16 of the last 18 PL goals scored in this fixture have come in the second half
West Ham United beat Arsenal 1-0 at the London Stadium on Saturday as teenager Declan Rice was the hero for the Hammers.
Fresh from signing a new long-term contract and just a few days before his 20th birthday, the West Ham academy graduate smashed home the winner early in the second half to secure a huge win for Manuel Pellegrini‘s Hammers.
The win was just their second in their last 22 PL games against Arsenal, as Unai Emery‘s side struggled to get going and have now lost two of their last three league clashes.
West Ham move up to eighth on 31 points, while Arsenal sit in fifth on 41 points.
Before half time the Hammers fought their way back into the game as Samir Nasri dragged an effort wide of the near post. A long ball over the top nearly led to the opening goal of the game as Marko Arnautovic controlled and played the ball to Nasri who teed up the onrushing Anderson who drilled inches wide of the post.
Matteo Guendouzi then fired an effort just off target and Declan Rice then headed wide as the game continued to open up.
West Ham had the perfect start to the second half as Arsenal failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to Nasri who found Rice in the box and the teenager slammed home to make it 1-0.
At the other end Arsenal were almost level right away, but Lukasz Fabianski saved well as the ball ricocheted off a West Ham defender and towards their own goal. Guendouzi then fired wide as Arsenal pushed hard for an equalizer.
Emery sent on Lucas Torreira and Aaron Ramsey in the hope of rescuing a point, and it had an impact. Aubameyang fired over under pressure from Aaron Cresswell as the Gunners threw men forward but they failed to open up the solid West Ham defense.
Late on Arnautovic seemed to wave goodbye to the West Ham fans as he was subbed off, as an unnamed Chinese Super League club continues to try and sign him.
But at the final whistle there was nothing but jubilation from everyone connected with West Ham as they secured their first home Premier League win against Arsenal since 2006.
According to a number of reports in England, Aaron Ramsey has a completed deal in place to join Italian giants Juventus after the end of the season when his Arsenal contract expires.
Both Sky Sports and The Guardian are reporting that Ramsey’s free transfer is complete, with The Guardian claiming he will make $46 million over the life of the five-year contract. That total would make him the second-highest paid player on the Juventus squad.
The 28-year-old has been one of the most coveted free agents this season, with Arsenal revealing they will not re-sign him. He was linked with clubs like Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, but Juventus has been the front-runner for weeks.
Ramsey, a Cardiff City youth product, moved to Arsenal from Cardiff City in the summer of 2008. He has made 356 appearances for the Gunners over the course of his career, and while injuries have often caused him to miss significant time, his presence in the midfield has proven a consistent factor for Arsenal in his tenure. Ramsey is considered a valuable two-way player adding defensive contributions but also a cutting-edge passing ability from deep in midfield.
Ramsey has 18 Premier League appearances this season, scoring two goals and assisting six others. He will join a crowded but slightly aging Juventus midfield that includes Miralem Pjanic, Emre Can, Sami Khedira, Rodrigo Betancur, and Blaise Matuidi. Khedira may leave the club at the end of the season.
As we creep towards the deadline at 6 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, you just know so many deals will be done between now and then. But what are the key areas where each Premier League club should strengthen in, if they can, this month?
With that in mind, below is a look at the key transfer needs for each PL team in January.
Key transfer needs: Center back, CAM – Unai Emery has had so many injuries in this area, but aside from that fact, the quality needed to sustain a top four charge just isn’t there. Replacing Aaron Ramsey, long-term, would also be savvy and the arrival of Denis Suarez from Barcelona seems likely. The Spanish central midfielder play for Emery while he was on loan at Sevilla and he can add that extra bit of quality to supply the likes of Aubameyrang and Lacazette.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Key transfer need: Central midfield – Some extra depth in central midfield is all that is needed, as Chris Hughton has a strong squad and the quality of his starting XI doesn’t drop significantly when a regular is replaced. Having some extra nous in central midfield would be a good move.
Key transfer needs: Winger, attacking midfielder – Injuries to key players in attack have hampered Burnley for most of this season, and with their defense sorted out in recent weeks and Tom Heaton back in goal, they are shored up at the back. They could do with adding more creativity in the final third as the likes of Steven Defour just hasn’t recovered from his horrible injury.
