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PST ranks 10 best Premier League summer signings

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With the new year right around the corner, it’s time to reflect on the first half of the Premier League season.

Manchester City’s dominance at the top of the table might finally be tested as the club faces several key injuries, while the relegation battle sees eight teams separated by a mere five points at the halfway point.

[ MORE: Leon Goretzka expected to join Bayern on free transfer ]

Below, PST takes a look at the 10 best PL signings from the summer transfer through the midway point in England’s season.

10. Richarlison (Watford)

The Hornets have had difficulty finding goals on a regular basis, but the Brazilian has provided Watford with a strong outlet up front. The 20-year-old striker has a lot of room to improve, and that is a good sign for Watford.

9. Chris Wood (Burnley)

The Clarets still need more production out of the forward position, but Wood has been a steady figure in the Burnley attack with his five goals in all competitions. The ex-Leeds man has done well, but he’ll have to continue to score if Burnley want to remain in contention for top four.

8. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)

After a hot start, Lukaku has cooled off a bit, but with Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the shelf the Belgian’s presence has been ever-important for Jose Mourinho’s side. He’s on pace to score over 30 goals in all comps, which would be a career-high, so it’s safe to say the money was well-spent by United.

7. Nemanja Matic (Manchester United)

The loss for Chelsea has proven to be Man United’s gain. The holding midfielder has provided cover brilliantly for a Red Devils backline that has suffered a great deal of injuries defensively. Matic is the model of consistency and has helped provide another line of defense for a side that has only conceded 16 goals all season.

6. Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town)

The Aussie midfielder has controlled the center of the park for the newcomers, and been rewarded with four goals to boot.

5. Pascal Gross (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Similar to Mooy, the former Ingolstadt midfielder has helped ease the transition into PL life for Brighton. Gross is a dynamic talent, who has also tallied four goals this season to go along with his creative presence for the Seagulls.

4. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)

The Frenchman has adapted quite well to life in the PL, despite Arsenal’s ups and downs this season. In a summer where many top attacking players were added to PL rosters, Lacazette has been very impressive.

3. Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Pep Guardiola made several important signings ahead of this season, but the one area where the Cityzens looked vulnerable last year has since been plugged. Walker has been strong defensively, and given the club another dimension getting forward in the attack.

2. Alvaro Morata (Chelsea)

He’s a bit different from Diego Costa, but the Spaniard really knows how to put the ball in the back of the net. He’s built a tremendous relationship with Cezar Azpilicueta, and it seems like every header ends up in the goal. Morata has been every bit the player Chelsea had hoped for.

1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

The Egyptian would probably win Player of the Year if the season ended right now, and for the price Liverpool paid they’d take Salah’s performances for the next five years with no questions asked. He has the most-deadly left foot in all of England, and arguably is only second in the world to Lionel Messi. Don’t be surprised if he cracks the 30-goal mark in 2017/18.

Video: Fekir’s brilliant free kick has Lyon leading PSG

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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.

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie injured in Schalke draw

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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 announces Gracia as Silva replacement

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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.

Pochettino on sloppy Spurs draw, dismisses Malcom “rumor”

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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.”