Premier League grades

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With the halfway point of the season here, it is time to reveal our mid-term Premier League grades for all 20 clubs.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Let’s get to it, as we analyze who has surpassed expectations and which clubs have struggled mightily in the opening half of the 2020-21 campaign.

It’s safe to say there are some big boys flunking and a few underdogs top of the class, so far, as there are just eight points between the first place and seventh place team in the Premier League table.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Below we dish out our grades for the first half of the 2020-21 Premier League.


Premier League mid-term grades for 2020-21

Arsenal: D-
Mikel Arteta’s side had a fine comeback over the festive period, but that doesn’t make up for an awful start to the season which had them in the relegation picture for most of it. The Gunners will be hoping 2021 is the year they kick on and prove their top four credentials.


Aston Villa: A+
What a start to the season for Villa! They are in the top four picture and have two games in-hand over most of their rivals, as Jack Grealish has pulled the strings, they’ve improved massively at the back and Ollie Watkins gives them an extra edge in attack. After just staying up last season, they’ve rode that wave of optimism spectacularly.


Burnley: C+
What you would expect, just about. Sean Dyche deserves credit as the club didn’t spend money in the transfer window due to the impending takeover, which is now complete, and he’s managed to steer Burnley just above the relegation zone despite a woeful start and they had a huge win against Liverpool. Still, they need to add key parts in January to kick on and away from the drop zone.


Brighton: D-
Pretty awful from a results perspective, as Graham Potter’s side continue to play lovely stuff but can’t get the job done as they’ve won just three times in 19 games so far this season. That isn’t good enough for this squad of players. A relegation scrap beckons.


Chelsea: C
For a few weeks it seemed like they were genuine title contenders, but the same few mistakes keep hitting Chelsea hard. They can’t finish chances off and they make silly defensive mistakes. Not a great combo. Big-money arrivals Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have struggled in the Premier League and that means Frank Lampard was fired as a title bid has turned into a scrap to be in the top four picture. Not good enough considering the squad they have.


Crystal Palace: C+
Well, C+ is just about the most Roy Hodgson grade you can get. The Eagles continue to just exceed expectations, as Wilfried Zaha has been in great form and they have had a lot of injuries to deal with. Comfortably in midtable.


Everton: A-
After an amazing start to the season there was a lot of talk of a title push for the Toffees. That talk had dissipated, slightly, but a recent run of good form has them in the top four conversation. When Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and James Rodriguez are fit, they can beat anyone. Injuries haven’t been kind to them, but they’re finding a way to grind out wins.


Fulham: C
Poor start to life back in the Premier League but they’ve rebounded well. Scott Parker has found his preferred system of 3-4-3 which has shored up their defensive issues and still gives them a threat in attack. They need to score more goals, but their defensive additions late in the summer window were brilliant. Let’s see what January brings at the other end of the pitch.


Leeds United: B
This was what we expected from Leeds. Marcelo Bielsa’s side have gone for it in pretty much every game and the Premier League has been taken aback by how quickly they’ve settled with their high-press. Leeds are in midtable and primed for a top 10 push, at least. Patrick Bamford is scoring goals and if they didn’t have so many defensive injuries, maybe the great entertainers would be in the top six.


Leicester City: A+
You have to applaud Brendan Rodgers’ side for a wonderful season so far. After just missing out on the top four last season, they are right up there once again. Add in so many injuries, especially at the back, and the fact they’ve been in Europa League action, and it is quite remarkable. If Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi stay fit, they have a chance of pushing for the title. Seriously.


Liverpool: B+
Talking about a title push and injuries, the Reds have hung in there despite losing their two first-choice center backs in Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez but the last few weeks have been tough. Away from home, Liverpool have struggled and they have been lackluster in attack in recent weeks. Jurgen Klopp says he is focusing on a top four finish rather than winning the title. Surely that is lowering the expectations too much?