Key transfer needs: Striker, winger, right back – Neil Warnock is already miffed after missing out on signing Clyne, but the Bluebirds have long been linked with Emiliano Sala and Youseff Msakni. However, both attackers are said to not be keen on a move to the Welsh capital despite Cardiff currently sitting just outside of the relegation zone. Work to do for Cardiff to seal some signings, but they do not have a big budget and will have to wait for the last minute. Will it be too late by then?
Key transfer needs: Striker, central midfield – With Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud misfiring, Maurizio Sarri needs a new striker. Gonzalo Higuain has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, but it could be tough to sort out considering he is currently on loan from Juventus to AC Milan. With Cesc Fabregas on his way out, Sarri also wants a new central midfielder. Chelsea have been linked with a $55 million move for Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella, which would be another huge outlay after they bought Christian Pulisic for $73 million before loaning him back to Dortmund until the summer.
Key transfer needs: Striker, center back – The Toffees need a new center forward too, as Cenk Tosun‘s move just hasn’t worked out and Dominic Calvert-Lewin may not cut the mustard at the top level. Richarlison has had to play through the middle a lot this season and he is clearly better coming off the left. As for defense, Kurt Zouma, Michael Keane and Yerry Mina have had rollercoaster campaigns and getting them extra cover, especially in a 3-4-3 formation, is vital.
Key transfer needs: Center back, full backs – Claudio Ranieri has improved this Fulham defense significantly but this may be all he can do with his group of players. Gary Cahill has been linked with a loan move from Chelsea, while full back Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been told he can head back to parent club Manchester United. That suggests a new right back is on the way, and Ranieri could do with strengthening both full back positions and adding two new center backs. Going forward they look more than adequate, but there’s no real balance in this team.
Key transfer needs: Everywhere – It is quite simple, Huddersfield need to spend big in the transfer window or they are going to get relegated. After eight-straight defeats they are eight points from safety and scoring goals has been a huge problem all season. Jason Puncheon has arrived from Crystal Palace on loan and he is of course an experienced pro, but top quality in midfield and attack is needed. Losing Aaron Mooy and Danny Williams for a key part of the season was a blow, and the Terriers know they will have to act fast this month to give themselves a chance of staying up.
Key transfer needs: Striker, central midfield – With Vicente Iborra sold to Villarreal, there is a hole in central midfield for Claude Puel to plug. Up top the likes of Shinji Okazaki and Kelechi Iheanacho continue to deliver lackluster displays and Jamie Vardy really needs some support. Bringing in a strong center forward who can link up with Vardy would be ideal.
Key transfer needs: Attacking midfielder, left back – Nabil Fekir has been linked with a move to Liverpool, again, as the Frenchman’s move to Anfield collapsed at the last minute this summer. In some of their big games they’ve lacked a calming presence in midfield, and Naby Keita just hasn’t settled down. Liverpool need a No.10 type who can slow the tempo down a little when they want to. Adam Lallana can be that man if he stays fit, but a new playmaker would give them a big push towards the title. Alberto Moreno is a decent back up option at left back to Andrew Robertson, but he is set to leave in the summer so adding a new left back would be ideal.
Key transfer needs: Left back, defensive midfielder – Benjamin Mendy‘s injury problems mean that left back is the main area needed to strengthen in. Pep Guardiola‘s plan to play Fabian Delph there worked last season, but not so much this season, while Oleksandr Zinchenko hasn’t settled in that role. Aymeric Laporte has plugged the gap for now, but a long-term left back to challenge Mendy is badly needed. A long-term replacement for Fernandinho is needed too, as the Brazilian is badly missed when he’s been out injured.
Key transfer needs: Center back, left back – Defensively United need some serious help, as their stable of center backs just isn’t good enough and are injured far too often. Luke Shaw is their only real option at left back, with Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young able to play there out of position in a pinch.
Key transfer needs: Striker, central midfielder, winger – Now, it is very unlikely Rafael Benitez will be given money to spend in January, but he does need to strengthen in a few areas. Defensively they are solid enough and are all set there. But going forward he is woefully short of quality options. Extra quality off the wing, a No. 10 and a striker to partner Salomon Rondon is needed. Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United has been linked with a move to St James’ Park but the Magpies are baulking at the $35 million transfer fee.
