Premier League transfer needs: What every team must do in January window

2 Comments

With the January transfer window now open in England from today until Jan. 31, what does each team need?

[ MORE: All of PST’s festive features

Below we take a look at the most pressing needs for all 20 Premier League teams.

[ MORE: Premier League standings ]

Strikers will be in high demand this January, with plenty of clubs hoping to make the most of the loan market to help them kick on in the second half of the season.

TEAM MAIN NEED
source: CB Liverpool: With rumors of Neven Subotic potentially arriving at Anfield and both Sakho and Skrtel injury prone, perhaps Klopp should move to add another center back. Let’s see how active he is during his first transfer window in charge. Expect outgoings.
source: CM Manchester City: Fabian Delph hasn’t quite got going at City and Yaya Toure continues to underwhelm when playing as a true center midfielder. Long-term, you can see why they are targeting Paul Pogba but they probably won’t do any business in January.
source: CAM Leicester City: The surprise package of the season so far will look to keep hold of Vardy and Mahrez in January. If they do, adding a creative attacking midfielder may be a nice luxury as Kante, Drinkwater, King et al. are great two-way players but lack creativity at times. No need to spend big and disrupt the balance in the squad.
source: Striker Tottenham Hotspur: Bringing in someone to push Kane all the way and act as a back-up is key. They have Son and Njie who can play centrally but both are better out wide. A solid loan move for a striker would be key. Charlie Austin?
source: Striker Manchester United: Louis Van Gaal needs fresh impetus in attack. Fast. Lambasted for a lack of goals — just 22 in their opening 19 games — United are creating the chances but not finishing them. A loan move for a poacher is highly necessary.
source: DM Arsenal: The imminent signing of Basel’s Mohamaed Elneny is exactly what Wenger needed and subject to a work permit being granted, Arsenal’s main need of a new defensive midfielder has been filled. For once, the Gunners may have done their business early.
source: Winger Everton: With Steven Naismith said to be on his way to Norwich, a spot in Everton’s attack has opened up. Kevin Mirallas has returned recently but real pace out wide should compliment the power of Lukaku and creativity of Barkley.
source: Striker Crystal Palace: Alan Pardew‘s side are solid at the back and have plenty of pace out wide to create chances. Putting those chances away has been a problem all season long. Wickham and Chamakh aren’t prolific. Maybe taking a punt on a top score from the Championship is worth it?
source: ACM Southampton: Ronald Koeman‘s team are well stocked in most areas but you feel like a little more competition in the central attacking role could bring the best out of Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mane. Also, a striker could be needed with Graziano Pelle going through a lean patch.
source: CM Chelsea: With Fabregas and Matic struggling to protect the back four, getting a new midfielder to link defense and attack should be key. I’m talking about a true two-way player. A new CB is also a big need but it’s unlikely Chelsea will land their main target in that position, John Stones, until the summer.
source: Striker Stoke City: The Potters have flair in abundance in the final third with Afellay, Bojan and Shaqiri the three attacking midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Having a clinical poacher to finish off the chances would make a huge difference as Arnautovic blows a little hot and cold.
source: Striker West Bromwich Albion: With Saido Berahino on the bench more often than not, WBA are without their best forward due to his ongoing willingness to leave the Hawthorns. Maybe he will end up leaving and the Baggies can bring in a top replacement? They are the third lowest scorers in the PL.
source: CB Watford: Quique Sanchez Flores has worked miracles at Watford and they look healthy in attack with Ighalo and Deeney scoring for fun. At times you wonder if they could upgrade their defense and bringing in a new center back may help them continue their stunning start to life back in the PL.
source: Striker West Ham: Plagued by injuries up top, Slaven Billic’s team are starting to get healthy with Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia nearing full fitness. That said, the Hammers could do with some reinforcements up top. A loan move would be ideal.
source: Striker Swansea City: Okay, so first, they need a manager, but the Swans are the second lowest scorers in the league as Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis have stopped scoring. They look better at the back but adding quality in attack is crucial for their chances of staying up.


source:
ACM Sunderland: The Black Cats need major strengthening throughout their team and although bolstering their defense should be a priority, adding someone who can win games for them is key. Big Sam has come up with some gems in the past (Jay-Jay Okochoa and Youri Djorkaeff to name a few) and a playmaker could make all the difference.
source:
ACM Norwich City: If Naismith does arrive from Everton, he will be the man to provide extra attacking impetus and genuine PL quality in the final third. An experienced attacker will help Alex Neil‘s side.
source:
CB Bournemouth: After adding Juan Iturbe on loan to bolster their attack, the Cherries have moved to take care of their main need. Looking at CB, they still look short and if Elphick goes down again, they could be struggling.
source: ACM Newcastle United: A lack of goals and ingenuity in the final third has plagued the Magpies. If they can get service to Wijnadlum, Perez and Mitrovic then it would boost their chances of staying up.
source:  Striker Aston Villa: When you’re in as dire a situation as Villa, you need one thing: goals. Villa need help to score goals, with Jordan Ayew the only man scoring regularly. Who will want to join a team looking destined for the drop?

UEL Recap: Wolves earn huge road victory, and more

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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?

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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