Manchester City: B+
Here. They. Come. After struggling through the opening months of the season — often without a striker as they struggled for goals without Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus — City have found their feet. Pep Guardiola’s side are more pragmatic this season and that is what they needed to do. Especially against the big teams. A different sort of City team, but still capable of dominating games as Kevin de Bruyne is running the show and John Stones is a man reborn. KDB is out injured, so they will have to deal with that in the next month.


Manchester United: A-
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has Man United in the title race? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has Man United in the title race. Whisper it, but United are in incredible form and they’ve finally found consistency. After a slow start, both in the season and during games, they have their top attacking talents firing on all cylinders. United are ahead of schedule and Bruno Fernandes is getting better and better, plus a shoutout to their much-maligned defenders Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw who have turned things around.


Newcastle United: C+
They’ve picked up more points than they deserved, and Steve Bruce is edging them closer to the 40 point marker. But that’s about it. Callum Wilson has been good for a squad hit hard by the long-term impacts of COVID-19. Not the most inspiring to watch, and the pressure is on Bruce after a wretched recent run.


Sheffield United: F
Just woeful. The Blades are playing well enough in games but in the key moments they aren’t good enough at the back and going forward they just can’t score. Five points and one win from their opening 19 games is historically bad, but they aren’t doing a lot different than last season. Perhaps they have been really, really unlucky? New signings Rhian Brewster and Aaron Ramsdale have struggled at either end of the pitch and they just have to score more goals.


Southampton: A+
The Saints are marching on. After a fine ‘Project Restart’ they improved after a shaky start and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side still high-press, but have shored things up at the back and are much better on the ball. As long as Danny Ings stays fit, Saints can push for the top six. James Ward-Prowse, Kyle Walker-Peters, Jannik Vestergaard, Oriol Romeu and Che Adams are all having fine seasons too.


Tottenham Hotspur: B+
A very good start to the season for Jose Mourinho’s side, and it needed to be after their big-spending summer. They’ve fallen away a little, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Sergio Reguilon have been great signings. They aren’t always the best to watch, but Harry Kane and Heung-min Son are on fire and make Spurs worth watching. They are still just about in the title race, and the League Cup final, and Mourinho is a master at getting teams over the line.


West Bromwich Albion: F
Slaven Bilic is a nice bloke, and a good coach, but he wasn’t backed in the transfer window after getting them promoted, and it showed. New boss Sam Allardyce needs to be backed in the window, or else they are going to get relegated very quickly. Going forward they are struggling for goals and the Baggies are really up against it at the back. Worrying.


West Ham United: B+
David Moyes has done a really good job and his two main signings, Coufal and Soucek, have been fine additions. West Ham aren’t always the best to watch but they’ve been economical and they’ve missed Michail Antonio badly. Defensively they are tough to break down and they can push for Europe if Antonio is fit and they bring in another forward in January.


Wolverhampton Wanderers: C+
The injury to Raul Jimenez hit them hard but Wolves have shown plenty of grit to hang in there. They may not challenge for the top six, but you get the sense they will kick on in 2021. Adama Traore, Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto have shown flashes of brilliance but they haven’t been consistent enough. Willian Jo


Chelsea in Portugal for Enzo Fernandez medical ahead of record deal

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Chelsea is ready to trigger Enzo Fernandez’s $129 million release clause and is in Portugal to conduct a Deadline Day medical on the World Cup winner.

The fee would break the British record set by Manchester City when it purchased Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.

Fernandez, 21, has been chased by Chelsea for some time and wants to make the move to Stamford Bridge from Benfica.

[ MORE: Weston McKennie moves to Leeds United ]

The Argentina star has a goal and six assists in 22 matches across all competitions, but his skills as an elite ball progressor are what most attracts the Blues.

Fernandez ranks in the 99th percentile of midfielders in progressive passes per 90 at 9.47 and in the 95th percentile in shot-creating actions per 90 (FBref.com).

Chelsea’s revolutionized its squad since the club was purchased by Todd Boehly’s consortium last year, with Wesley Fofana, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, and many more.

