West Bromwich Albion v Newcastle United - Premier League

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 West Ham United: Berahino hands Baggies big win (video)

Leave a comment

West Bromwich Albion sealed a crucial 1-0 win over West Ham United at the Hawthorns on Saturday, as Baggies boss Pepe Mel sealed his first home win since arriving in January.

The Baggies scored after 11 minutes, as Saido Berahino’s finish from close range proved to be enough to see off the Hammers. Andy Carroll had plenty of chances for the visitors but he came up against an inspired Ben Foster in goal for West Brom as the England international made two stunning saves in the first half to deny Carroll.

A nervy ending played out, as the home side hung on despite relentless pressure from West Ham.

With the win West Brom now give themselves a five-point cushion above the relegation zone, while West Ham are only six points above the drop zone after losing their fourth-straight game.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Early on it was all West Ham, as Ben Foster denied Andy Carroll at the near post from close range after Kevin Nolan laid the ball back to Carroll inside the area. A driving run from Stephane Sessegnon set up Morgan Amaliftano who whipped the ball across the goal and Berahino scored his first goal in 15 games by crashing the ball home into the roof of the net.

Despite going ahead West Brom were living life dangerously, as Carroll then turned provider for Nolan but just as the West Ham skipper was about to finish the ball was cleared away for a corner. Carroll was then denied after a superb stop from Foster, with Guy Demel’s cross finding the England international at the back post but his diving header was clawed away to safety. Both teams continued to pour forward in the rain as Demel saw his effort saved by Foster at the near post, then Berahino broke free as the Baggies countered and the ball fell to Graham Dorrans but he smashed his effort just wide.

After the break the Hammers tried to get back into the game as they controlled most of the possession at a slightly nervy Hawthorns. The sun was out, at last, as West Ham piled on the pressure by launching plenty of balls into the box which kept Foster on his feet. Sessegnon was causing problems on the right win, as the Frenchman cut inside and slammed an effort into the side netting as West Brom broke free. Carroll continued his personal duel with Foster, as the powerful forward headed wide of the near post with West Ham going for it.

In the 61st minute Berahino should’ve had his second of the game as he was set up by Sessegnon six yards out but tamely stuck his effort straight at Adrian as the Baggies pushed to go 2-0 up. West Brom were by far the better side as the second half wore on but they couldn’t extend their lead. In comparison West Ham were lackluster in attack, as a banner reading “Fat Sam Out” was unfurled by the away fans.

West Brom did hang on to seal a massive three points, as the Baggies inch closer to securing their place in the PL next season.

LINEUPS

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Reid (Morrison, 47′), Dawson, Olsson, Jones, Amalfitano, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Brunt, Sessegnon (Anichebe, 81′), Berahino (Yacob, 91′)

Goal: Berahino (11′)

West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins (Collins, 33′), Reid, McCartney, Nolan, Noble, Diame, Jarvis (C. Cole, 79′), Carroll, Downing (J. Cole, 67′)

Bremen beats Wolfsburg to leave Bundesliga relegation zone

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - AUGUST 10:  Serge Gnabry of Germany reacts during the Men's First Round Football Group C match between Germany and Fiji at Mineirao Stadium on August 10, 2016 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) — Midfielder Serge Gnabry scored twice as Werder Bremen moved away from the Bundesliga’s relegation zone with a 2-1 win at fellow struggler Wolfsburg on Friday.

Bremen and Wolfsburg are level on points and two above Hamburger SV, which is in 18th place and in the relegation zone.

It was a fifth defeat in six games for Wolfsburg coach Valerien Ismael, who won the league and cup double as a player with Bremen in 2004.

Gnabry fired the visitors ahead with a deflected shot in the 10th minute and made it 2-0 eight minutes later, controlling the ball with his chest before prodding home on the volley.

Striker Borja Mayoral, who is on loan from Real Madrid, scored with his chest following a Wolfsburg corner as Wolfsburg hit back moments later.

Midfielder Daniel Didavi struck the post with a free kick as Wolfsburg kept pushing for an equalizer.

