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Top 12 signings of 2018-19 Premier League season

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As we enter the final seven weeks of the Premier League season, now seems like a good time to focus on which players have stood out at their new clubs.

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From new star strikers to game-changing playmakers and much-needed defensive additions, a lot of clubs were extremely shrewd in the transfer market last summer.

Below we rank the top 12 signings of the season across the PL based on their performance so far.


1. Raul Jimenez (Wolves, on loan from Benfica) – The Mexican striker is Wolves’ top scorer and has them in seventh in the PL and in the FA Cup semis. Wolves are probably the best-ever newly-promoted team in PL history and his hold-up play, finishing and ability to run in behind and link-up with Diogo Jota is a big part of that. Now, they must try to sign him permanently. That is the hard part as clubs all over Europe are now chasing him after a wonderful debut campaign in the PL.


2. David Brooks (Bournemouth from Sheffield United, $15.2 million) – This was an absolute bargain. Brooks, 21, has shone in the top-flight and surprised everyone, including himself, at how well he has adapted. In his first PL season he has brought pace and trickery and he’s complemented Bournemouth’s other forwards perfectly. The Welsh winger has a bright future.


3. Joao Moutinho (Wolves from AS Monaco, $6.6 million) – The man who makes Wolves tick, the experienced Portuguese midfielder has oozed class and his set-piece deliveries cause all kinds of problems. Alongside Ruben Neves he just keeps chipping away, keeps the ball effortlessly and his range of passing is sublime. A real unsung hero. And a bargain.


4. Sokratis (Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund, $23.4 million) – After a bit of a shaky start, he’s come into his own in recent months and is one of the first names on Arsenal’s teamsheet. The towering Greek defender is a real character and is making the defenders around him better. A proper no-nonsense center half, Sokratis is becoming a cult hero at Arsenal and is a big reason they are in the top four.


5. Richarlison (Everton from Watford, $53 million) – It was big money for a Brazilian youngster who had just one season in the PL under his belt, but it was money well spent by Marco Silva. Richarlison, 21, has been called up to the full Brazil team and has scored 13 goals in his debut season at Everton. His pace has been crucial for the Toffees and although he’s played up front a lot on his own, out wide is where he is at his best.


6. Salomon Rondon (Newcastle, on loan from West Brom) – The big Venezuelan striker has been a revelation for the Magpies as Rafael Benitez has built his entire attack around Rondon. Able to hold the ball up and finish off plentiful crosses into the box, Rondon is perfectly suited for this Newcastle side. He gets the best out of the attackers around him, and his goal return of 10 is pretty decent for a team which has struggled at the bottom for most of this season. You’d think Newcastle will sign Rondon permanently this summer, but he does have one more year left on his contract at West Brom.


7. Lucas Torreira (Arsenal from Sampdoria, $33 million) – A huge signing for Arsenal, as Torreira has added extra bite to the Gunners midfield. After a wonderful start to life in England he has been a little subdued in recent weeks, but he has still been very important in pushing them into the top four.


8. Felipe Anderson (West Ham from Lazio, $42 million) – The Brazilian playmaker has lived up to his status as the Hammers’ club-record signing, with some classy performances. His goals have dried up but he has continued to deliver consistently good displays. A little inconsistent, but very good overall.


9. Rui Patricio (Wolves from Sporting Lisbon, $20 million) – Initially a free transfer after the player situation at Sporting, Wolves have agreed to pay $20 million for the Portuguese international goalkeeper via a tribunal. That is still a bargain. Patricio has made some wonderful saves and his distribution is very good and he brings a calming influence to the defense.


10. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford from Barcelona, $14.7 million) – Okay, he was on loan at Watford last January, but he didn’t play too well in the second half of last season. That said, Watford signed him permanently in the summer and he’s been very good with seven goals and five assists so far. A nomadic career finally seems to have settled down for the 25-year-old Spaniard.


11. James Maddison (Leicester from Norwich, $26.5 million) – The young Englishman has settled into life in the PL very quickly and he’s scored some stunning goals. Maddison has been called up to the England squad but didn’t make his debut, however he is a key part of Leicester’s future under new manager Brendan Rodgers. A fast start to the campaign has dissipated, but in recent weeks he has picked up form again. At 22, he has so much potential.


12. Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal from Lorient, $9.2 million) – Like Torreira, his arrival made a big difference early in the season but he has gone off the boil a little bit. That said, for a 19-year-old he has shown admirable maturity and the way he rattles into challenges and keeps the ball is a perfect fit for the Premier League. A rising star.