Follow Peacock’s Sky Sports News simulstream from Noon-7pm ET Tuesday, and join ProSoccerTalk’s Deadline Day Show at 5pm ET.

Enzo Fernandez
fotmob.com

Premier League transfers: Complete list of January deals

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The January transfer window has again seen big-name imports into the Premier League, and the final hours of the window we saw a flurry of deals take place.

Chelsea spent big, once again, as a British record $130 million deal for Enzo Fernandez nears completion, while Liverpool signed Cody Gakpo and Arsenal added Trossard, Jorginho and Jakub Kiwior to strengthen their title hopes.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United | Arsenal ]

Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur made additions to deepen their squads’ top-four pushes late in the window too and there were plenty of late deals for clubs in the relegation battle.

Below we list the confirmed deals from January in terms of ins and outs at Premier League clubs.


Latest transfer deals developing – January 31

Weston McKennie to Leeds United was a done deal on Jan. 30, as the American midfielder has joined on loan until the end of the season, with Leeds having an option to buy him for $36 million.

As for deadline day itself Jorginho has joined Arsenal from Chelsea in a big move across London, while Manchester United are chasing the singing of Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich after they lost Christian Eriksen to injury.

Chelsea are pushing hard to sign Enzo Fernandez and it looks like it could happen right around the deadline, while Bournemouth, Southampton, Fulham and Tottenham are all busy on deadline day too and pushing deals through late on.


AFC Bournemouth

In
Dango Ouattara (Lorient)
Darren Randolph (West Ham)
Antoine Semenyo (Bristol City)
Matias Vina (Roma) Loan
Illia Zabarnyi (Dynamo Kiev)

Out
Ferdinand Okoh (Dorchester) Loan
James Hill (Hearts) Loan
Will Dennis (Slough) Loan
Noa Boutin (Gosport) Loan
Gavin Kilkenny (Charlton Athletic) Loan


Arsenal

In
Leandro Trossard (Brighton)
Jakub Kiwior (Spezia Calcio)
Jorginho (Chelsea)

Out
Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Coventry) Loan
Miguel Azeez (Wigan) Loan
Arthur Okonkwo (Sturm Graz) Loan
Ovie Ejeheri (SJK Seinajoki) Loan
Harry Clarke (Ipswich Town)
Marquinhos (Norwich) Loan
Omar Rekik (Wigan) Loan
Albert Sambi Lokonga (Crystal Palace) Loan


Aston Villa

In
Aaron Ramsey (loan recall)
Tyreik Wright (loan recall)
Alex Moreno (Real Betis)
Jhon Duran (Chicago Fire)
Bertrand Traore (loan recall)

Out
Cameron Archer (Middlesbrough) Loan
Tyreik Wright (Plymouth Argyle)
Frederic Guilbert (RC Strasbourg)
Indiana Vassilev (St. Louis City SC)
Danny Ings (West Ham)
Jan Bednarek (loan recall)
Morgan Sanson (Strasbourg) Loan
Ludwig Augustinsson (loan recall)
Marvelous Nakamba (Luton Town) Loan
Aaron Ramsey (Middlesbrough) Loan


Brentford

In
Byron Wilson (Coventry)
Conor McManus (Bray Wanderers)
Fin Stevens (loan recall)
Mads Bech (loan recall)
Beaux Booth (Dorking)
Kevin Schade (Freiburg) Loan
Paris Maghoma (loan recall)
Romeo Beckham (Inter Miami) Loan
Nathan Young-Coombes (loan recall)
Vincent Angelini (Watford)

Out
Myles Peart-Harris (Forest Green Rovers) Loan extension
Aaron Pressley (Accrington) Loan
Lachlan Brook (Crewe) Loan extension
Edon Pruti (Hartlepool)
Mads Bech (Groningen) Loan
Ellery Balcombe (Bristol Rovers) Loan
Tariqe Fosu (Rotherham) Loan
Paris Maghoma (MK Dons) Loan
Charlie Goode (Blackpool) Loan
Sergi Canos (Olympiacos) Loan


Brighton & Hove Albion

In
Facundo Buonanotte (Rosario Central)
Jamie Mullins (Bohemians)
Mark O’Mahony (Cork)
Yasin Ayari (AIK)

Out
Aaron Connolly (Hull) Loan
Reda Khadra (Birmingham)
Ed Turns (Leyton Orient) Loan
James Beadle (Crewe Alexandra) Loan
Leandro Trossard (Arsenal)
Antef Tsoungui (Lommel) Loan Details
Lorent Tolaj (Dundee) Loan


Chelsea

In
David Datro Fofana (Molde)
Benoit Badiashile (Monaco)
Andrey Santos (Vasco da Gama)
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid) Loan
Mykhailo Mudryk (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven)
Malo Gusto (Lyon)

Out
Bashir Humphreys (Paderborn) Loan
Malo Gusto (Lyon) Loan
Cesare Casadei (Reading) Loan
Jude Soonsup-Bell (Tottenham Hotspur)
Jorginho (Arsenal)

Chelsea transfer news
Benoit Badiashile (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Crystal Palace

In
Luke Plange (loan recall)
Naouirou Ahamada (Stuttgart)
Albert Sambi Lokonga (Arsenal) Loan

Out
Killian Phillips (Shrewsbury) Loan
Jack Butland (Man Utd) Loan
John-Kymani Gordon (Carlise) Loan
Malcolm Ebiowei (Hull) Loan
Ryan Bartley (Eastbourne Borough) Loan
David Boateng (Dover) Loan
Luke Plange (Lincoln City) Loan


Everton

In
Ellis Simms (loan recall)
Nathan Broadhead (loan recall)
Niels Nkounkou (loan recall)

Out
Salomon Rondon (released)
Nathan Broadhead (Ipswich)
Tom Cannon (Preston) Loan
Niels Nkounkou (Saint-Etienne) Loan
Sebastian Quirk (Accrington Stanley)
Tyler Onyango (Forest Green) Loan
Anthony Gordon (Newcastle)
Joe Anderson (Sunderland)


Fulham

In
Anthony Knockaert (loan recall)
Sasa Lukic (Torino)

Out
Idris Odutayo (Maidenhead) Loan extension
Anthony Knockaert (Huddersfield) Loan
Ibane Bowat (Den Bosch) Loan
Connor McAvoy (Partick Thistle) Loan
Josh Onomah (mutual termination)
Nathaniel Chalobah (West Brom)


Leeds United

In
Max Wober (RB Salzburg)
Georginio Rutter (Hoffenheim)
Weston McKennie (Juventus) Loan
Diogo Monteiro (Servette)

Out
Mateusz Klich (MLS pending)
Alfie McCalmont (Carlisle) Loan
Leo Hjelde (Rotherham) Loan
Max Dean (MK Dons)
Cody Drameh (Luton) Loan
Joe Gelhardt (Sunderland) Loan
Diego Llorente (Roma) Loan


Leicester City

In
George Hirst (loan recall)
Victor Kristiansen (Copenhagen)
Tete (Lyon)
Nathan Opoku (Field Masters Sporting Club)

Out
George Hirst (Ipswich) Loan
Ben Nelson (Doncaster) Loan
Jakub Stolarczyk (Hartlepool) Loan
Ayoze Perez (Real Betis) Loan
Nathan Opoku (OH Leuven) Loan


Liverpool

In
Cody Gakpo (PSV)
Billy Koumetio (Austria Vienna) Loan recall
Max Woltman (loan recall)
Jakub Ojrzynski (loan recall)
James Balagizi (loan recall)
Fidel O’Rourke (loan recall)
Rhys Williams (loan recall)

Out
Jake Cain (Swindon Town)
Jarell Quansah (Bristol Rovers) Loan
Luke Chambers (Kilmarnock) Loan

Liverpool transfer news
Cody Gakpo photo vis twitter.com/LFC

Manchester City

In
Liam Delap (loan recall)
Maximo Perrone (Velez Sarsfield)

Out
Josh Wilson-Esbrand (Coventry) Loan
Liam Delap (Preston) Loan
Kayky (Bahia) Loan
Joao Cancelo (Bayern Munich) Loan
Luke Mbete (Bolton Wanderers) Loan


Manchester United

In
Jack Butland (Crystal Palace) Loan
Wout Weghorst (Burnley) Loan
Marcel Sabitzer (Bayern Munich) Loan

Out
Martin Dubravka (loan recall)
Shola Shoretire Loan (Bolton Wanderers)
Charlie Savage (Forest Green) Loan
Ondrej Mastny (Portadown) Loan
Di’Shon Bernard (Portsmouth) Loan
Charlie McNeill (Newport) Loan


Newcastle United

In
Amadou Diallo (free) 
Garang Kuol (Central Coast Mariners)
Martin Dubravka (loan recall)
Anthony Gordon (Everton)
Harrison Ashby (West Ham)

Out
Garang Kuol (Hearts) Loan
Chris Wood (Nott’m Forest) Loan
Dylan Stephenson (Hamilton) Loan
Niall Brookwell (Darlington) Loan


Nottingham Forest

In
Gustavo Scarpa (Palmeiras)
Danilo (Palmeiras)
Alex Mighten (loan recall)
Chris Wood (Newcastle United) Loan
Felipe (Atletico Madrid)
Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United)
Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain) Loan

Out
Loic Bade (loan recall)
Dale Taylor (Burton Albion) Loan
Aaron Donnelly (Port Vale) Loan
Ateef Konate (Oxford United) Loan
Brandon Aguilera (Estoril) Loan


Southampton

In
Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb)
Carlos Alcaraz (Racing Club)
Jan Bednarek (loan recall)
James Bree (Luton)
Kamaldeen Sulemana (Stade Rennes)
Paul Onuachu (Genk)

Out
Dynel Simeu (Morecambe) Loan
Dan Nlundulu (Bolton) Loan
Nico Lawrence (Torquay) Loan
Kazeem Olaigbe (Harrogate Town) Loan
Lewis Payne (Eastleigh) Loan
Thierry Small (St Mirren) Loan
Jack Turner (Braintree Town) Loan


Tottenham

In
Arnaut Danjuma (Villarreal) Loan
Jude Soonsup-Bell (Chelsea)

Out
Bryan Gil (Sevilla) Loan
Djed Spence (Stade Rennais) Loan
Matt Doherty (Atletico Madrid)


West Ham United

In
Luizao (Sao Paulo)
Armstrong Okoflex (loan recall)
Danny Ings (Aston Villa)

Out
Thierry Nevers (Bradford) Loan
Craig Dawson (Wolves)
Pierre Ekwah (Sunderland)
Darren Randolph (AFC Bournemouth)
Will Greenidge (Colchester) Loan
Harrison Ashby (Newcastle)


Wolverhampton Wanderers

In
Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid) Loan
Joe Young (loan recall)
Louie Moulden (loan recall)
Theo Corbeanu (loan recall)
Christian Marques (loan recall)
Lewis Richards (loan recall)
Mario Lemina (Nice)
Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain)
Craig Dawson (West Ham)
Dan Bentley (Bristol City)
Ki-Jana Hoever (loan recall)
Joao Gomes (Flamengo)

Out
Leo Bonatini (released)
Joe Young (Telford) Loan
Goncalo Guedes (Benfica) Loan
Theo Corbeanu (Arminia Bielefeld) Loan
Leonardo Campana (Inter Miami)
Connor Ronan (Colorado Rapids)
Fabio Silva (PSV) Loan
Matija Sarkic (Stoke) Loan
Ki-Jana Hoever (Stoke) Loan
Jackson Smith (Walsall) Loan
Chem Campbell (Wycombe Wanderers) Loan

Premier League transfers
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Matheus Cunha  (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Transfer Deadline Day, live! Join our show, send questions, analysis

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Transfer deadline day is here for January 2023, as the winter window shuts at 6pm ET on Jan. 31 for Premier League clubs.