Mancini reportedly not interested in Leicester City, De Boer says no

GENOA, ITALY - APRIL 20:  Head Coach of FC Internazionale Roberto Mancini looks during the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on April 20, 2016 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Two top candidates to replace Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City have reportedly turned down any interest in the job.

Roberto Mancini, the heavy favorite out of the gates after Ranieri’s dismissal, tweeted his support for Ranieri after the news broke. “I am sorry for my friend Ranieri,” Mancini said. “He will be in the history of LCFC, in the hearts of Leicester fans and all football lovers.”

However, the fellow Italian has rebuffed Leicester’s informal advances towards his services. According to Sky Sports, Leicester sent “intermediaries” to “sound out” Mancini’s feelings towards the position, but came back empty-handed. The report states Mancini was turned off to the club after a short and unsuccessful spell there as a player in 2001.

That leaves a host of other names who have been linked to the job, with no clear favorite. One person mentioned was Dutch legend Frank de Boer, who is unemployed after an unusually short stint in charge of Inter Milan. However, De Boer’s agent went public to say he was not ever in the running.

“There is zero possibility that Frank could go to Leicester,” agent Guido Albers told Italian publication Tuttomercatoweb. “I too heard these rumors, but that’s all they are – rumors. I can affirm without doubt that Frank will not become the Leicester City manager. This will 100 per cent not happen.”

Albers explained that De Boer is only interested in joining a club in the offseason, preferring to enter a project with a blank slate rather than joining midseason with particular goals already clearly laid out. With Leicester, it seems De Boer is turned off by the notion of a relegation battle.

Win over Las Palmas again has La Real on edge of CL spot

GETAFE, SPAIN - DECEMBER 11:  Xavi Prieto of Real Sociedad in action during the La Liga match between Getafe CF and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Coliseum Alfonso Perez stadium on December 11, 2015 in Getafe, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

All it took was one mistake. Real Sociedad’s Xabi Prieto capitalized, and has La Real once again on the verge of next year’s Champions League.

La Real finished 7th in 2013/14, and 9th in 2015/16, and this year, they’re closer than ever. Preito’s goal on the mistake by Las Palmas goalkeeper Javi Varas gave Real Sociedad the 1-0 road win and has them just a point off a Champions League place.

[ MORE: Antonio Conte pulling from experience to keep Chelsea on top ]

That could be even closer next week, as fourth-placed Atletico Madrid has to welcome Barcelona to the Calderon tomorrow, leaving the door open for La Real to make another move next weekend.

The goal down the stretch is not just to win the games they should, but make the teams above them work. La Real has won seven of their last ten matches, but the three losses came to Real Madrid, Villareal, and Sevilla, all teams fighting at the top of the table. They still have chances down the stretch, with matches against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, and Eibar coming up, with the latter on the docket next weekend.

Conte pulling from prior experience as title race pushes on

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea looks on during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea at Molineux on February 18, 2017 in Wolverhampton, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Antonio Conte has recalled some painful memories to push himself and his players forward despite their commanding lead at the top of the Premier League table.

Chelsea sits eight points clear of Manchester City, and has the chance to go even further in front with many of the top teams off this weekend, but that won’t give the Italian any better sleep at night.

In the 1999/2000 season, Conte was nearing the end of his 13-year Juventus tenure. He’d won three league titles already, plus two league cup trophies and a Champions League title with the Serie A giants. With a comfortable nine point lead after 26 matches, the club became complacent. They would lose four of their final eight matches, collapsing on the final day in the pouring rain, allowing Lazio to come roaring back to win the title.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks for Week 26 ]

“I was captain of the team,” Conte said. “I remember after this game I must go to the European Championships with the national team. I didn’t sleep for six days because it was a shock for me to lose the title.”

Clearly, that still haunts him. “I have experienced this,” Conte continued. “When I continue to repeat that there are 13 games, there are 39 points… there is a long time before we can say we won the title. We must be focused, we must go step by step.”

The Blues host Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday before a trip to West Ham next weekend. If anyone believes the Chelsea players are complacent holding such a significant lead with 13 matches to go, it’s clear that’s not nearly the case. Anything can happen in three months.