Key transfer needs: Winger, striker, center back – Saints have a lot of center backs, but Ralph Hasenhuttl has pretty much hinted that Wesley Hoedt is available to leave and that will open a spot up for them to strengthen in. Bednarek, Yoshida and Vestergaard have played okay at times, but RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano has been linked with a move to St Mary’s. Up top there will be an almighty shake up as Manolo Gabbiadini is leaving, Shane Long is on his way out and with Danny Ings‘ injuries flaring up, Hasenhuttl needs reinforcements. His style of play is all about pace, so adding extra pace out wide and up top is the main aim this month. Saints have to sell before they buy, so that will be challenging. Roger Guedes, Yussuf Poulsen and Odio Ighalo have been a few names linked with Saints.
Key transfer needs: Central midfield, striker – Although Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he will not be looking to buy anyone in January due to the lack of funds available with the new stadium move almost complete, Spurs are likely to promote youngsters into their squad. But if they are going to be serious about mounting a title bid or going far in the Champions League, more help for Harry Kane (Fernando Llorente is fine for FA Cup games) is needed. Oliver Skipp has stepped in admirably in midfield, and given the fact that Mousa Dembele seems destined to leave, they could have some money to spend on a new midfielder.
Key transfer need: Center back – It is one of the areas which Watford have ignored for some time, but they always seem to get by. The likes of Cathcart and Kabasele could be upgraded quite easily, and Watford should aim to add extra quality in central defense as they’ve thrown away plenty of points this season. Going forward and in midfield they are littered with options for Javi Gracia. Sort out their defense ahead of the brilliant Ben Foster and they will push hard for European qualification.
West Ham United
Key transfer needs: Nowhere – The Hammers are pretty set and spent a lot of money in the summer. They have a plethora of options up top, in defense and especially in midfield. Consiering Jack Wilshere has hardly kicked a ball this season, Andriy Yarmolenko is out of the rest of the season and Manuel Lanzini is on his way back after a lengthy injury, they have plenty of quality in reserve too. Maybe some extra cover defensively could help, but apart from that Manuel Pellegrini has a very strong squad to choose from.
Key transfer need: Striker – Linked with a move for Tammy Abraham, who has spent the first half of the season on loan at Aston Villa, Wolves need help for Raul Jimenez. The Mexican striker has been far from prolific, but he creates so many chances yet doesn’t have a lot of support in games. Nuno Espirito Santo is well stocked elsewhere, but adding a new center back to work into their three-man defense would do wonders for that rotation.
With a few teams already securing January moves, there’s plenty more talk going around. The title race in the Premier League is back on, with the battle for Champions League places and the relegation fight also quite close.
So, as teams look to fill holes big and small, we take a look at the biggest transfer gossip of the day.
With Liverpool now looking over its shoulder at a closing Manchester City, a familiar name has surfaced. Nabil Fekir was a summer Liverpool target, with news of the Reds chase quite public. He ultimately stayed at the French club, but with his contract expiring in 2020, the onus is on Lyon to sell before the club loses even more leverage.
Rumors have resurfaced this winter as Fekir was omitted from the Lyon squad to take on a fifth-tier club in the Coupe de France. It’s not anything terribly out of the ordinary, as Fekir’s minutes have been limited this season with the occasional rest, so it’s not too odd to see him held out of a matchup against a lower-tier club. Still, that has energized new rumors, as the belief is Lyon will see Fekir’s value drop should they wait to sell in the summer, and they could find a desperate buyer to drive up the price should they sell now.
Fekir has been solid this season, with four goals and two assists in 12 Ligue 1 appearances, plus three goals and two assists in five Champions League matches. Lyon sits third in a brutally tight battle for Champions League places in the Ligue 1 table, so losing Fekir could be tough to stomach, but holding onto him any longer could devalue his asking price considerably.
