Tan

Report: Cardiff, Tan claim to have evidence against Palace in spy accusation

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After falling to Crystal Palace 3-0 this past week, mercurial owner Vincent Tan protested the result shouldn’t stand.

Tan cried witchcraft before and after the match, claiming former Cardiff assistant Iain Moody, now working for Palace, successfully attempted to obtain Cardiff’s lineup prior to the game.

He says Cardiff have what The Mirror calls “concrete evidence” that Moody sent texts to a trio of his former coworkers at Cardiff, who apparently gave up the lineup but also alerted manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian then in turn alerted his superiors, but decided not to change his teamsheet.

Moody was disgraced by Tan for an apparent overspenditure late last calendar year in an ugly parting which ultimately saw a falling out between Tan and then-manager Malky Mackay.

There is no concrete law against Moody’s actions (and shame on whoever gave up the lineup), but Cardiff believe his actions violate the “good faith” rule that reads: “In all matters and transactions relating to the league, each club shall behave towards each other club and league with the utmost good faith.”

Back in December, Moody claimed in an interview with the Guardian that “most of my best friends in football work” at Cardiff City still, and that he holds no bitterness against the club.

UPDATE: In a report released by the BBC, there are some absolutely wild, yet surprisingly detailed accusations brought to the Premier League.

According to the BBC, the following is the order of events leading up to the Cardiff City vs Crystal Palace match, which Palace won 3-0:

  • Two days before the match, Iain Moody called (previously reported to be text messages) Cardiff City performance analyst Enda Barron to attempt to obtain Cardiff’s lineup. Moody claimed to be “under pressure from Tony Pulis. Barron denied to release the lineup.
  • Moody then went to another source, reportedly Cardiff City player Aron Gunnarsson, and successfully obtained the lineup. Gunnarsson and his agent have both since denied to the club his involvement in this part of the story.
  • Moody contacted Barron again (unclear whether it was by phone or twxt) to tell his former colleague he was successful.
  • Here’s the wildest part of the story: Moody then mistakenly texted the lineup to current Bolton manager Dougie Freedman (what?!?!). Freedman, a friend of Solskjaer, alerted the Cardiff manager of the leak and the club proceeded from there.

The most unfortunate part of the story in the BBC is that Barron, who denied to leak the lineup to Crystal Palace, was still relieved of his duties with Cardiff claiming breach of contract (possibly for failing to bring the attempt by Moody to his superiors?).

The mistaken text to Freedman, according to the report, read, “Straight from Gunnarsson their line up is 4-4-2 Marshall, KTC, Caulker, Turner, Taylor, Daehli, Medel, Mutch, Zaha, Campbell, Jones.”  That lineup turned out to be exactly correct, with Solskjaer making three changes from their previous match.

In addition, the BBC claims Solskjaer and Pulis discussed the incident following the match, with the following taking place:

Solskjaer: “I am disgusted that your head of recruitment is texting one of my players to get our team.”
Pulis: “Oooh I know. I didn’t ask for it.”

Cardiff are apparently claiming that response as evidence Pulis was aware of the leak.

Allardyce on Palace’s “great victory” over Boro

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25:  Sam Allardyce manager of Crystal Palace signals during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park on February 25, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
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Big Sam got a big win, and he knows it.

Two days after tearing into his players for not adapting to his system, the Crystal Palace boss was glowing with praise after the Eagles knocked off visiting Middlesbrough in a relegation six-pointer on Saturday.

[ MORE: Palace 1-0 Middlesbrough ]

The win lifts Palace out of the drop zone, a point ahead of Leicester City who plays Monday. Allardyce is shaping his own Premier League table and he’ll try to lift a sort of Bottom Seven trophy after the season

From the BBC:

“It’s a great victory. I think the two-week break helped us refocus and that showed – today they made a lot of very good decisions.

“The three points are important as it puts us in amongst the pack, out of the bottom three and a bit closer to Bournemouth.

