Francis Coquelin

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Live, UCL last 16: Spurs v. RB Leipzig, Atalanta v. Valencia

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One Premier League has already found life in the Champions League knockout stage tougher than anticipated. Now, another takes the field hoping to fare better.

Spurs take the field looking to earn a hard-fought result against Bundesliga title contenders RB Leipzig at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at 3:00 p.m. ET. Jose Mourinho has spent much of the week reminding everyone how many obstacles the Spurs squad has faced after the news that Heung-Min Son could potentially miss the rest of the season with a broken arm, joining Harry Kane on the injured list.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

Mourinho’s men have won three Premier League matches in a row, in good form coming into this match. They take on an RB Leipzig squad that sits just a point back of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga title race but has won just once in its last four league games, a 3-0 victory over Werder Bremen last time out. Striker Timo Werner, who is rumored to be of interest to Liverpool, has not scored since January 18, a five-match drought across all competitions. Leipzig is also struggling with missing players as Dayot Upamecano is suspended and both Ibrahima Konate and Willi Orban are injured, so Chelsea loanee Ethan Ampadu is selected.

Meanwhile, Atalanta makes its Champions League knockout stage debut as the Italian side “hosts” Spanish club Valencia. The Serie A side was not allowed to play in its home Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia as it does not pass UEFA regulations, so they are playing all Champions League home games at the San Siro.

Chelsea loanee Mario Pasalic starts for Atalanta in midfield with rumors of a permanent move this summer to help fund the Hakim Ziyech deal. Since December 22, the Italian side has won five while losing just one in Serie A play, including a 2-1 win over Roma last time out that saw Pasalic score the winner.

Valencia counters with Uruguayan striker Maxi Gomez up front supported by Ferran Torres and Goncalo Guedes. The Spaniards are without Ezequiel Garay, Francis Coquelin, and Gabriel Paulista all through injury. Still, they managed a 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid last time out in La Liga play on a 59th minute equalizer by Geoffrey Kondogbia’s first goal of the season.


Wednesday Champions League action

Tottenham Hotspur v. RB Leipzig
Atalanta v. Valencia

LINEUPS

Tottenham: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Winks, Fernandes, Lo Celso, Alli, Bergwijn, Lucas Moura.

RB Leipzig: Gulacsi, Mukiele, Klostermann, Halstenberg, Angelino, Laimer, Ampadu, Sabitzer, Nkunku, Schick, Werner.

Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti, Hateboer, de Roon, Freuler, Gosens, Pasalic, Ilicic, Gomez.

Valencia: Domenech; Wass, Diakhaby, Mangala, Gaya, Kondogbia, Parejo, Soler, Torres, Goncalo Guedes, Gomez.

Chelsea needs to wait ’48 hours’ to assess Mount

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Mason Mount‘s move from the Championship to the Premier League has been nearly seamless.

His adjustment to the Champions League was cut down too quickly to get an understanding of whether it would be too big of a jump.

[ MORE: Match recap | Barkley drama ]

Mount, 20, was chopped down by Valencia’s Francis Coquelin, the former Arsenal man, and had to leave the game after just 16 minutes.

Here’s Frank Lampard, from ChelseaFC.com:

“He’s got an ankle injury but we don’t know how bad it is. We’ll have to assess it in the next 48 hours to see the scale of the injury. It was a shame because he started the game well and it meant we had to make the change early on.”

Mount scored nine times with four assists on loan under Lampard at Derby County last season, and has already chipped in three goals for Chelsea this season.

Lampard turned to Pedro off the bench on Tuesday, but any lengthy absence for Mount will spell more time for American youngster Christian Pulisic.

Barkley sails late penalty, Chelsea falls

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Ross Barkley missed a late penalty as Chelsea lost its UEFA Champions League opener 1-0 to Valencia on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Rodrigo scored the lone goal, and Valencia will be thrilled to collect all three points in London.

Christian Pulisic was an unused sub for Chelsea, who out-attempted Valencia 22-8 on the day.


Three things we learned

1. Pulisic down the pecking order: The American star didn’t start, and wasn’t the first name called when Mason Mount was injured. Granted Pedro played a little deeper, but not a good week for the Hershey-born Pulisic

2. Wide men the danger men: Willian was the likely Man of the Match for Chelsea despite the lack of goals, and full backs Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta were also key to the resutl.