Notable buys: Alisson (Liverpool from AS Roma, $74 million), Fabinho (Liverpool from AS Monaco, $51 million), Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth from ), Harry Arter (Cardiff City from Bournemouth, loan), Lucas Digne (Everton from Barcelona, $23 million), Andre Gomes (Everton from Barcelona, loan), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham from Newcastle, $25 million), Issa Diop (West Ham from Toulouse, $29 million), Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham from Swansea, $9.2 million), Willy Boly (Wolves from FC Porto, $15.9 million)


Bonus – Best January buys: Youri Tielemans, Miguel Almiron, Michy Batshuayi, Samir Nasri

The quartet above have all made big differences to their respective teams, with Tielemans a classy addition for Leicester on loan from Monaco, Almiron adding some much-needed creativity to Newcastle’s attack after a club-record arrival from Atlanta United, Batshuayi banging in goals during his first few months on loan from Chelsea and Nasri making a big difference at West Ham. All four have delivered exactly what has been asked of them, so far. It is too early to say they deserve to be in the top 10 signings of the season, but it is clear they have made fast starts at their new clubs.

Late penalty puts Liverpool atop table (video)

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  • Mane opens scoring in 26th
  • Ex-Reds striker Babel stars in loss
  • Mane wins late penalty, Milner converts

James Milner‘s 81st minute penalty saved Liverpool blushes in a 2-1 defeat of Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

The Reds had a Sadio Mane-inspired lead, but had given it back through a comedy of errors Ryan Babel equalizer.

Liverpool goes atop the Premier League on 76 points, having played one more match than Man City (74 points).

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Some lively dribbling from ex-Liverpool man Ryan Babel cued up Jean-Michael Seri for a shot that sailed over the goal.

Andrew Robertson hit a cross too close to Fulham keeper Rico after some fancy dribbling of his own.

Liverpool was asking all the questions when Mane put them ahead, beginning the move on the left wing before passing to and receiving from Roberto Firmino for 1-0.

Mane joins three players chasing Sergio Aguero’s league-leading goal total of 18: Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Harry Kane.

Mane has nine goals in his last nine PL matches, and 11 in 11 overall.

Liverpool was a bit lucky that a rash foul from Fabinho didn’t earn him as second yellow card and send the Reds down to 10 men at the break.

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Fulham did not quit, and looked the better money for a second half goal. A first break saw Aleksandar Mitrovic nod into the goal only to see an offside flag deny the marker.

Babel was at the center of it all, and led a second break which ended with a Alisson Becker save on Andre Franck Zambo Anguissa.

That’s when calamity occurred in the center of the pitch. James Milner mishit a clearance, and Virgil Van Dijk casually headed back toward Alisson. The goalkeeper lost the ball in his feet, and Babel was on the doorstep to slot home.

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The stalemate lasted just a few minutes, as Milner converted a penalty conceded when Rico impeded Mane in the box.

Mohamed Salah had a chance to put the match to bed following a Mane-led run, but the Egyptian fired right at Rico.

Chelsea’s Kepa stars in tight win at Fulham (video)

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  • Chelsea’s first away win of 2019
  • Back-to-back PL wins for Chelsea
  • Fulham 10 points from safety

Chelsea edged past battling Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Sunday, as Maurizio Sarri‘s men remain in the top four hunt.

Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho put Chelsea ahead twice in the first half as Calum Chambers had briefly put Fulham level. The Cottagers, coached by interim boss Scott Parker who replaced Claudio Ranieri on Thursday, battled until the end and almost snatched a draw on several occasions late on but Kepa Arrizabalaga made some great stops.

With the win Chelsea move on to 56 points and are two points off the top four with a game in hand. Fulham remain in 19th place and are 10 points from safety with nine games to go.

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The first big chance of the game arrived for Chelsea as Eden Hazard whipped in a cross but Higuain nodded just wide.

At the other end there was a real moment of worry for Kepa — recalled to the lineup after the incident during the League Cup final last Sunday — as he dropped a routine cross but Ryan Babel failed to spot the opportunity and could have had a tap in. Chelsea were ahead moments later.

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Cesar Azpilicueta got free on the right flank and pulled back a perfect ball for Higuain to sweep home at the near post and put Chelsea 1-0 up.

