Norwich’s loss to Everton on Saturday afternoon keeps the Canaries at 20 points, just two points above the relegation zone. That’s six straight Premier League matches in which Norwich haven’t recorded a win, and it’s clear that they’re going to struggle to survive this season. Yet somehow, manager Chris Hughton remains upbeat.
Speaking after the match, Hughton said, “There isn’t a side who has come here [to Goodison Park] and had more possession this season. What you need to do is stick in there. We had the best chance of the half through Gary Hooper, they score a spectacular goal.”
The Canaries manager went on to say, “In the second half I thought we gave a good account of ourselves but we were up against a really good unit.”
Hughton is correct in saying that Hooper had a good chance early on, but his first touch was poor, and Everton keeper Tim Howard was able to easily trap the ball as it got away from Hooper.
And yes, Norwich were better in the second half. But the visitors didn’t really kick into gear until the final fifteen minutes, after Everton were already cruising with a 2-0 victory. The hosts had to be quick to ensure a pair of shots from Robert Snodgrass didn’t land in the back of the net, but overall, the Canaries rarely presented a threat, even with Ricky van Wolfswinkel returning to action.
As the year closed, Hughton came under pressure after recording just one win in six December matches. Failing to keep hold of the lead against relegation-battling Crystal Palace didn’t much help. Despite Hughton’s upbeat remarks, Norwich isn’t improving. Will the manager be able to buy himself a bit more time, or will the club run out of patience before the Canaries can turn themselves around?
Paris-Saint Germain has established itself as one of Europe’s best sides, but their opponent on Sunday isn’t playing scared against Neymar and Co.
[ MORE: Spurs, Saints play to 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s ]
Lyon has taken a 1-0 lead inside the opening two minutes against the Parisians after a stunning free kick by Nabil Fekir caught PSG keeper Alphonse Aréola off his line.
The hosts could move all the way up to second place today with a victory over PSG, who holds the league lead in Ligue 1 with a nine-point advantage.
The 24-year-old Fekir has been a revelation for Lyon in his fifth season with the club, scoring his 19th goal in all competitions on Sunday.
That total has already surpassed his career-high from the 2014/15 season, when he eclipsed 15 goals.
Look away, U.S. Men’s National Team fans.
American and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie was forced out of Sunday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw against Hanover 96 after the 19-year-old collided with Felix Kraus.
McKennie, who entered the match in the 62nd minute for Leon Goretzka, managed to stay on the field for nearly 20 minutes before being substituted out.
To this point there has been no indication that the young USMNT player’s injury is serious.
More to follow…
Watford’s replacement for fired manager Marco Silva is indeed veteran Spanish boss Javi Gracia.
[ MORE: Watford fires Silva, blames Everton ]
The Hornets announced the 47-year-old’s hiring on Sunday, hours after firing Silva and blaming Everton’s pursuit of the manager for the club’s fall from European contender to the fringe of a relegation battle.
Watford is still four points clear of the drop following Southampton’s draw with Spurs on Sunday.
Gracia led Malaga to eighth and ninth place finishes in La Liga between 2014-16 before spending last season at Rubin Kazan.
Gracia, 47, has led promotion campaigns in Spain and has plenty of experience with perceived smaller clubs battling the drop zone.
Watford will hope the Hornets don’t reach that point after flirting with the Top Seven for the first quarter of the Premier League season.
Mauricio Pochettino knows St. Mary’s well, and the ex-Southampton boss has managed a rainy, sloppy match or three there in the past.
[ RECAP: Saints 1-1 Spurs ]
So he knows it’s possible to play well in those circumstances, leaving him feeling like Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday was a wasted opportunity against a struggling Saints side.
“It is temporary that Southampton are in the relegation zone, for sure they will push up the table,” Pochettino said. “It is two points we are going to miss at the end of the season because it is so tough between six or seven teams.”
[ MORE: Bertrand reacts to draw ]
So why couldn’t Spurs find their foothold? Well, aside from sickness keeping Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris out of the lineup, a bug that may’ve affected more on the team, Spurs just weren’t up to snuff.
“We struggled to play,” Pochettino said. “It was in possession, we made mistakes which allowed them to play. To win the game we should do better and play better. It wasn’t great.
Pochettino was also asked about Spurs’ reported pursuit of 20-year-old Bordeaux star Malcom, who has seven goals and five assists in Ligue 1 this season.
“That is a rumor and I don’t want to speak about it. I am happy with our squad. We are open to quality players but you know very well it is difficult in this transfer window.”