3. Penalty drama: VAR gave Chelsea a chance to level from the spot, but Ross Barkley stepped ahead of Willian and missed the chance. The Brazilian looked aggrieved before and after the miss, and Barkley looked mighty confident right until the moment he missed his shot. Sort yourself out!

Man of the Match: Willian — No wonder he was angry to see Barkley demand the penalty, as a Willian goal would’ve been a fitting result for his clever and industrious day at the office.


Valencia keeper Jasper Cillesen made two stops early, denying Tammy Abraham to concede a corner before collecting a Marcos Alonso header on the ensuing set piece.

Would it be Christian Pulisic time when Mason Mount left the match with injury following a challenge from former Arsenal man Francis Coquelin? Nope. Pedro was called upon to fill the void.

It was a sleepy second half, with Pedro conceding a free kick to Valencia that didn’t amount to anything exciting.

Those who stuck around were rewarded with late drama, as Valencia took the lead through a Rodrigo flick off a free kick.

However, Valencia then had to watch through its fingers as Chelsea was gifted a chance at the spot through VAR when Fikayo Tomori headed a ball off the arm of Daniel Wass.

Willian was upset to see Ross Barkley take the penalty, and the English midfielder probably wishes he let someone else take it after missing over the bar.

Ranking the tough UCL draws for Premier League clubs

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All the Premier League clubs will tell you they like their chances of advancing to the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds following Thursday’s group stage draws.

[ MORE: Full UCL draw ]

Only one should be feel confident it can top theirs.

Manchester City faces solid clubs — this is the UCL, after all — but can look at its Premier League peers and exhale in relief at the dodged challenges.

4) Man City will face Shakhtar Donetsk, the only team to beat them in the group stage last season albeit in a meaningless game. Hoffenheim and Lyon are good teams from power leagues, but no more of a challenge than last season’s Napoli-Feyenoord group.

3) Manchester United will need to get past either Juventus or Valencia to get to the knockout rounds, which isn’t to say Young Boys are going to let the Red Devils waltz through Switzerland. Valencia brings the threats of Michy Batshuayi and Denis Cheryshev, as well as familiar names Francis Coquelin, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Goncalo Guedes. And Juve’s threat is well-known. The Old Lady will be just as fired up for Paul Pogba‘s return as Old Trafford is to renew acquaintances with Cristiano Ronaldo.

1b) Tottenham Hotspur sits just behind Liverpool for the toughest group. First off, there’s Barcelona. That requires no explanation, as Lionel Messi and pals are deep at every position. Spurs also drew the most difficult Pot 4 option in Inter Milan, though drawing a young PSV Eindhoven slots them second.

1a) Liverpool’s task stands tall, and it will surely hope to get some benefits from the fixture makers. The Reds have to visit Red Star Belgrade in Serbia in addition to getting past either Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli. Holy smoke.

January transfer window grades for every PL club

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How did all 20 of the Premier League teams fare in the January transfer window?

[ MORE: Latest January transfer news

With the window ending on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET, now is the time to analyze which clubs did the best wheeling and dealing over the past 31 days.

Below is a grade for all 20 clubs based on their business.


Arsenal: A
All in all, a very good window for the Gunners. They got Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Alexis Sanchez in a straight-swap, then spun Olivier Giroud out to Chelsea on Deadline Day for $25 million and brought in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for $77 million as well as Mesut Ozil agreeing a new deal. They sold Theo Walcott and Francis Coquelin as well as getting Matheiu Debuchy off the books. Despite their defense still needing work this was a major rebuild by Arsene Wenger, all for just $10 million net. Very, very fruitful January and plenty of promise for the months ahead.

West Brom: B+
They kept hold of captain and inspirational center back Jonny Evans for their impending relegation battle and added a world-class striker in Daniel Sturridge on loan from Liverpool. A fine window for Alan Pardew‘s Baggies who also added Egyptian center back Ali Gabr as cover.

Manchester United: B+
The Sanchez deal was a massive bonus for United who couldn’t believe their luck when Man City pulled out of the deal. Jose Mourinho also got rid of Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the deal and United loaned out a few fringe players. Sanchez should give them the boost they need in the final months of the season to finish in the top four and go far in the Champions League.

Chelsea: B+
Pretty decent window for the Blues in the end as Olivier Giroud arrived on Deadline Day, plus Ross Barkley was well with a gamble at $20 million and Emerson Palmeri will provide key competition at left back. Antonio Conte may not have the overall say on transfers, but his squad has been strengthened with Michy Batshuayi leaving on loan the only major departure.

