Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham United: Cleverley’s strike seals huge win for Villans

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Aston Villa beat West Ham United 1-0 at Villa Park on Saturday as Tim Sherwood’s side grabbed another huge three points as their battle against relegation continues.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

The only goal of the game came in the first half as Tom Cleverley grabbed his third goal in three matches to seperate the sides in a nerve-wrangling match in the Midlands.

Villa won consecutive home win for first time this season as they sit in 14th place on 38 points, three points above the relegation zone. As for West Ham, their slide continues as Sam Allardyce’s men slip down to 10th place on 47 points.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Villa started brightly as Leandro Bacuna whipped a free kick just wide in the 5th minute, then Charles N’Zgobia had an effort bravely blocked by Kevin Nolan moments later.

The hosts continued to pour forward and Cleverley’s well-struck volley forced Adrian into a save down low, with Carl Jenkinson cleaning up the loose ball for the Hammers. Spurred on by their recent good form, it was all Villa as Christian Benteke got free at the near post but fired wide.

In the 30th minute the opening goal arrived and it was no surprise that Villa grabbed it. A jinxing run into the left-hand side of the box from Jack Grealish put him clear of West Ham’s defense and he drilled the ball across goal which Cleverley slotted home for his third goal in as many games. 1-0 to Villa.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Villa’s goalkeeper Shay Given and Nolan were involved in a grappling match in the other box but Nolan was penalized for appearing to foul Given when it looked like Enner Valencia was hauled to the ground by Bacuna. Regardless, it was a first half to forget for West Ham as Villa went in ahead at the break. At half time Alex Song and Nene came on as the Hammers tried to shake things up.

After the break Villa continued to pour forward but West Ham went close twice in quick succession as James Collins saw his header saved by Shay Given and then Valencia scored but his effort was ruled out for offside. Benteke had a chance to double Villa’s lead but squandered it, however Sherwood’s side held on for their third win in four.


Aston Villa: Given, Bacuna (Hutton, 77′), Okore, Vlaar, Richardson, Westwood, Cleverley, Delph, N’Zogbia (Agbonlahor, 71′), Grealish (Sanchez, 90+2′), Benteke

Goal: Cleverley (31′)

West Ham: Adrian; Jenkinson, Collins, Burke, Cresswell; Noble (Cole, 78′), Kouyate; Downing, Nolan (Song, 45′), Amalfitano (Nene, 45′); Valencia

Liverpool youngster Elliott scores bicycle kick goal in reserve match

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Harvey Elliott came to Liverpool via Fulham as highly rated as youngsters come. He’s got plenty of maturing still to do both on and off the field, but his talent is undoubtable.

That was on display as Liverpool’s reserve squad took on Wolverhampton Wanderers in a Premier League 2 fixture. Just after halftime, Elliott leveled the score at 2-2 with a stunning bicycle kick at the near post on a corner. The skill it took to essentially catch up to the ball as it floated parallel past him was fabulous, and his strike was true as it caught the Wolves goalkeeper off guard, unable to catch up to the pace of the shot.

The 16-year-old has been a regular for the Liverpool first-team squad in Cup matches but has then taken the field for the U-23 squad to get him some playing time, and clearly it’s done wonders.

Elliott came over from Fulham this past summer for an undisclosed fee given his age. He had already become the youngest player to appear in a Premier League game, coming on for the Whites in a game in May against Wolves with relegation looming.

Watch Live: West Ham United v. Liverpool

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After weeks of having a game in hand on Premier League title chasers Manchester City and Leicester City, the full extent of Liverpool’s lead will be revealed when the Reds visit West Ham United on Wednesday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Once the full-time whistle blows at the London Stadium, all 20 PL sides will have played 24 games. Ahead of kickoff, Jurgen Klopp‘s side leads second-place Man City by a whopping 16 points.

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West Ham, meanwhile, sit 17th in the table and are only clear of the relegation zone by way of goal differential. That’s something that could very easily change between now and 5 p.m. ET.

LIVE, League Cup semifinal: Man City v. Man United

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It’s time for leg two of the Manchester derby in the semifinals of the EFL Cup (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET) at the Etihad Stadium.

[ LIVE: Man City v. Man United ]

Manchester City lead 3-1 following their first-leg dismantling of Manchester United at Old Trafford. In theory, it’s a mere formality to reach the final at Wembley, where they would take on Aston Villa following their late dramatics on Tuesday.

Click on the link above to follow the action live, while we will have you covered here at Pro Soccer Talk with all of the reaction and analysis.


Transfer rumor roundup: Richarlison to Barca for $110m? Spurs’ striker search

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Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via

A roundup of all of the major transfer rumors, most notably those involving Premier League clubs, on Wednesday…

[ MORE: Spurs complete Bergwijn transfer from PSV ]

Barcelona have reportedly had a $110-million bid for Richarlison rejected by Everton. That’s a mind-blowing number for a club like Everton to receive, but the Toffees apparently didn’t have to think long before saying “thanks, but no thanks.” Luis Suarez is expected to miss four months due to a knee injury, leaving the Blaugrana somewhat for a replacement. Everton, however, have no desire to lose a key member of their squad with little to no time to sign a replacement.

After adding winger Steven Bergwijn on Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur are heavily linked with a number of strikers as options to replace the injured Harry Kane. AC Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek is the most frequently linked (and most expensive) player coming out of the rumor mill, while Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has come up as an emergency option (he is reportedly open to the idea). However, Jose Mourinho has reportedly been told he has just $13 million to acquire a new forward after spending a combined $108 million on Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes.

Elsewhere in Tottenham rumors, full back Kyle Walker-Peters is expected to complete a loan move (without an option to buy) to Southampton in the very near future. The 22-year-old has been on the fringe of the first-team squad for what feels like five years now, but has never quite broken through. This could be Spurs putting into the shop window a player who they don’t believe is in their long-term plans in order to drive up his price tag come this summer.

Sheffield United look set to make a big push for a top-six finish, as the Blades are linked with moves for a pair of highly rated young players: Richairo Zivkovic, from Chinese side Changchun Yatai, and Sander Berge, from Genk. Zivkovic was one of the most highly touted youngsters in Europe before moving to China on a big-money deal; Berge has been linked with some of the biggest clubs across Europe in recent years, all the while the 21-year-old has become a fixture for the Belgian side.