and the club maintains it will not sell the influential center back.
West Ham’s loan move for Joe Hart could see both of its 2016-17 goalkeepers leaving the London Stadium. Multiple reports say Darren Randolph could be off to Middlesbrough, with Adrian also heading to the Northeast to play for countryman Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.
Goals from Luka Milivojevic and Bakary Sako led Crystal Palace to a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the third place game of the PL Asia Trophy.
Palace had lost 2-0 to Liverpool in its semifinal, while West Brom fell to Leicester City in penalty kicks after trading goals over 90 minutes.
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Milivojevic’s free kick, won by Wilfried Zaha, was super. Whipped in with force and a wicked curl, Baggies keeper Ben Foster didn’t have a chance to reach it with his dive.
Sako created his goal with a darting move off a long dribble, though it needed a pair of deflections to get behind Foster.
The Baggies had their chances, and Julian Speroni made an outstanding save on Matty Phillips late in the match.
Goals from Bakary Sako and Luka Milivojevic spearheaded Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the PL Asia Trophy third place game, and now Liverpool and Leicester City tangle for the title.
The final will be staged at 8:30 a.m. ET, when Liverpool will hope to build on a 2-0 semifinal win paced by Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke goals.
[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]
West Brom lost to Leicester City in its semifinal when youngster Sam Field missed the side’s seventh attempt in penalty kicks. Jay Rodriguez scored the Baggies goal in regulation of a 1-1 draw.
Here are the lineups for Leicester City and Liverpool: