West Ham United v Southampton - Premier League

Sam Allardyce slams officials after West Ham “taught a lesson” by Saints

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On Saturday West Ham United took an early 1-0 lead against Southampton. They threw it away and lost 3-1 after a shocking second half display.

Sam Allardyce’s men weren’t quite on top after a lackluster first half but they were ahead. The turning point of the game was Morgan Schneiderlin’s effort just before half time which made it 1-1 as the Hammers squandered their advantage with some sloppy defending.

[RELATED: West Ham 1-3 Southampton]

Saints totally dominated the second half as they bossed possession, had numerous chance to score and eventually banged in two more to seal a comfortable 3-1 win.

After the game Allardyce told reporters he was not happy with Mike Dean’s awarding of a corner, when it should have been a goal kick, in the lead up to Saints’s second goal. Here’s what ‘Big Sam’ had to say.

“We weren’t good enough. Southampton taught us a lesson, we weren’t sharp enough and didn’t retain the ball as well as they did, close down as well as they did and gifted them two goals. As much as they were in control and on top of the game we’ve lost two very stupid goals from set-pieces.

“The big problem I had with the corner [for the second goal] was that it was a goal-kick of course. I’ve had a look at it on the laptop and can the referee see it? Was he blocked and why didn’t he make the right decision? Having looked at it from Mike Dean’s position he’s got it horribly wrong when we don’t need it to go against us.”

Hammers fans will be upset that Allardyce has turned on the officials, when clearly his side weren’t at the races.

Allardyce’s complaints may be just, but Saints had earlier had a clearly legitimate goal chalked off for offside as the Hammers got away with one. Graziano Pelle tucked home at the back post when he was level with West Ham’s defense but the goal was called out for offside. Allardyce seems to have forgotten that fact as things, as they often do in soccer, eventually evened themselves out.

[RELATED: Song arrives at West Ham]

West Ham’s fans aired their displeasure throughout a tepid second half display, as the Upton Park faithful continue their vendetta against Allardyce and his style of play which is branded as ‘one-dimensional’ and ‘long-ball’ by many. In midweek West Ham lost on penalty kicks to League One Sheffield United and after a promising win away at Crystal Palace last weekend, Hammers fans seem to be on their managers back once again.

After a poor season last term where West Ham just about stayed up but failed to impress with their displays, you get the feeling, already, that Allardyce is on borrowed time in East London. That seems crazy to say three games into the current season, but being lambasted by his own fans is nothing new to the former Bolton manager.

He has been criticized for over two years and if his team put in a few more shocking displays like this, West Ham’s fans may get what they wish for. Allardyce out.

Premier League Preview: Stoke City vs. Manchester United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United (L) shoots while Erik Pieters of Stoke City (R) attempts to block the shot during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford on October 2, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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  • Man Utd leads all-time 43W-34D-28L
  • Clubs even in last six (2-2-2)
  • Red Devils unbeaten in 16
  • Stoke winners of two-straight

After wins over Sunderland and Watford, Stoke City gets a higher class of opponent on Saturday at the Britannia Stadium (Watch live at 10 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Fortunately for Stoke, it’s had some success against Manchester United in recent years.

Stoke and United drew 1-1 at Old Trafford on Oct. 2, though Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils are flying now. United is hard to break down, and arguably deserved better than the 1-1 draw it earned versus Liverpool last weekend.

Stoke is now 11 points clear of the drop zone, and a win could raise its status to closer to the Top Five than Bottom Three. United, meanwhile, wants three points that would move it to precipice of the Top Four.

 

What they’re saying

Stoke City’s Glenn Whelan on facing United“There has been a wind of change there and the supporters seem a lot happier now and you get the sense that they are together as a group now. You only have to look at the players within the squad, and even the ones who are leaving, to see how much strength in depth they have there.”

