Joe Allen

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Man Utd legend Giggs beams after Wales hiring

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Ryan Giggs has accepted an offer to coach the Wales men’s national team, calling it “an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”

His unveiling comes a day after reports he’d be hired by Wales for his first full-time managerial gig. The 44-year-old had a 2-1-1 record as interim boss of Manchester United.

“I want to get the fans off their seats,” Giggs said. “I’m going to give it my all like I did when I played. It is probably the proudest moment of my life to lead my country.”

[ MORE: Stoke fills manager post ]

Giggs made nearly 1000 appearances for Manchester United and 64 more for Wales in a glittering 23-year playing career. He won 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, and two UEFA Champions League trophies.

From the BBC:

“I’m not on social media so I haven’t seen much of the criticism. I know the criticism is going to come but the way to combat that is to win games.

“The beauty of football is everyone has an opinion. It’s about striking that balance. All I can do is work as hard as I can to produce a winning team.”

Wales missed out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup after a dramatic run to the semifinals of EURO 2016. The side has Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Ashley Williams, and Ben Davies amongst its assets.

Transfer rumor roundup: Liverpool demand $220m for Coutinho

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year deceptive, draining, trying time of the Premier League campaign: transfer speculation season.

[ MORE: Wenger appears resigned to losing Sanchez, Ozil this summer ]

Manchester United’s search for their full backs of the future could lead to a $70-million bid (release clause) for Napoli left back Faouzi Ghoulam, according to Portuguese publication Record, which also states 22-year-old Spaniard Alex Grimaldo would then move to Napoli for $35 million. The 23-year-old Algerian international has been on the radars of Man United-sized clubs for a couple years now, but is still only just entering the prime of his career.

Arsene Wenger appears resigned to the fact that Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will leave Arsenal this summer, for free, but insists that no offers have been made to acquire either of the Gunners’ star attackers this month.

[ PL PREVIEW: Man City, Spurs in action on Tuesday (TV, stream info) ]

Whenever If Philippe Coutinho makes his long-rumored move from Liverpool to Barcelona, he will only be allowed to do so for a fee of nearly $220 million — only $43 million short of Neymar’s world-record transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

Huddersfield Town are reportedly “in talks” to sign 23-year-old Monaco defender Terence Kongolo. The Dutch international only moved from Feyenoord to Ligue 1 in the summer, for $15 million. UPDATE: Huddersfield have announced the loan signing of Kongolo.

Stoke City have rejected West Ham United’s offer for midfielder Joe Allen, according to ESPN UK. The Potters will reportedly continue to reject any bids, at any price, that come in for the 27-year-old Welshman.

Huddersfield 1-1 Stoke City: Sobhi snares point

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  • Sobhi scores 2nd PL goal in four days
  • Ince nets first PL goal since Feb. 2014
  • Stoke moves 13th

Ramadan Sobhi‘s equalizer snagged a point for Stoke City against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Tuesday.

Tom Ince scored for Huddersfield Town, which sits 11th with 23 points. That’s three points ahead of 13th place Stoke.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ince released his goal-scoring frustration by belting Collin Quaner‘s cut back into the goal, as the Premier League’s leader in shots without a goal saw his fate change early.

Jonas Lossl did his part to keep it 1-0 at the other end, as Town cleared the ball off the line at least two if not three times depending on how you qualify your chances.

A spectacular offering from Steve Mounie almost doubled Town’s advantage after halftime, with his overhead kick heading over the frame.

Town had the better of the chances at the game’s second goal, but Sobhi’s the one who found it. Joe Allen played a ball behind the backs and the Egyptian leveled the score.

Referee Anthony Taylor resisted the urge to call a penalty for Town when Aaron Mooy was taken down by Allen.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Stoke City 3-1 West Brom: Potters grab huge win

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  • Stoke stop run of three-straight defeats
  • West Brom are currently on longest ever winless streak, no win in 19
  • Joe Allen bags goal, assist

Stoke City battled to a 3-1 win over fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

The Potters raced into a 2-0 lead at half time thanks to Joe Allen and Erik Choupo-Moting but Salmon Rondon made it 2-1 and despite plenty of pressure from the Baggies, Ramadan Sobhi scored late on to seal the three points.

Stoke move up to 14th place on 19 points, while West Brom remain second from bottom with Alan Pardew yet to win a game in charge.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Potters took the lead early on as Allen scored his first goal since February. USMNT man Geoff Cameron won the ball in central midfield and Choupo-Moting’s shot was blocked but fell into the path of Peter Crouch who crossed for Allen to finish. 1-0.

That opener eased the nerves for Stoke but Salmon Rondon twice went close as he first missed an absolute sitter but was deemed to be offside, and then Jack Butland denied the Venezuelan international with a fine stop down low.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Right on half time Choupo-Moting doubled Stoke’s lead as he latched onto Allen’s pass, the calmly rounded Ben Foster to slot home.

2-0. Too easy for Stoke.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

It was way too easy for West Brom to get back into the game at the start of the second half as a long ball over the top from  of Stoke’s defense found Rondon and he slotted home to make it 2-1. Game on.

The home fans grew increasingly nervous in the second half as Butland kept out Jonny Evans and Jay Rodriguez, plus Mame Diouf should have done put the game to bed for Stoke but Foster denied him.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Stoke did score in stoppage time as Ramadan made the most of Foster coming up for a set piece and the Egyptian slotted into an empty net to send Stoke’s fans wild.

PL AT HALF: Saivet’s slick free kick, Aguero goal amonst highlights

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Four of six Premier League 10 a.m. ET kickoffs have seen at least a goal as the Premier League fits nine matches into this eve of Christmas Eve.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

Manchester City 1-0 Bournemouth

Sergio Aguero has improved his record as Man City’s all-time leading scorer with his 100th goal at the Etihad Stadium, moving the Premier League leaders into the lead before the half hour mark.

West Ham United 1-1 Newcastle United

Making his first Premier League start for Rafa Benitez, midfielder Henri Saivet has been the architect of awful and amazing. He scored on the free kick above, moments after doing this:

Swansea City 0-0 Crystal Palace

The Welsh hosts may’ve deserved a penalty, and were let off the hook at the other end by an uncharacteristic Wilfried Zaha stumble.

Southampton 1-0 Huddersfield Town

Charlie Austin flicked Wes Hoedt‘s cross behind Jonas Lossl to open the scoring at St. Mary’s.

Stoke City 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

Joe Allen has scored a potentially massive goal as the Potters aim for three points in an early relegation six-pointer, and Eric Choupo-Moting doubled the advantage before the break.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Watford

The Seagulls started very bright, but have so far been unable to manufacture a goal.