Jonny Evans

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UEFA World Cup Qualifying: Home favorites including England, Germany dominate

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It was a good day to be on home soil as home teams won eight of the nine UEFA World Cup qualifiers on Monday afternoon. Most teams were expected to win handily, and that they did, with two four-goal margins of victory, two three-goal margins, and one six-goal margin.

England 2-1 Slovakia

Marcus Rashford shook off a poor start to score a fabulous winning goal, bursting into the attacking third and finishing expertly into the top corner as England moved five points clear at the top of Group F with a big 2-1 victory over 2nd place Slovakia.

The home side went down in just the third minute, as Rashford inadvisably tried to dribble out of his own half, instead dispossessed, and a wonderful ball over the top saw Stanislav Lobotka score around a poor Joe Hart. England fought back, however, as they would level things up before halftime with Eric Dier heading in a corner from a tight angle. Then Rashford’s goal on the hour mark signaled the winning touch.

[ MORE: US prepares for must-win in Honduras ]

Germany 6-0 Norway

The defending World Cup champions rolled from start to finish as they trounced Norway to move closer to mathematical qualification. Timo Werner scored twice and goals from Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler, Leon Goretzka, and Mario Gomez rounded out the match.

The win keeps Germany five points clear of Northern Ireland, with everyone else in the group eliminated.

Northern Ireland 2-0 Czech Republic

Northern Ireland kept its automatic qualification hopes alive with a smooth 2-0 win over the Czech Republic. Jonny Evans scored a diving header from a tight angle to start things off, and Chris Brunt dispatched a bouncing free-kick just before halftime. The win is the fifth in a row for Northern Ireland in UEFA qualification.

Poland 3-0 Kazakhstan

A trio of strikes from Arkadiusz Milik, Kamil Glik, and Robert Lewandowski saw Poland ease by Group E minnows Kazakhstan. Milik hit a diving header similar to Evans’ 11 minutes in, and as Poland pummeled David Loria’s net all game, they would eventually grab a second in the 74th minute with Glik delivering a powerful header off a corner. Lewandowski finished things off from the spot with four minutes remaining.

Poland’s position is still in question as they sit just three points above both Montenegro and Denmark in Group E.

Scotland 2-0 Malta

Christophe Berra and Leigh Griffiths gave Scotland a comprehensive win over point-less Malta. The win keeps Scotland alive in crowded Group F, even on points with Slovenia at 14 and a point back of 2nd place Slovakia.

Armenia 1-4 Denmark

Denmark got a quick scare as lowly Armenia scored just six minutes in, but they righted the ship not long later and cruised to a 4-1 victory. After Ruslan Koryan’s opener, Thomas Delaney scored not 10 minutes later with his head to level things back up, with the assist coming from a deep Henrik Dalsgaard cross. Christian Eriksen provided the eventual winner in the 29th minute via a free-kick, but the day was Delaney’s. He scored his second on an impressive left-footed drive from outside the box, and picked up his hat-trick in stoppage time heading in off a corner.

Just Friday, Delaney had picked up his first goal for Denmark in his 18th cap, and the hat-trick makes this a memorable international break for the Werder Bremen midfielder.

Montenegro 1-0 Romania

Stevan Jovetic grabbed the game’s only goal in the 75th minute as Montenegro picked up all three points to keep pace with Denmark. The former Manchester City man headed in a cross from Lazio winger Adam Marusic to secure the vital win. The game featured plenty of wastefulness from both sides, with the teams combining for 27 shots, but just five of them on target.

Slovenia 4-0 Lithuania

Slovenia kept in stride with Slovakia as they downed eliminated Lithuania on a pair from Atalanta attacker Josip Ilicic, plus late goals from Benjamin Verbic and Valter Birsa. The brace doubled Ilicic’s international goal tally in his 45th cap, and keeps Slovenia even with Scotland on points and just one back of Slovakia, with all three countries trailing England in Group F.

Azerbaijan 5-1 San Marino

Azerbaijan may be eliminated, but they showed strength as they brushed aside Group C minnows San Marino. Afran Ismayilov hit twice while Araz Abdullayev and Rasad Sadiqov each added to the goal tally which was rounded off by an own-goal.

Transfer rumor wrap: Mahrez to Chelsea; Evans to Arsenal

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Chelsea have been linked with an audacious move for Riyad Mahrez late in the window.

Mahrez, 26, released a statement earlier this summer saying he wanted to leave Leicester City but the Algerian winger remains with the Foxes after AS Roma have had three bids turned down.

Multiple reports claim that Chelsea will now swoop for Mahrez and are set to offer $55 million for the 2015-16 PFA Player of the Year.

We all know Mahrez was the star of the show in Leicester’s stunning Premier League title win two seasons ago, but last season his form dipped dramatically (except for the UEFA Champions League) as he hoped for a move away with Barcelona, Arsenal and others said to be interested.

Despite his stance that he wanted a move away, Mahrez has started this season extremely well for Leicester and that means interest in him will be high until the end of the transfer window.

Do Chelsea need another attacking midfielder? With Pedro, Willian, Eden Hazard, Victor Moses and others around, it might seem a little silly to add Mahrez but if the price is right, we all know he can deliver big moments in big games in the PL.


According to the Telegraph Arsenal is contemplating a move for West Brom defender Jonny Evans.

The Baggies skipper, 27, is a man in demand with both Leicester City and Manchester City said to have had bids rejected for Evans over the past week.

Former Manchester United center back Evans was targeted by Arsenal a while back but he instead joined West Brom where he has excelled over the past two season with regular action.

The Northern Ireland national team captain is said to be valued at over $40 million by West Brom but with Gabriel joining Valencia and Shkodran Mustafi likely leaving for Inter Milan in the next few days, Arsene Wenger will need defensive reinforcements, especially considering their recent displays.


Kevin Wimmer has joined Stoke City from Tottenham Hotspur in a $23.3 million move.

The Austrian defender, 24, has spent the past two seasons as mainly a bit-part player with Spurs but has shown enough to suggest he will be a good signing for Stoke.

After signing a five-year deal with the Potters the Austrian international revealed he is ready to kick-start his career in the PL following just 15 appearances in the league over the past two seasons.

“I am just so happy to be at Stoke now because I really wanted to come here, to a Club with such big tradition,” Wimmer said. “I feel really good and am very excited about meeting up with everybody and getting ready for the matches ahead.”

Wimmer will tussle with Bruno Martins Indi, Ryan Shawcross, Kurt Zouma and Geoff Cameron for a starting spot in the Potters’ three-man central defense.


Sky Sports say left back Kieran Gibbs has decided against joining Watford with the deal breaking down due to personal terms.

Gibbs, 27, was reportedly ready to join the Hornets but with just one year left on his deal he has instead opted to stick around at the Gunners.

The England international has found minutes increasingly hard to come by over the last 12 months and if he moved to Watford he would have only had Jose Holebas for competition at left back.

West Brom are said to be interested in signing Gibbs.

West Bromwich rejects latest bid from Man City for Evans

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Manchester City’s latest transfer target is a Premier League veteran, but he’s not going without a fight.

West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis confirmed that the club had rejected a transfer bid for former Manchester United centerback Jonny Evans from Manchester City. It’s reported that the transfer bid was worth $23.2 million and that Man City are willing to up it to around $28.3 million, though Pulis isn’t budging.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

“We have turned down an offer for Jonny,” Pulis said. “We do not want to sell Jonny and we do not need to sell him. It would have to be a very, very good offer.

“Jonny understands the situation and where everything is. Jonny is happy here and wants to get on with his football. He is one of our best players. We all understand where we are.”

Evans has made 61 starts over the past two seasons for West Bromwich but it’s a question as to whether he’d be first choice at Manchester City, with Vincent Kompany, John Stones and even Nicolas Otamendi ahead of Evans in the pecking order.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t make sense for West Bromwich to sign one of its top players at this point in the transfer window, with less than a month to find a replacement in both the dressing room and on the field.

For all the talk about needing to improve defensively over the offseason, Man City manager Pep Guardiola has so far only been able to bring in new fullbacks, but perhaps his 3-5-2 formation displayed in the opening match of the season can provide more defensive stability for the team, even if Kompany misses extensive time with injury like in the past.

Man City has $23 million Evans bid shot down by WBA

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Could Jonny Evans be the latest player to cross Manchester’s red and blue divide, albeit with a stop in between?

Reports Wednesday say West Bromwich Albion has rejected a $23 million Manchester City bid for the Northern Irish center back.

[ MORE: UCL Wednesday wrap ]

$23 million? That’s like 40 percent of a Kyle Walker!

Evans, 29, is the Baggies captain and a key piece of the club’s aims to continue its long stay in the Premier League.

He joined Manchester United’s academy at age 16 and stayed at Old Trafford through 2015, taking loan opportunities at Royal Antwerp and Sunderland on the way.

At United, Evans won three Premier League titles and two League Cups, and also has a Championship win from one of his two stints at Sunderland.

The 61-times capped Belfast native would give City a key component for Premier League play along with a center back corps of Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, and John Stones. Eliaquim Mangala completes their veteran depth, and is certainly City’s weakest position.

Would West Brom sell at any reasonable price? The Baggies are not deep at center back, either — not too many clubs are — and will be in a boatload of trouble without Evans. And given the transfer market, finding a proper replacement at under $30 million is going to be difficult (Reread that sentence. What a summer).

It’s another argument for the transfer window closing before the start of the season.

Premier League Preview: Everton vs. West Brom

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  • Toffees won 2-1 on Aug. 20
  • WBA unbeaten at Goodison since ’13
  • Everton leads all-time 68W-37D-59L

Everton looks to keep building toward a Top Six spot with a visit from stubborn West Brom at Goodison Park on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: WBA “Behind the Badge” this weekend ]

West Brom lost to lowly Crystal Palace last week, but was previously on a similar course to their Saturday hosts. The eighth place Baggies (4o points) are four points back of Everton, as both cross their fingers that one of the Top Six sides stumble down the stretch.

You have to go back to January 2013 to find the last Everton win over West Brom at Goodison, as the Baggies have claimed a win and two draws in their last three trips.

What they’re saying

Romelu Lukaku on Everton’s chase for sixth“The loss against Tottenham was disappointing because [Manchester] United dropped points and I thought maybe that was the time for us to catch them up.  But we have two home games now and we have to get a good result against a difficult side on Saturday. But we’ll work hard today, work harder tomorrow, harder the day after and we’ll be ready for the weekend.”

Jonny Evans on West Brom’s surprising season: “I don’t think it’s experience, it’s just when you get a good bunch of hard-working lads together. You look around and think ‘He’s got my back, he’ll cover me, I’ll cover him’ and you get that mentality. You want winners in your team and I think that’s what the manager is. He demands his players are like that also.”

Prediction

Stung by a close loss to Spurs, Everton gives West Brom its first losing PL streak since Boxing Day. 3-1, Toffees.