TRANSFER GRADES: How did each Premier League team fare in January?

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Below is a look at how each Premier League team fared during the 2016 January transfer window.

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With plenty of ins and outs this month, it’s safe to say some did better business than others.

Do you agree with these grades?

TEAM GRADE
source:  A- Newcastle: Adding Shelvey and Townsend for $17.3 million each was pricey but worth it from the top spenders in January. Saivet will add competition and grabbing Doumbia on loan is a gamble which could save them from relegation. Brave, and a very good, window.
source:  B+ Watford: The Hornets kept splashing the cash. Bringing in Pantilimon, Suarez and Amrabat made their squad stronger and adding two prospects then loaning them out on Deadline Day. Very good way for the PL new boys.
 

source:

 B+ Stoke City: Mark Hughes and Stoke kept up their trend of surprising transfers late on in the window. Giannelli Imbula arrived on Deadline Day for a club record $26 million and will strengthen them considerably in midfield. The Potter look to keep pushing for the top six.
source:  B Bournemouth: The Cherries added plenty of bodies in attack, which is what they needed. Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban have settled quickly, while Juan Iturbe looks dangerous. A top defensive addition would’ve made this window better.
source:  B Norwich City: Like Bournemouth, the newly-promoted Canaries added plenty of numbers as they aim to avoid the drop. Naismith and Bamford arrived up top, while Klose and Pinto arrived at the back. Promising youngster James Maddison joined late on as Alex Neil bought well.
source:  B Everton: The Toffees were very quiet up until the last day and then they signed Oumar Niasse from Lokomotiv Moscow for $20 million. Perhaps Roberto Martinez should’ve spent more on new defenders but Niasse will add goals and assists and is the Russian Premier League’s reigning player of the year. Tidy.
source:  C+ Sunderland: Kone, Khazri, Kirchhoof and N’Doye all arrived, while Sam Allardyce did some necessary trimming to their squad. Not a bad window but will the new additions be enough to keep them up?
source:  C+ West Brom: The main aim in this window was not to sell Saido Berahino to a relegation rival and chairman Jeremy Peace achieved that. Alex Pritchard coming in will add some trickery in midfield.
source:  C+ Crystal Palace: Emmanuel Adebayor arrived on a short-term deal and could deliver the goals to push Palace into the top six. With his temperament, he’s a gamble, but Palace need goals to keep their good start to the season going.
source:  C+ West Ham: The Hammers brought in Emmanuel Emenike on loan to help push them into the top five and his goals will help. Adding Sam Byram at right back is also a shrewd acquisition.
source:  C+ Leicester City: The Foxes were hoping to get a move for Loic Remy or Ahmed Musa over the line late in the window but the title-chasers did add Demarai Gray and Daniel Amarety during January. They also kept hold of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.
source:  C Southampton: Saints had two aims in the window: keep hold of Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama. Check. Add a striker. Check. A $6 million move for Charlie Austin could be the bargain of the season. Job done for Ronald Koeman.
source:  C- Swansea City: Leroy Fer joined on loan and striker Alberto Paloschi arrived from Chievo in Italy. Swansea fans will be concerned with the hole Jonjo Shelvey has left. A relegation battle now beckons. Can this squad cope?
source:  C- Manchester City: Not a lot going on at all for City… well, on the playing side at least. With Pellegrini confirming he’s out in the summer and Guardiola confirmed as his replacement, pretty simple to expect no ins or outs.
source:  D Liverpool: Steven Caulker arriving on loan was as good as it got for Liverpool, plus youngster Marko Grujic arrived. The pursuit of Alex Teixeira turned into a saga and Shakhtar Donestk wanted $75 million for the Brazilian. It is likely Jurgen Klopp will go back in for him this summer when his price drops.
source:  D Manchester United: Like Liverpool, a little disappointing for United. They added nobody and you have to think someone like Berahino would make a difference between now and the end of the season. Maybe Louis Van Gaal has spent all the cash?
source:  D Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny was Arsenal’s only signing and they let Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Debuchy go on loan. This was a big chance for the Gunners to add some real depth and perhaps another attacking option to breath new life into their title charge.
source:  D Chelsea: The Blues were trying to move on Falcao and Remy until the end, and many Chelsea fans were hoping for a new striker (Pato joined on loan but is more of a winger and unlikely to feature often) to ease the pressure on Costa. USMNT youngster Miazga arrived which was big news Stateside. That said, the biggest news in January from Stamford Bridge was John Terry not being handed a new deal and he will leave this summer.
source:  D- Tottenham:  A real missed opportunity for Spurs. Berahino, again, would’ve made sense and with Jan Vertonghen going down they look a little short at the back. Just five points off the top, why didn’t Spurs board back Pochettino and give him some money to spend?
source:  F Aston Villa: A very, very bad window for Remi Garde. No new arrivals means the Villans will struggle on between now and the end of the season. How did this happen? Is owner Randy Lerner already resigned to relegation?

 

Top Premier League storylines: Matchweek 16

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Matchweek 16 is upon us.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Here’s what we’ll be keeping an eye on when this weekend’s fixtures kick off Saturday morning…


Manchester derby, perhaps you’ve heard of it 

Manchester City might not take home their third straight PL title, given Liverpool’s 11-point lead after 15 games, but they can still maintain their superiority in Manchester. They’re well on their way to doing so in the table, now they can get (another0 one over the Red Devils on Saturday. At what point do they take over the title of “bigger club?” Asking for a friend…


The start of something big for Chelsea?

Marco Silva is gone with Everton siting 18th in the table. Chelsea’s transfer ban has been cut in half with the Blues sitting fourth. Could this week get any worse? for Everton? Could it get any better for Chelsea?


Desperation time for Arsenal

Unai Emery was fired, which was supposedly to magically fix all of the problems at Arsenal. That’s how it’s supposed to work, right? Well, we’re two games into the Freddie Ljungberg (interim) era, and the Gunners have just one point to show for their efforts, and they had to come back from a goal down (twice) against 19th-place Norwich City to get it. Every trip to West Ham is a tricky one for Arsenal, and that’s doubly true given their current form (winless in their last nine games – all competitions).


Does Liverpool’s lead grow? Shrink? Hold steady?

From now until the end of the season, it’s Liverpool’s title to lose. No matter how you look at it, it’s theirs to either win or lose. Therefore, every time out presents a chance to grow their lead, or the risk of seeing it shrink should the drop points and one of the chasing sides to take all three. The math behind it is a bit boring, but if they don’t drop more than 10 points the rest of the season, they’ll win the title. Of course, their margin for error is likely to grow with Leicester and City eventually failing to win. Simply put, Liverpool are sitting comfortably.


Good times roll for Newcastle?

Don’t look now, but Newcastle have won three of their last five games and reached mid-table. Steve Bruce‘s side currently sits 11th after wins over West Ham, Bournemouth and Sheffield United in recent weeks. Welcomeing relegation-threatened Southampton to St. James’ Park could very well spell another three points for the Magpies.

Serie A: Leaders Inter Milan open door for Juve by drawing Roma

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MILAN (AP) Italian league leader Inter Milan was held by Roma to 0-0 on Friday, giving second-placed Juventus a chance to return to the top.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

The home draw left Inter only two points ahead of Juventus, which can regain the lead when it visits third-placed Lazio on Saturday.The result also wasn’t good for Roma, which moved from fifth to fourth place in the standings but remained nine points off the lead after 15 matches.

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez had one of the game’s best chances when he got past a defender and entered the area in the 68th minute, but his shot was blocked at the last minute. He called for a handball by the defender but the referee let play continue.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Inter was coming off five straight wins in the league, with its last setback in all competitions last month against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Its last league loss was against Juventus in October, nine matches ago.

Roma was seeking its third straight league win. It had won five of its last six matches since last month.

Inter visits Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Man United

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  • Man City (3rd) trail Liverpool by 11 points
  • Man United (6th) eight points out of 4th
  • Last meeting: Man United 0-2 Man City

For the first time in recent memory, Manchester City and Manchester United each find themselves failing to meet expectations — by their own respective standards, at least — as they prepare to meet at the Etihad Stadium in the 179th Manchester derby on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Man City, the two-time defending Premier League champions, are looking increasingly unlikely to retain their crown for a third straight season but look a surefire bet to finish in the top-four, which is a place for which Man United would bite your hand off as they currently trail leaders Liverpool by more points (22) than they have points of their own (21).

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The struggles for United have been all about consistency as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side hasn’t won back-to-back games all season. The Red Devils haven’t won two in a row in the PL since March. On the bright side, United turned in one of their complete performances of the season on Wednesday, spoiling Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford and beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. Marcus Rashford scored both goals and Solskjaer couldn’t rave enough about his 22-year-old forward after the game. From start to finish, United were the better team and looked in majority control, which isn’t something they’ve been able to say often in 2019.

