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Pardew ‘furious’ after four WBA players steal taxi in Spain

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At least when you’re bottom of the Premier League table and appear headed for relegation, as West Bromwich Albion now find themselves, you can take the positive approach that “the only way to go from here is up.”

[ FA CUP: Man United advance, drawn against PL opposition in QF ]

Alternatively, four of your most senior players — Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, in this case — might have other ideas and elect to steal a cab during a late-season training camp in Barcelona. That’s the current state of affairs for the Baggies and manager Alan Pardew, who openly admits he was “furious” and felt “let down” — quotes from the Guardian:

“This is obviously not ideal. They broke the curfew and that’s unacceptable and I feel a bit let down by that.”

“It’s difficult for managers. Obviously, I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to stay faithful to the players and give them a chance to remedy the situation.”

The night’s timeline reads something like this: the quartet wanted to go out in the city center, but everything was closed late at night; they got a taxi to a McDonald’s by the Barcelona port; the driver left the car, at which point the players decided to drive back to the team hotel around 5:30 a.m.; the care was returned to the cab driver around 8 a.m.

Evans was stripped of his captaincy for Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Southampton. The players have since released the following statement through the club’s website:

“We felt it important we identify ourselves as the players involved in an incident which occurred during the training camp in Spain this week out of respect for team-mates who otherwise could be implicated by association. We freely acknowledge and apologize for the break of curfew which we accept represented a breach of the standards of professionalism required of us as representatives of West Bromwich Albion.

“The club has informed us that it will now conduct its own inquiry into the incident and we will cooperate fully. In the meantime, we would like to assure our supporters that this incident does not reflect the determination and resolve we possess to do all we can to recover a difficult season.”

With 11 games left to play, West Brom currently sit seven points adrift of safety; Pardew’s position grows more and more tenuous with each point dropped; and three of their final 11 games are against Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Daniel Sturridge out a week or two with new hamstring injury

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Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge – on loan at West Bromwich Albion – will miss a few more weeks of time after picking up a new hamstring injury just four minutes into the 3-0 loss to Chelsea on Monday.

Sturridge was withdrawn in favor of Jay Rodriguez after getting tangled up with Cesar Azpilicueta near the touchline.

The 28-year-old has been struck with a brutal spell of injuries in the past few years. Most recently, he missed six weeks after picking up a hamstring problem in training in early January. He had only just returned after moving on loan to West Brom, playing 78 total minutes through a trio of losses before re-injuring himself.

“We need him up and running as it’s goals we’ve struggled with,”West Brom manager Alan Pardew said after the loss to Chelsea. “He felt his hamstring after a 60-meter sprint in the first moments of the game. We’ll have to nurse him. He won’t play next week but hopefully the week after.”

Sturridge missed time with hip and hamstring injuries last season that sapped him of any type of consistency and form and leaving him to make just seven Premier League starts. The year before, he made just 11 Premier League starts while missing a full four months with knee, hip, and hamstring problems.

“It was a blow to lose Daniel on his first run,” Pardew said. “That didn’t give us the perfect start. We just can’t seem to get the goals that get us the wins, and they need to come, and come quickly, so Daniel’s recovery will be important now  we need to get him back.”

Watch Live: Chelsea v. West Bromwich Albion

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Chelsea host West Bromwich Albion on Monday at Stamford Bridge (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the struggling Blues aiming to get back on track against the Premier League’s bottom team.

Antonio Conte is under pressure after back-to-back defeats to Bournemouth and Watford by three-goal margins, while Alan Pardew’s Baggies are seven points from safety and in a dire situation in their battle against relegation.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

In team news Chelsea start Olivier Giroud up top for the first time.

West Brom have Evans, Gibbs and Krychowiak back after injury.

