Premier League transfer needs: What’s been done and what’s left to do by Monday?

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The Premier League transfer window will close up for several months on Monday, and it’s possible this pretty inactive window could go down with a resounding thud.

[ RELATED: Latest transfer gossip ]

Louis van Gaal doesn’t expect to do much at Manchester United despite seemingly overwhelming need at the back, and plenty of other clubs have either stood pat or not added major pieces at all.

Let’s take a gander at how things may’ve changed since JPW checked the needs earlier this month.

PRIORITY
source:  Center back Chelsea: Are they really going to bring in Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina? My goodness, the rich would feel uncomfortably richer in a truly “1 percent” sort of way.
source:  Defender/mid Manchester City: They’ve added Wilfried Bony from Swansea City, and both he and Yaya Toure’s returns from the Africa Cup of Nations will feel like a January haul. Could they use depth at holding mid or center back? Perhaps.
source:  Defenders   Manchester United: So far the Red Devils have brought in No. 2 keeper Victor Valdes and an unheard of commodity from semi-pro Salford City. Could they really make it through January without adding a single defender of consequence?!?
source:   Center Back West Ham: Brought in Doneil Henry of Toronto FC while letting Mauro Zarate skate on loan to QPR. Darren Fletcher is having a medical today in what would be a major coup for the Irons. Considering how much they added in the summer, the add would be a big one. They have not addressed the theoretical impending departure of Winston Reid.
source:  Holding Mid Arsenal: Snared 17-year-old midfielder Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw before hauling in the big one: Villarreal center back Gabriel Paulista. He’ll give the Gunners good depth behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
source:   Striker Stoke City: They said Peter Crouch could leave town this window, but QPR was rebuffed and the big one has signed a two-year extension. Center back Philipp Wollscheid has arrived on loan from Bayer Leverkusen, but striker depth has not been addressed. Perhaps Bojan Krkic’s season-ending injury could send them late into the market for an attacker?
source:   CB/Striker/GK Everton: No one’s come in yet, and Samuel Eto’o has skipped town. Tim Howard will return soon enough. Can the Toffees find their way without any reinforcements?
source:   Defender/GK Newcastle United: The Magpies have held onto Moussa Sissoko so far, which feels like a victory. But they still are in a predicament at center back, with Steven Taylor out for the year and Fabricio Coloccini matched up with either makeshift Paul Dummett or dicey Mike Williamson. Most of the players linked with Newcastle are the younger crowd, as that’s how chief scout Graham Carr operates.
source:  Striker Burnley: It’s really turned into “Hold onto Danny Ings” at all costs, right? Well so far, the Clarets have done that. Could that possibly be enough for the small club to stay up?
source:   Striker Southampton: Jack Cork has left for Swansea City, and James Ward-Prowse has signed an extension at St. Mary’s. Other than that, we’re waiting to see what further gems Ronald Koeman might unearth.
source:   Winger Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs have now watched DeAndre Yedlin come into town, and Kyle Naughton depart for Swansea. Will Mauricio Pochettino add anyone before the end of the window?
source:   Attacking mid Sunderland: Out goes Jozy, in comes Jermain Defoe. It’s a good get for the Black Cats, who gain in Premier League experience and production by the bushel.
source:   Striker/Winger Aston Villa: Fabian Delph is staying put long-term, and now creative midfielder Carles Gil has arrived from Valencia. Darren Bent has left for Derby County, and Scott Sinclair has been freed from Manchester City. Can the latter return to his once promising Premier League form?
source:  CB/Striker  West Brom: Callum McManaman is a sneaky good pickup from Wigan Athletic, and keeping Saido Berahino around will feel like a victory for the Baggies almost regardless of what happens in the next few days.
source:   Center Back QPR: Just a crime scene. Mauro Zarate is in on loan and the criminally used Jordon Mutch leaves Harry Redknapp’s side for Crystal Palace. What in the world is ‘Arry doing over there, and why hasn’t Tony Fernandes pulled the plug?
source:   CB/Striker Liverpool: Bringing Daniel Sturridge back sure is a nice way to end January, but what else? Suso and Oussama Assaidi are gone, and Steven Gerrard will join them. With all the new additions from the summer, Liverpool is still coming together.
source:   Center back Crystal Palace: Look at Alan Pardew go! The man can do no wrong at Selhurst Park, and is bringing in longtime NUFC man Shola Ameobi to help the strike force. Jordon Mutch was a Pardew target back during the kid’s time at Cardiff, and now the manager gets him in here, while Yaya Sanogo arrives to tantalize from Arsenal. Not bad.
source:   Striker Swansea City: Bony leaves for a load of dough, and Garry Monk makes a few shrewd pickups in Kyle Naughton, Kyle Naughton and Jack Cork. Still could use a striker in a hurry, though.
source:   Striker/CM/CB Hull City: Steve Bruce’s club has done very little, and have plenty of holes to fill. It’s unlikely they get that done by Monday. How much trouble are the Tigers in when it comes to relegation?
source:  Defenders Leicester City: Andrej Kramaric and Mark Schwarzer are solid pickups, with the former being a Chelsea target and choosing the Foxes. Can Nigel Pearson snare a bit more help in defense?

