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Aldewerireld says he never wanted to leave Spurs last summer

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Toby Alderweireld has revealed that he was never close to leaving Tottenham Hotspur this summer, despite reported interest from Manchester United, after he was informed that “Tottenham wanted to keep me.”

[ MORE: Moshiri increases Everton stake, plans more by the summer ]

Speaking about the summer-long saga for the first time, Alderweireld classified reports that he was wanted to force through a move away from Tottenham as “not true.” An agreement was never reached between the two clubs, however, so he can say what he likes without ever having had to actually make a choice one way or the other.

The Belgian center back has one year remaining on his contract, but the current deal has a one-year extension option which features a $32.5-million release clause. With another transfer saga looming in nine months’ time, Alderweireld insists his place in Spurs’ first team is the only thing that matters — quotes from Sky Sports:

“Everyone was saying everywhere that I absolutely wanted to leave Tottenham. That’s not true. This summer, I quickly understood Tottenham wanted to keep me.

“So, I had to battle to get my place back in the team. To be in the first team again is a victory for me. I just try to help Tottenham as best I can with my qualities. Regarding my future, everything that was said in the press was not right all the time.

[ MORE: Gareth Southgate stays quiet on new England contract ]

Alderweireld will turn 30 before the end of the 2018-19 season, and while he won’t have a million miles on his body after playing sparingly for two years as he transitioned from Ajax to Atletico Madrid and finally to Southampton before becoming the full-time workhorse at Spurs, his lengthy history of lingering lower-body injuries will give Mauricio Pochettino and Co., the most pause for concern as they weigh up one more potential long-term deal.

West Ham’s Pellegrini: “If you can’t win, then draw”

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Manuel Pellegrini has a knack for motto-worthy quotes every now and again, though we’re not sure that’s what he intended with his comments after West Ham held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at the London Stadium on Sunday.

“If you can’t win, then draw,” finished the West Ham boss following the result.

Well, yeah!

[ RECAP: West Ham 0-0 Chelsea ]

The Irons had plenty of chances to score on the counter, as Pellegrini showed a willingness to mix up his tactics.

The visitors had their chances as well, but it was another improved performance after West Ham opened the season 0-4 before beating Everton last week.

[ MORE: Sarri reacts ]

Pellegrini still wanted more of the ball, but acknowledged that it’s a different challenge to do that against Chelsea than West Ham’s previous opponents. From the BBC:

“It was a good point against the leaders and a team that scored 14 goals in the first five games. It was a close game, and we had two clear chances and they had one. I think we played well tactically because we allowed them to have the ball where we wanted but we defended well

“We would prefer to have some more possession but it was a good tactical game and at least we did not lose it.”

Not sure, but “at least we did not lose it” may be just as good as the draw quip.

West Ham is going to be fine, and always was given the level of talent on the squad. The Irons were an Andriy Yarmolenko header away from seizing all the honors in this London Derby, and Pellegrini will certainly be encouraged moving forward.

Chelsea’s Sarri “not happy” after scoreless draw at West Ham

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Maurizio Sarri is frustrated after his Chelsea side couldn’t find a way past West Ham United on Sunday.

[ RECAP: West Ham 0-0 Chelsea ]

It was the Blues first setback of the season, Sarri’s men failing to meet Liverpool’s 6-0 start to the season.

The scoreless draw saw Sarri try a few things, including the second half introduction of Alvaro Morata for Olivier Giroud. Morata proved more of a threat but his luckless run continued in London.

“Giroud is very important to be a point of reference for mates, but in that moment they were handling this kind of pass. So I preferred Morata, a player with movement off the ball.

“Save maybe the last 20-25 minutes of the first half, (West Ham) are really a very good team. Now that they have won away at Everton, there’s confidence.”

Sarri said he was “not happy” with the result, which came after Chelsea had a similar performance but managed a 1-0 win at PAOK in the Europa League.

West Ham, Chelsea scoreless in London

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  • Chelsea no longer perfect
  • Blues have most of the ball…
  • But dangerous chances fairly even

Lukasz Fabianski made some solid saves including a terrific stoppage time stop on Ross Barkley, as West Ham United and Chelsea staged a 0-0 draw that betrayed its scoreline at the London Stadium on Sunday.

The draw is Chelsea’s first setback of the season, and leaves them in second. The Blues are two points behind Liverpool and level with Man City.

West Ham remains 17th with four points.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Manuel Pellegrini‘s decision to counter led to some wide open chances for West Ham when the Irons managed to collect the ball, even without the injured Marko Arnautovic.

Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko found plenty of joy on the wings, and West Ham challenged young Chelsea backstop Kepa Arrizabalaga more than once. Michail Antonio was a change of pace from Arnautovic but certainly up for the role of center forward.

Maurizio Sarri would’ve been frustrated with the lack of danger given his tactical decision to rest Eden Hazard, Mateo Kovacic, and David Luiz at midweek for this very reason. Aside from an N'Golo Kante header, there was little to worry Lukasz Fabianski.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Alvaro Morata subbed into the game and brought immediate life to the Blues attack, and also raised the question of whether the finish-lacking chance-monger is just snake bit when Fabianski made a terrific 67th minute save with his face.

David Luiz hit a free kick to Fabianski at one end, and Yarmolenko couldn’t get on the end of Robert Snodgrass‘ inviting cross at the other.

Barkley curled a pretty effort toward goal in stoppage time, but Fabianski got low to slap the effort wide of the frame.

Watch Live: Arsenal vs. Everton

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Richarlison returns for Everton as the Toffees head to North London for a match against Unai Emery‘s Arsenal (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Cenk Tosun is on the bench for Everton at the Emirates Stadium, while Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both start for Arsenal.

LINEUPS

Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Torreira, Ramsey, Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang. Subs: Leno, Elneny, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Iwobi, Guendouzi, Welbeck.

Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Zouma, Keane, Digne, Gana, Davies, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin. Subs: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Baines, Tosun, Schneiderlin, Bernard, Lookman.