“I see the bottom seven as the Premier League table we need to try and win. If we can achieve more then that would be great but we need to make next week’s game against West Brom a game to win.”

Crystal Palace have too much talent to be in this spot, and Allardyce’s acumen as a “never relegated” manager has not been questioned much despite the Eagles falling into a worse spot than they were when Alan Pardew was fired. Is this finally their move out of trouble, or just a clean sheet against a Boro team that can’t score?

Conte delighted with his ruthless Chelsea machine

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Chelsea are a machine.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The Blues beat Swansea City 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 11 points as the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal are all on a weekend off due to the EFL Cup final.

Facing a stubborn Swansea side, Chelsea went ahead through the excellent Cesc Fabregas and even when they were pegged back right on half time through Fernando Llorente’s header you expected them to kick on win the game.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

They did just that as Antonio Conte‘s men were relentless throughout and goals from Pedro and Diego Costa late on made it 20 wins from 26 games this season as their title procession continues.

Speaking after the game, Conte was asked if this win was simply another step on their way to winning the title.

“Yeah, I think it is another step,” Conte said. “For sure a good game, a good win and it wasn’t easy to play against them because I watched Swansea’s games against Liverpool and City and they played very well. I think today we deserved, a lot, to win the game. We created many chances in the game, we dominated the game in the first half.

“It is a pity for the goal we conceded at the end of half time. In the second half we started again and created chances with Hazard and then Cesc hitting the crossbar. I am pleased because now, to play the ball is not easy because the season is going to end. In this moment it is very important to have the performance of my players.”

The Italian manager also admitted that a pivotal moment in the game went Chelsea’s way. With the score still locked at 1-1 with 20 minutes to Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s trickery saw Cesar Azpilicueta handle in the box. Referee Neil Swarbrick waved away the penalty calls but Conte admitted the ball hit Azpilicueta’s hand despite it being very close to Sigurdsson and perhaps unintentional.

Moments later Pedro scored to put Chelsea ahead as they powered to yet another victory, their 10th straight at home in the Premier League.

Nobody looks like catching this Chelsea side as Eden Hazard and Fabregas dazzled in the drizzle at Stamford Bridge and Costa was at his clinical best.

A brief defensive lapse aside, this was a dominant and well-deserved win against a dogged Swansea outfit.

In the words of Jay Z – “On to the next one.”

That’s a trip across London to West Ham on Mar. 6, as games against Stoke City and Crystal Palace follow. The way Conte’s side are playing and finishing teams off, they could have this thing all but sewn by April 1 when they face Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Men In Blazers podcast: Pochettino, Lloris discuss “To Dare Is To Do”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur and Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur after the goalkeeper was substitued during the Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on August 13, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
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Rog speaks with Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, and head of coaching and development John McDermott in a preview of his film, “Premier League Download: Tottenham Hotspur: To Dare is to Do” which airs Sunday at 11 a.m. ET after Spurs vs. Stoke City on NBCSN.

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Watch Live: Watford vs. West Ham (Lineups, Stream)

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Troy Deeney of Watford (L) struggles to hold off Michail Antonio of West Ham United (R) during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Watford at Olympic Stadium on September 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Vicarage Road is the scene for a Saturday afternoon clash between top half hopefuls West Ham United and Watford (Watch Live at 12:30 p.m. EDT on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The Irons have 32 points and the hopes of continuing an upward climb to the position they wanted back when this season began in August.

The Hornets are two points below West Ham, having dealt with a woeful stretch in form to climb back to within sight of 10th.

LINEUPS

Watford: Gomes; Janmaat, Kaboul, Britos, Holebas; Cleverley, Behrami, Capoue; Zárate, Deeney, Niang. Subs: Arlauskis, Prödl, Cathcart, Zúñiga, Doucouré, Success, Okaka.

West Ham United: Randolph, Cresswell, Fonte, Reid, Antonio, Obiang, Kouyate, Noble, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Feghouli. Subs: Adrian, Byram, Masuaku, Collins, Fernandes, Ayew, Calleri.