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PL roundup: Citizens crack 70 points, Spurs grab North London Derby

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Get caught up on all seven of Saturday’s Premier League fixtures…

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Manchester City 5-1 Leicester CityFULL RECAP

Raheem Sterling gave the Citizens a lead inside three minutes, but it was Sergio Aguero’s second-half outburst that paced Man City to their league-leading 23rd win of the year. The Argentine international netted on four separate occasions after halftime to extend the lead to 5-1, after Jamie Vardy had temporarily cancelled out Sterling’s opener. Pep Guardiola‘s side now sit 16 points above second-place Manchester United with 11 matches remaining.

 

Tottenham 1-0 ArsenalFULL RECAP

At the moment, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side have gone third in the PL courtesy of Harry Kane‘s header. The Englishman has now scored seven goals in as many matches during the last seven North London Derbies.

Everton 3-1 Crystal PalaceFULL RECAP

The Toffees climbed to within two points of seventh-place Burnley behind an offensive outburst from the hosts. Gylfi SigurdssonOumar Niasse and Tom Davies all scored after halftime to bring Sam Allardyce‘s men up to 34 points on the season at Goodison Park. Palace’s lone goal on the day came through Luka Milivojevic, who converted a penalty kick late on after Ashley Williams conceded the spot kick via a handball.

West Ham United 2-0 WatfordFULL RECAP

The Hammers are now unbeaten in seven of their last eight, and have climbed up to 12th place after Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic found the back of the net on Saturday. Meanwhile, Watford is level on 30 points with West Ham, despite the Hornets boasting a superior goal differential through 27 rounds of play.

Stoke City 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion — FULL RECAP

Xherdan Shaqiri helped capture a point for the Potters at the bet365 Stadium, after Jose Izquierdo had given Brighton the lead early on after a beautifully-executed team goal from the visitors. Stoke remains in 18th place on 25 points, while Brighton sits three points clear of a tightly-contested relegation battle.

Swansea City 1-0 Burnley — FULL RECAP

The Swans benefitted from Ki Sung-Yueng‘s second-half finish to go 15th place, while Burnley remains in seventh place despite the club having gone winless in their last 10 matches.

Everton 3-1 Crystal Palace: Toffees keep climbing

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  • Palace outshoots victors 16-11
  • Mangala leaves match injured
  • Sigurdsson, Niasse duel for Man of the Match

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Oumar Niasse, and Tom Davies scored second half goals as Everton climbed into ninth place with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees’ 34 points are two back of seventh place Burnley, who lost to Swansea City.

Luka Milivojevic converted a penalty for Palace’s lone goal. Roy Hodgson‘s Eagles are 14th, two points clear of the drop zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Clever work from Sigurdsson eaned him space to rip a 25-yard shot across goal that just missed the far post.

New signing Alexander Sorloth started a play in Everton’s end that finished with a Luka Milivojevic bullet wide of the near post.

Sigurdsson then slipped Oumar Niasse on goal, but the Senegalese striker couldn’t finish his chance. And Sigurdsson missed a chance to shoot from the back post when Joel Ward dove to push a cross out for a corner kick.

Idrissa Gana Gueye forced a fine diving save from Wayne Hennessey with a dipping effort from distance.

Theo Walcott drew a free kick from Timothy Fosu-Mensah after dribbling through three or four Eagles in the 28th minute.

Yohan Cabaye forced Jordan Pickford into a save, and Christian Benteke was offside when he scored off the ensuing corner kick.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Everton fittingly found its opener through Sigurdsson moments after halftime. James Tomkins gave the ball away with a poor clearance and then saw Sigurdsson’s shot off a Niasse feed deflect off him and into the goal.

Niasse made it 2-0 when Cuco Martina chipped a cross toward the penalty spot and the Senegalese headed across the goal into the side netting.

Davies was in the catbird seat to score a 76th minute insurance goal after Sigurdsson’s tight angle pass bounded off Hennessey and onto his path.

Ashley Williams gave away a harsh penalty when he handled a close-range shot in the box. Pickford got both hands on Milivojevic’s attempt, but it carried into the goal.