[ LIVE: Every Premier League transfer deal as it happens ]

The clock is ticking late in the window and we will have all angles covered for you here at Pro Soccer Talk.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United | Arsenal ]

From clicking on the links above to read the latest reports and analysis, having Sky Sports News live on Peacock all day long and to our own Pro Soccer Talk live deadline day show which starts at 5:30pm ET on Jan. 31, you won’t miss a thing.

WATCH: Sky Sports News live on Transfer deadline day on Peacock

Click on the video below to send in your questions for the PST crew for our deadline day chat where we will round up all of the deals happening late in the window, dish out grades to Premier League teams based on their business and give our analysis on the best signings of the January window.


Newcastle takes care of Southampton, reaches League Cup Final

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Sean Longstaff scored twice and Newcastle United navigated a concession to reach its first domestic cup final since 1999 by outlasting Southampton in the League Cup semifinal.

The Magpies entered the second leg up 1-0 on a Joelinton goal and moved their aggregate advantage to 3-0 in the first half before Che Adams scored a pretty goal to bring Saints within two at St. James’ Park.

But it wasn’t all good news as Bruno Guimaraes was sent off after Video Assistant Referee reviewed a hard, studs-first tackle outside the 18 with about 10 minutes to play and will miss Newcastle’s next three matches.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Newcastle seems likely to meet Manchester United in the final, which will be played at London’s Wembley Stadium on Feb. 26, as the Red Devils lead Nottingham Forest 3-0 after one leg and return home to Old Trafford for Wednesday’s semifinal second leg.

Newcastle is off to a final for the first time since the 1998-99 FA Cup, when the Magpies were beaten by the famed, treble-winning Manchester United side.

[ MORE: Weston McKennie joins Leeds: Is this a good move for the USMNT star? ]


Newcastle can dream of silverware earlier than expected

Newcastle suffered a precipitous decline under former owner Mike Ashley, and it’s been a decade since the Toon Army’s experienced European football via quarterfinal run in the 2012-13 Europa League.

It may surprise younger fans to note that the Northeast side qualified for the UEFA Champions League on either side of turn of the century, and the city’s been ready to erupt for their boys for some time. The vibes at St.James’ Park on Tuesday were terrific.

The Magpies not having Bruno Guimaraes — assuming the red card isn’t overturned — is a huge miss for the next three games, but they will have Bruno for the final against Manchester United’s mighty and experienced midfield assuming it holds onto its first-leg advantage over Nottingham Forest.

For Saints, they’ll turn their attention to the FA Cup and keep their attention on the relegation fight, which should be very, very tricky as Premier League sides are fortifying on this Deadline Day.


Stars of the Show

Sean Longstaff

Sven Botman

Nick Pope

Mohammed Salisu

Che Adams


What’s next?

Newcastle hosts West Ham at 12:30pm ET Saturday in Premier League play, while Saints are off to Brentford for a 10am ET kickoff on the same day.


Newcastle vs Southampton score: Hosts lead 2-1, 3-1 on aggregate


How to watch Newcastle vs Southampton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3 pm ET, Tuesday
Online: Stream via ESPN+


Key storylines & star players

Eddie Howe’s side has performed well above expectations this season, mounting a serious top-four challenge one or two years ahead of reasonable expectations. Getting to — and winning — a final in the same season would merely be icing on the cake for Howe, who took over the Premier League’s 19th-place side (5 points from 11 games) from Steve Bruce in November 2021.

Saints reached the League Cup final in 2017, but were somewhat controversially beaten by Manchester United at Wembley Stadium. Southampton have won more cup ties (6 of 7) than PL fixtures (4 of 20), which goes a long way toward explaining why Nathan Jones’ side sits rock-bottom of the PL table with just 15 points.


Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Jonjo Shelvey (calf), Matt Targett (foot), Emil Krafth (knee)

Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Juan Larios (adductor), Duje Caleta-Car (suspension), Moussa Djenepo (head), Alex McCarthy (ankle)

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