UEL Recap: Wolves earn huge road victory, and more

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Wolverhampton Wanderers has one proverbial foot back in a European competition, potentially breaking a 40-year drought for the club.

Wolves defeated Torino on the road, 3-2, in the first leg match between the two sides on Thursday at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. Mexican international Raul Jimenez continued his red-hot form with another goal, while Diogo Jota scored as well for Wolves.

The Premier League side took the lead late in the first half thanks to an own goal, as Gleison Bremer headed in a Wolves free kick expertly into the side netting. Jota then added the second for Wolves in the 59th minute after an individual moment of brilliance from Adama Traore down the right side of the box, completely bamboozling his defender.

Torino’s Lorenzo di Silvestre answered just two minutes later off a late run into the box and a powerful header, but Jimenez then gave Wolves another two-goal advantage, as well as another crucial away goal. Jimenez ran with the ball from midfield and with Nicolas N’Koulou retreating, Jimenez took the space and scored.

Torino striker Andrea Belotti gave the Italians some late hope with a penalty kick goal in the 89th minute, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback. Anything but a defeat by more than two goals for Wolves will be enough for the club to make it to the Europa League group stage.

Here’s more results from around the Europa League on Thursday afternoon:


Celtic top AIK at home

The Scottish champions appear to have brushed off the disappointment of exiting the UEFA Champions League with a solid 2-0 win at Celtic Park against AIK Solna on Thursday evening.

James Forrest scored the opener for Celtic, taking advantage of a ricochet on the edge of the box to unleash a strike that AIK goalkeeper Oscar Linner couldn’t parry away. Odsonne Edouard then put the icing on the cake with a tremendous free kick from 30-yards out to give Celtic it’s 2-0 lead.

Neil Lennon’s side then held off AIK late to secure the shutout.

Thursday’s Europa League Playoff Round first leg qualifying matches:


Astana 3-0 BATE
Ararat Armenia 2-1 F91 Dudelange
Malmo FF 3-0 Bnei Yehudah Tel Aviv
Suduva 0-0 Ferencvaros
Feyenoord 3-0 Hapoel Be’er Sheva
Ludogorets 0-0 Maribor
FC Copenhagen 2-1 Riga
AEK Athens 1-3 Trabzonspor
Legia Warsaw 0-0 Rangers

Crossroads: What if Arsenal hadn’t gone unbeaten?

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The 2003-2004 Premier League season will forever be remembered for Arsenal’s Invincibles, the first team in history to go an entire 38-game season undefeated.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

But what if they hadn’t?

On the latest episode of NBC Sports’ new series Crossroads, host Aaron West dives into the Invincible season for Arsenal, and what would have happened if Arsenal lost along the way. Of course, we know that didn’t happen, and it wasn’t until the next season against Manchester United that Arsenal’s unbeaten run of 49 games was ended.

Watch the latest episode of Crossroads above, and check out previous episodes on Manchester City and Liverpool on NBC Sports‘ Youtube Page.

 

Oxlade-Chamberlain signs contract extension at Liverpool

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While Liverpool hasn’t been busy in the transfer market, it continues to be busy upgrading its first team contracts.

The club announced on Thursday that it had signed midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to a new, undisclosed long-term contract. The BBC reported that the new contract tied Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool through 2023, after his last deal was set to expire in 2022.

[READ: JPW’s Premier League Picks]

“I’m really, really excited – it’s been in the pipeline for a little while, so it’s nice to finally get it done and just extend my time here, which I am really looking forward to,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told Liverpool’s website in a statement. “I feel like I missed out on a year, which I obviously did, so it’s really exciting for me to be able to sign. It’s something that I feel is an opportunity to give that year back and make up for lost time – and hopefully put in some good performances to make amends for not being around last year.

“You’ve got to count your blessings every time you get an opportunity like this, you don’t get the chance to play for Liverpool Football Club every day. I am really excited to be able to extend my time here.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain is finally healthy after a long, long recovery from a horrific knee injury suffered in April 2018. The England international missed out on the World Cup as well as the Champions League final, though he was able to make the field off the bench towards the end of last season, eventually making the bench for Liverpool’s Champions League victory in June.

With some injuries and fatigue to other players, Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first Premier League start in more than a year last Saturday against his former club Southampton, playing 89 minutes in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory. He also started and played the first half in Liverpool’s UEFA Super Cup win over Chelsea on penalty kicks.

This deal is ultimately a good-will gesture from both sides, making up for the year lost that Oxlade-Chamberlain endured after the knee injury in the Champions League semifinal. It could take him more time, but Liverpool is certainly hoping that he can make a full recovery and come good for the Reds as it looks to win its first Premier League title, and first top league title in England since 1990.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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There are only two teams with perfect records through the opening two weeks of the new Premier League season, as there continues to be plenty of surprises.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Bournemouth 1-3 Man City – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Man United 3-1 Crystal Palace – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Tottenham 3-0 Newcastle – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM] 

Brighton 1-1 Southampton – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

Watford 1-2 West Ham – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Sheffield United 1-2 Leicester City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

 

Norwich City 2-2 Chelsea – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Aston Villa 2-1 Everton – (Friday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Wolves 1-2 Burnley – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM