Wolves too good for West Ham

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Wolverhampton Wanderers continued their superb run of form as they beat West Ham United 2-0 at Molineux on Wednesday.

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Goals in each half from Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone sealed the win for Wolves, as Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men have now gone 10 games unbeaten in the Premier League.

Wolves sit in fifth on 23 points, while West Ham are in 13th place.


3 things we learned

1. Top four hopes alive for Wolves: They sit six points off the top four and are the form team in the Premier League right now. Chelsea will be feeling Wolves breathing down their necks. With progression into the knockout round of the Europa League secured, this small Wolves squad continue to churn out dogged, determined displays.

2. Tireless Jimenez on autopilot: He didn’t score but Jimenez was so dangerous. He held the ball up, got shots away and set the tone for a dominant Wolves display. Mexico’s Jimenez is so crucial to this Wolves team, even when he doesn’t score.

3. West Ham struggle to grab control: After their win away at Chelsea last weekend you would have thought West Ham would have started with a spring in their step. They were off the pace from the start and the Hammers barely registered a meaningful effort on goal. At the start of the season Wolves and West Ham were two teams who should be pushing for European qualification. West Ham need to do a lot more, especially in midfield and attack, to take control of games.

Man of the Match: Diogo Jota – Never stopped running and opened up so many gaps in West Ham’s defense. The Portuguese star, like last season, is getting better as the season goes on.


Wolves looked dangerous on the counter as Raul Jimenez dragged an effort wide and that was a sign of things to come.

The home side took the lead as a corner from the left found Dendoncker who flicked his effort on target and it somehow found its way past David Martin.

West Ham did improve as Pablo Fornals whipped in a lovely effort which Rui Patricio tipped wide. At the other end Diogo Jota was denied by Martin as the hosts looked dangerous on the break.

Dendoncker header over after a late run into the box as Wolves continued to look the more likely to score next as West Ham had plenty of the ball but did little with it.

The Hammers did have a great chance to equalize as Fornals flicked the ball over the top to put Snodgrass clean through but a poor second touch saw Patricio clatter into the Scotsman to clear the danger. Snodgrass had to come off due to his injury with Andriy Yarmolenko coming on for the final stages.

Romain Saiss headed wide from close range after Jimenez’s flick as the hosts were dominant throughout with the Mexican striker dragging another effort wide.

Sebastian Haller clipped a ball to the back post just over as West Ham pushed for the equalizer.

Jimenez was then denied by Martin as Wolves huffed and puffed late on and two subs then combined to seal the win.

Pedro Neto set up Cutrone to make it 2-0 as the home fans went wild as their top four hopes are well and truly alive.

Christian Pulisic named USMNT Player of the Year

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Who else could it be? Christian Pulisic has been named the USMNT player of the year for 2019.

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The Chelsea star, 21, excelled for club and country over the past 12 months and after taking a few months to settle into life in England, he’s now taking the Premier League by storm on a weekly basis.

Pulisic has now won this award for a second time after first winning it in 2017 and he becomes the youngest player in U.S. men’s national team history to win the award twice.

His achievements over the last 12 months are numerous, as he dragged a struggling USMNT to the 2019 Gold Cup final and also became the youngest player to reach double figures in goals for the USMNT.

MLS veteran Sacha Kljestan signs with hometown LA Galaxy

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Carson, Calif. (AP) Veteran midfielder Sacha Kljestan has signed with the LA Galaxy as a free agent.

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The 34-year-old U.S. national team contributor officially returned to his native Southern California on Wednesday.

Kljestan has scored 49 goals over 10 MLS seasons in a career that began as the fifth overall pick by defunct Chivas USA, the Galaxy’s former stadium partners. After a successful five-year stint with Belgium’s Anderlecht, he spent the past five seasons with New York Red Bulls and Orlando City.

The Huntington Beach native also has made 51 appearances for the U.S. team, playing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Kljestan will provide veteran leadership for a Galaxy roster in transition after the departures of its top two goal-scorers: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Uriel Antuna.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Liverpool in talks to activate Minamino’s release clause

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On the face of it, this move makes perfect sense for everyone concerned. Especially Liverpool, who get a bargain.

Multiple reports state that the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks to sign Japanese winger Takumi Minamino from RB Salzburg.

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Minamino, 24, has a release clause of just $9.5 million and it has been reported that he will move to Liverpool in January with talks going well over a five-year contract.

RB Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund confirmed talks are ongoing about the transfer, with Bayern Munich and Marseille also said to be interested in signing the tricky winger.

“I can confirm that there are talks with Liverpool at the moment. It is an honor [for us] to see the caliber of clubs who are interested in our players.”

Minamino’s goals, pace and trickery pushed Salzburg to within one game of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds and he impressed against Liverpool in both games in the UCL group stage as he scored at Anfield and gave their defense plenty of problems in the return game. His skillset would perfectly suit the way Liverpool play with his direct running, pace and nose for goal seemingly perfect for Jurgen Klopp‘s side.

With Klopp and his RB Salzburg counterpart Jesse Marsch hugging on the sidelines after Liverpool’s win in Austria on Tuesday, plus Klopp’s kind words on the job the American coach is doing at Salzburg, it’s safe to say there’s a strong connection between the two teams and their styles of play are very similar.

That’s an even better reason for Minamino to head to Liverpool as the Japanese star would slot in seamlessly and he would become the third former RB Salzburg player at the Reds alongside Naby Keita and Sadio Mane.

From the style of play of both player and the club, to the small transfer fee, this works out very well for everyone involved. Even Salzburg will be happy to become known as a feeder club to Liverpool and Europe’s other big boys as that will help them with their future recruitment.

Raul Jimenez’s future at Wolves uncertain

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Raul Jimenez has been talking about playing for one of Spain’s big boys.

That sound you can hear is Wolves fans everywhere sobbing.

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The Mexican striker was quoted by Spanish outlet Marca saying that he would one day like to return to Spain and play for one of the La Liga giants.

“I would never rule out returning to Spain. I have good memories, and I would like to go back at some point,” Jimenez said. “I want to try out LaLiga once more, as I didn’t get to play much the previous time. Returning is not off the agenda. I have played at the Nou Camp and the Bernabeu.”

Jimenez, 28, previously played for Atletico Madrid before moving to Benfica who loaned him to Wolves in the summer of 2018, and he has since made the switch to the West Midlands permanent for $40 million.

However, his manager Nuno Espirito Santo has moved to calm down fears the El Tri star will move at the end of this season.

“What he is doing is amazing – every day of his life is dedicated to Wolves so we are delighted with it,” Santo said. “Being ambitious and dreaming is something all of us have. But our present is very good with Raul here.”

The powerful Mexican striker has been superb over the past two seasons and has proved to be a phenomenal target man in the Premier League. He’s scored 32 goals in 71 appearances in all competitions for Wolves, leading them to an FA Cup semifinal appearance and seventh-place PL finish last season and his goals this campaign (15 in 27 appearances in total) have catapulted them into the top six and the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League. Aside from his goals Jimenez’s hold-up play has been vital to Wolves’ success.

It is worth pointing out that Jimenez revealed he is very happy at Wolves but the fact he is so ambitious and fancies moving on to either Real Madrid and Barcelona is a good thing for the club. This means Jimenez is striving to improve and do all he can to take his game to the next level.

Yes, Wolves will be desperate to keep hold of the Mexican star who is a fans favorite at Molineux. But if he continues to score goals and one of Spain’s big boys, or a title-chasing team in the PL, were to come calling, can they stand in his way?