Manchester City: B
Swing and a miss on Mahrez and Alexis Sanchez but Aymeric Laporte arrived for a club-record $80 million fee and he will be a long-term project in defense. Jack Harrison was the only other arrival and the former NYCFC man is a product of the City Football Group who loaned him out to Middlesbrough right away.

Liverpool: B
They addressed their big need at CB with Virgil Van Dijk coming in, but was that all that Liverpool needed? Philippe Coutinho‘s departure for $197 million saw them bag VVD and come out $97 million on top in the deal, but Klopp will definitely spend big on a goalkeeper and a few more defenders in the summer.

Brighton & Hove Albion: B
The Seagulls needed to add extra firepower and they did that with Jurgen Locadia and Leonardo Ulloa arriving. A decent window for Brighton and they kept hold of their star players.

Tottenham Hotspur: B-
A Deadline Day arrival with Lucas Moura coming in from PSG for $32 million which could be a steal. He will give Spurs something extra in attack in their top four battle. Loaning out several fringe players will be helpful.

Swansea City: C+
Solid enough window for the Swans as brought in Andre Ayew on Deadline Day for $23 million as he returned to the Swans and will add goals. They kept hold of Alfie Mawson which was a big moment. Given their recent good form, they didn’t need to add much.

Everton: C+
Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott were a necessity with Sam Allardyce desperate to increase his attacking options. Eliaquim Mangala arriving on loan provides extra defensive cover too. Kevin Mirallas, Sandro and Ross Barkley all leaving was a bonus and the Toffees probably needed to trim the wage-bill further too.

Leicester City: C
They kept Riyad Mahrez, despite late interest from Manchester City, and Claude Puel looks to have found a gem in Fousseni Diabate. They also shipped out Ahmed Musa and Leonardo Ulloa who weren’t going to play. Decent window.

Stoke City: C
Badou Ndiaye’s arrival on Deadline Day could be a nifty pick-up in midfield with $19.8 million spent, while Moritz Bauer and Kostas Stafylidis will be steady defensive additions to the squad. Paul Lambert needs to rejuvenate the talent within his squad too.

Burnley: C-
Quiet window for Burnley who added Aaron Lennon and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou to give them extra pace out wide, but you get the feeling Sean Dyche wanted to do a bit more business with his Clarets tumbling down the league. Keeping hold of Ashley Barnes was a bonus.

Southampton: C-
The big loss was Virgil van Dijk but they got $100 million for him from Liverpool and a record deal for a center back. It was time he left after not playing anywhere near his full potential. Guido Carrillo has arrived to add extra firepower but not getting the deal over the line for Quincy Promes has left a cloud hanging over their window.

West Ham United: D
Frustrating window in many respects for David Moyes who did plenty of wheeling and dealing late on. Hit by injuries to key players, he needed to do plenty late on and Joao Mario’s addition on loan from Inter looks like a superb signing. Jordan Hugill arrived from Preston too and will add strength in depth up front.

Watford: D
Javi Gracia’s arrival as manager saw Gerard Deulofeu arrive on loan, but keeping Troy Deeney could be a bigger deal. Didier Ndong has arrived on loan too but the Hornets could have done with a few more defensive reinforcements.

Huddersfield Town: D
Terrence Kongolo and Alex Pritchard were the key arrivals and although the Terriers spent big on Pritchard, you feel like David Wagner could have worked the loan window a little better.

Crystal Palace: D
Erdal Rakip and Jaroslaw Jach will bolster Roy Hodgson‘s squad but the veteran manager will have wanted more from this window. His search for a new striker didn’t go well but Palace did sign Alexander Sorloth late on. Despite their recent good form, the Eagles rely heavily on Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke.

Bournemouth: D
No significant arrivals and plenty of youngsters shipped out on loan. Not a busy window at all for the Cherries as Eddie Howe decided to keep his cash in his pocket. With the relegation picture so tight, Bournemouth are another club in the bottom half who could rue not spending.

Newcastle United: D-
A disappointing window for the Magpies who needed a striker but Daniel Sturridge turned them down and Nicolai Jorgensen was too expensive. Kenedy arrived on loan from Chelsea and given the state of limbo with a new ownership deal in doubt, Rafael Benitez must be a very frustrated man. A late loan move for Islam Slimani could save the day for the Magpies though.