Arsenal and Chelsea have been linked countless times to Brazilian right-back Emerson, and those rumors have lit back up this winter, with his club Atletico Minero reportedly in some financial trouble, according to Brazilian publication UOL. Selling the 19-year-old could ease those burdens, and thus, January would be the perfect time to get talent-starved teams to bite. In addition, the Brazilian Serie A wrapped up its season on December 1, so the offseason could be the right time to let him leave. The club is reportedly looking to raise anywhere between $20 million and $30 million in player sales, and reports back in November mention Emerson would cost around $10 million.
According to a number of reports across the English tabloids, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Barcelona are the clubs most interested in his services. The Gunners especially are in need of full-backs, with Hector Bellerin injured and Stephan Lichtsteiner in poor form and at 34 years old.
Emerson made 23 league appearances for his club last season, scoring one goal and assisting another. Of those 23 appearances, 22 of them were starts, and he reached the full 90 minutes in all but one.
With lots of reports surrounding Aaron Ramsey‘s possible free transfer to Juventus, another marquee free transfer has flown under the radar. Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin is out of contract this summer, and at 32 years old, Atletico is expected to let him leave after eight decorated years with the club.
According to respected Italian journalist Gianluca di Marzio, Godin has already reached an agreement with his next club, signing a two-year deal with Inter Milan with an option for a third year. Inter’s defensive record is stellar this season, with 14 goals conceded in 19 matches, second only to table-toppers Juventus. Still, it would be hard to pass up a defender of Godin’s pedigree, as he would be a positive influence on emerging 23-year-old Milan Skriniar who has already racked up 2,000 minutes this season.
Di Marzio reports that the deal still needs to be “finalized” but that it is heading in that direction. It would allow Godin to link up with former teammate Miranda, with whom Godin won the La Liga title in 2014.
According to Belgian publication HLN, West Ham, Newcastle and Cardiff City are all interested in 22-year-old Brazilian striker Wesley, who currently plays at Belgian side Club Brugge.
Wesley has scored seven goals and assisted six others among 19 appearances in Jupiler Pro League play, helping Club Brugge to second in the league through 21 matches. The report states Cardiff has already made an official bid for him but it was turned down. An amount was not given.
The report states the club would rather sell in the summer than let him go in the middle of the season, but that the situation is fluid and the club does have a price that would force its hand. Both Cardiff and Newcastle have struggled to create goals this season, and Wesley’s ability to both score and create chances.
Aaron Ramsey been the focal point of countless rumors this winter, as his Arsenal contract is set to run out in July and the club has failed to come to an agreement with the Welsh international about an extension, meaning he will almost surely leave this summer on a free transfer.
For weeks Juventus has been considered the frontrunner for Ramsey’s signature after his Arsenal contract expires, with rumors even suggesting he could leave in the January transfer window as Arsenal looks to secure some kind of monetary return for his departure.
Thursday morning, reports in Italy have claimed the transfer is complete and Ramsey has signed a Bosman with Juventus, allowing him to leave Arsenal in the summer for Turin. Italian publication Sportmediaset was the first to the news, claiming Ramsey has signed a five-year contract worth around $7.5 million base salary plus appearance bonuses. The report even suggests that Ramsey’s departure in January remains in play.
However, after news from Italy came out that Ramsey’s contract is signed, Sky Sports Italy has returned to claim that while Juventus is still an overwhelming favorite for the 28-year-old’s signature, the contract is not done and dusted yet. “Reports that he [Ramsey] has signed a pre-contract agreement are premature,” Sky Sports wrote on Twitter and then soon after in their Transfer Center. Sky reports that Ramsey has not yet completed the required medical, leaving open the possibility of other end results.
Juventus essentially confirmed its interest in Ramsey on Wednesday, or at least, as much as you’ll get publicly from big clubs working on high profile transfers. “Ramsey is a very good player who has been playing at a high level for many years and who plays for an important club. For now, that’s it,” Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici told Sky Sports Italy. “He is a player whose contract is going to end and we always pay great attention to the situations offered by the transfer market because it is our duty, so we also pay attention to Ramsey.”
Asked about Ramsey’s situation in his press conference Thursday morning, Arsenal manager Unai Emery said, “I don’t know. I want his focus every day with us on training and thinking for the next match, which is against Blackpool. I am looking at him and he’s very concentrated with us now. On Tuesday [against Fulham], he scored when he played 15 minutes, and he gave a good performance. I want that from him, and also he needs to [look] at his future.”