Just when it seemed like Chelsea were going to have an easy game, Fulham came roaring back as Aleksandar Mitrovic‘s volley was superbly tipped over by Kepa and from the resulting corner Fulham were level. A cross to the back post found Chambers completely unmarked and he volleyed home to make it 1-1.

Jorginho then restored Chelsea’s lead a few minutes later, as he slotted home a superb finish from outside of the box to make it 2-1. Sergio Rico denied Hazard and Higuain before half time, as Chelsea were in control but Fulham were still in the game.

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The second half followed the same theme as Chelsea dominated the play but Fulham looked threatening.

Willian slammed a shot into the side-netting as Chelsea pushed hard to put the game to bed, but Fulham threatened on the break as Mitrovic curled just over.

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Late on Kepa sprung to action as he denied Tom Cairney, Ryan Sessegnon and Joe Bryan, while Sessegnon had the ball in the back of the net in the 94th minute but he was correctly called offside.

After a tough week, Chelsea hung on for a big win.

Fulham’s Ranieri fired

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Claudio Ranieri met with his Fulham bosses on Thursday and the Cottagers relieved him of his duties, setting up the London club for a three-manager Premier League relegation season.

Again. Woof.

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Ranieri took over for Slavisa Jokanovic in November, with the club mired in last place via five points in 12 matches.

The former Leicester City and Chelsea boss has overseen 16 matches, with Fulham acquiring a further 12 points.

Scott Parker will serve as caretaker manager, and Fulham did not put too much blame on Ranieri. From FulhamFC.com:

“Following our discussion this afternoon, Claudio Ranieri agreed to my decision that a change was in the best interest of everyone. No surprise to me, Claudio was a perfect gentleman, as always. Claudio’s tenure at Fulham didn’t produce the outcome we anticipated and needed when I appointed him as Manager in November, but be assured he is not solely to blame for the position we are in today.”

The Cottagers sit 10 points back of 17th place Southampton despite splashing big summer money on Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jean Michael Seri, Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa, and Andre Schurrle amongst others.

They were a sexy pick to compete for a Europa League place but have instead wallowed in the relegation zone all season.

Is that on Ranieri? His resume suggested him as an ideal candidate to quickly bring a new team together, but it hasn’t happened and the side continues to ship goal after goal.

That seems likely to be down to players more than system, but here we sit with Jokanovic-Ranieri-Parker ready to be the new Jol-Meulensteen-Magath.

Southampton ease past sorry Fulham (video)

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  • Romeu, Ward-Prowse score goals
  • Saints two points above bottom three
  • Fulham 10 points from safety
  • Cottagers yet to win away

Southampton beat Fulham 2-0 at St Mary’s on Wednesday to drag themselves out of the relegation zone and pour more misery on the Cottagers.

First half goals from Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse did the business for Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side, while Fulham’s fans booed Claudio Ranieri and mocked their players throughout a woeful display.

Their status as a Premier League club is now in real jeopardy as they failed to turn up for a game they had to win to have any chance of staying up. Fulham are now 10 points from safety with 10 games to go.

With the win Saints now have 27 points and move two points above Cardiff, while Fulham have 17 points and remain in 19th place.

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Saints had plenty of the ball early on with Nathan Redmond smashing over after some smart footwork.

Calum Chambers had a shot deflected wide after a wonderful flowing move from Fulham, then Redmond had a shot deflected over as the game got going.

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Charlie Austin almost got on the end of a Ryan Bertrand cross before half time and from the resulting corner Saints took the lead. Bertrand’s corner caught Segio Rico flapping at it and Oriol Romeu’s shot from outside the box deflected in. 1-0.

Before the break Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sent a shot from the edge of the box inches wide as Saints took control of the game. Fulham were a threat on the break as Aleksandar Mitrovic turned well in the box but Yan Valery blocked the shot and then Mitrovic fired over.

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However, Saints got their second goal before the interval after good pressure forced Fulham into a mistake and Ward-Prowse followed up Redmond’s shot after Rico parried it. 2-0.

At the start of the second half Redmond was found with a short free kick but he dragged his shot wide with Saints attackers unable to get on the end of it.

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Saints had several chances to stretch their lead but Fulham almost made it interesting as Ryan Babel hit the crossbar with a shot.

The Fulham fans then vented their frustration at Claudio Ranieri and Director of Football Operations Tony Khan in the final moments, as the Cottagers are now in a huge amount of trouble in 19th place.