Jose Mourinho praises newly-extended Antonio Valencia“I don’t think it is a reward, I don’t see it in this perspective. I just think he is the best right-back you can have. There is no better right-back in football. It is just for us to keep the best. I don’t think it is a reward. It is a privilege for us to have such a good player and such a good man.”

Prediction

United gets it done, only barely. Stoke will put up a brave battle for boss Mark Hughes, but there are too many weapons to suppress. United, 1-0.

AFCON wrap: Results keep Group C undecided

Ivory Coast's Wilfried Bony controls the ball on his head during their training session at the Stade Akoakam, Oyem, Gabon, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, ahead of their African Cup of Nations Group C soccer match against Congo. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
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Like Group A, Group C in the Africa Cup of Nations has very little decided ahead of the final group stage match.

[ MORE: Guardiola “said goodbye to title” ]

Ivory Coast 2-2 DR Congo

A thrilling first half had DR Congo leading 1-0 and 2-1, with only Wilfried Bony netting for the Ivory Coast. Les Elephants grabbed a draw through Serey Die’s 67th minute goal.

DR Congo now leads the group and is primed to advance with a result against Togo or a Morocco loss or draw against Ivory Coast.

Morocco 3-1 Togo

Mathieu Dossevi gave Togo a surprise fifth minute lead lead, but Aziz Bouhaddouz kickstarted the Moroccan attack to plug the victors into Group C’s second spot ahead of a Jan. 24 showdown with Ivory Coast.

Saturday’s matches

Ghana vs. Mali — 11 a.m. ET
Egypt vs. Uganda — 2 p.m. ET

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Swansea City

SWANSEA, WALES - MAY 01:  Jefferson Montero of Swansea City is challenged by Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Liverpool at The Liberty Stadium on May 1, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
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  • Liverpool leads all-time 22W-8D-10L
  • Swans lost five-straight at Anfield
  • Reds unbeaten in 7 PL matches

One of the Premier League’s top attacks hosts the division’s leakiest defense, as Liverpool may be licking its chops ahead of a visit from struggling Swansea City on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Liverpool has drawn at Sunderland and Manchester United in its last two Premier League outings, and sits seven points back of leaders Chelsea.

Swansea City has allowed multiple goals in five of six PL matches since beating Sunderland 3-0 on Dec. 10. It’s no surprise that they’ve lost those five (the sixth being a 2-1 win at struggling Crystal Palace).

What they’re saying

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp on the match“We’re really looking forward to this game. I don’t know when it happened but in England every game now is like a final. Swansea are trying to survive. I don’t know when the title run-in will start, maybe now and we’re in the race. I hope for a special atmosphere tomorrow.”

Swansea City back Federico Fernandez on Liverpool“They are a team that is very strong going forward and that is shown by the number of goals they have scored. If you lose a little bit of focus against these teams then they have the players that will punish you every time. But it’s not only defending strongly when they are attacking, it is also how we keep hold of the ball and how we use it when in possession.”

Prediction

Swansea boss Paul Clement has his hands full, and is grabbing reinforcements in the transfer window (Luciano Narsingh, Martin Olsson, Tom Carroll). That won’t be enough to handle what Liverpool will dish out Saturday, as the Reds break free with a 3-0 win.

Saints’ Fonte moves to West Ham for $10 million

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West Ham has been linked with big name strikers since the summer, but the Irons’ big January transfer to date is a center back.

EURO champion and Southampton mainstay Jose Fonte is moving to London.

[ MORE: West Brom finally sells Berahino ]

Fonte, 33, makes an approximately $10 million move from the South Coast, where the Portuguese back will better Slaven Bilic‘s back line while forcing Southampton to find an answer alongside Virgil Van Dijk.

It’s been a strange trip to London for Fonte and Southampton, detailed by our own Joe Prince-Wright here. Fonte joined Saints during the 2009-10 season, and became a cult hero at St. Mary’s in helping the club move from League One to the Europa League in just over a half-decade.

Something won’t feel right about seeing Fonte in claret and blue, and Saints host West Ham on Feb. 4. Should be quite interesting.