As for City, they’ve simply been “not good enough” without ever actually being “bad” this season, given Liverpool’s scintillating form (14W-1D-0L thus far). Realistically, City likely need to pick up all 69 remaining points this season, and even then they might still come up short.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – Sergio Aguero (thigh), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee)

Man United: OUT – Anthony Martial (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed); QUESTIONABLE: Paul Pogba (ankle), Nemanja Matic (groin), Diogo Dalot (groin)


Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Angeliño — Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva — Bernardo, Jesus, Sterling

Man United: De Gea — Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young — Fred, McTominay, James, Mata, Lingard — Rashford


What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on the derby: “It’s Man United. I respect what they’ve done for English football, European, and world football. United have huge history and their quality is always there but we must try to beat them. We play against a good team, try to follow the performances we’ve put in and try to win the game. You know my opinion on the title race.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on his derby memories: “It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself. Of course, Man City are a better team now than when I was playing. … Confidence is a strange thing in football; you can get performances and results like Wednesday night and it boosts it so much. And I know our boys will be up for it. 24 hours less recovery time [than City] shouldn’t matter, you go on adrenaline.”


Prediction

The win over Tottenham was impressive, no doubt about it, but City remain a challenge of an entirely different class, no matter what their points total says. If the title is well and truly gone for Guardiola’s side, then retaining superiority in Manchester will have to suffice. City 3-1 United.

Premier League Preview: Everton v. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea sit 4th, with 29 points
  • Everton sit 18th, with 11 points
  • Last meeting: Everton 2-0 Chelsea

Everton’s start to the 2019-20 Premier League season has been beyond woeful (4W-2D-9L in 15 games) for any club, let alone one that had dreams of breaking into the top-six this season, resulting in manager Marco Silva losing his job on Thursday. Now, fewer than 48 hours later, the Toffees have to pick themselves back up and face a top-four side for the third straight game when Chelsea visit Goodison Park on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Having lost three straight PL games, including defeats to second-place Leicester City and leaders Liverpool this week alone, the next few weeks will go a long way toward seeing Everton leave the relegation zone in the rearview mirror or sink deeper and deeper into the muck of a season-long relegation battle. A piece of potentially positive news for Everton ahead of Saturday’s game: they are currently three games unbeaten against Chelsea (1W-2D-0L).

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As for the Blues, this could turn out to be a decisive week in their season. After losing to West Ham United last weekend, Frank Lampard‘s side bounced back with a win over Aston Villa on Wednesday. Then came the best news of all on Friday: Chelsea’s transfer ban has been cut in half and they will be able to sign players in January, meaning their young, thin squad can be bolstered as the look to solidify their Champions League place for next season.

With a floundering side like Everton next up on the fixtures list, the chance to move further clear of the Champions League chasing pack is perfectly ripe. Tammy Abraham (hip) returned for the game against Villa and scored the opening goal to take is season’s tally to 11 (second, behind Jamie Vardy). The 22-year-old has benefited more than anyone from what turned out to be Chelsea’s one-window transfer ban, doing more than enough to secure his place for the second half of the season, no matter what business they do in January.

Injuries/suspensions

Everton: OUT – Andre Gomes (ankle), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Fabian Delph (hamstring), Cuco Martina (knee)

Chelsea: OUT – Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Antonio Rudiger (groin)


Projected lineups

Everton: Pickford — Sidibe, Keane, Mina, Digne — Schneiderlin, Davies, Sigurdsson — Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

Chelsea: Kepa — James, Christensen, Zouma, Azpilicueta — Kante, Kovacic, Willian, Mount, Pulisic — Abraham


What they’re saying

Interim Everton boss Duncan Ferguson: “I’m a coach at the moment so I don’t think that is something I am considering at this time. It is my dream to be Everton manager but I am also realistic. Who wouldn’t want to be manager of Everton? There will be many top managers who want this job.”

Frank Lampard, on the new-manager bounce: “[Marco] Silva tried everything for the club and I’m sure that he will go on to manage well elsewhere. They might have an extra energy tomorrow as they rally.”


Prediction

Chelsea have far too much balance between defense and attack to hand Everton the glaring opportunities they will need to beat a genuine top-four side. That said, there’s far too much talent in that squad to continue to get beaten every time out, and perhaps seeing someone else take the blame will lift the burden off them and allow them to perform. Everton 2-2 Chelsea.