Hal Robson-Kanu

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PL Sunday preview: Man Utd to delay City’s party another week?

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Manchester United are the last hurdle standing between Manchester City and the Premier League title, a race which could come to its rather anti-climactic end on Sunday, while Arsenal continue battling for Champions League Europa League qualification…

[ MORE: Man City on the brink of PL title ]

Newcastle United vs. Arsenal — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

10th-place Newcastle entered the weekend every bit as hot as sixth-place Arsenal, with both sides having won three straight PL games ahead of Sunday’s clash at St. James’ Park. The Magpies have clawed their way back following a disastrous start to the season (just four wins from their first 18 games, including a run of one point from nine games from October to December) and are all but mathematically safe from relegation after knocking off fellow relegation battlers Southampton and Huddersfield Town, as well as eighth-place Leicester City. Rafa Benitez will surely feel this is one of the best coaching jobs of his illustrious career, given the (lack of) resources at his disposal in the summer.

For Arsenal, the top-four is no longer a possibility (they sit 13 points behind north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur), and even fifth appears a big ask with just five games to go (six points separate them from Chelsea). In short, Arsene Wenger is all-in on the Europa League, which will see them face Atletico Madrid in the semifinals beginning next week. Similarly to Newcastle, their three-game streak has come against sides all currently 12th or lower in the table (12th, 18th and 19th). After a late scare away to CSKA Moscow in Thursday’s quarterfinals second leg, expect a heavily rotated lineup on Sunday.

INJURIES: Newcastle — OUT: Jesus Gamez (ankle) | Arsenal — OUT: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (knee), David Ospina (ankle), Santi Cazorla (achilles); QUESTIONABLE: Granit Xhaka (flu)

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man City’s win over Spurs ]

Manchester United vs. West Brom — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Jose Mourinho’s Man United already delayed Man City’s PL title-winning party one week, and they have the chance to do it again on Sunday. City breezed past Tottenham on Saturday, leaving them three points from the title, which could also be achieved by a United loss to last-place West Brom at Old Trafford — an unlikely outcome, in all honesty.

“During the week I was trying to fight that result (the win over Man City) by working hard and trying to make the players understand that it’s not enough to deserve to finish second, we need the points to finish second,” Mourinho said this week. “Obviously to finish top-four we need four or five points, but to finish second we need much more than that and after three important points last weekend, we have to try to … be closer to the second position, which is, in this moment, our ambition.”

As for West Brom, their fate as a Championship side next season could be sealed as soon as next weekend. A loss on Sunday would mean the only way to avoid relegation is to win their final four games and Swansea City would have to lose all of their final five while overturning a minor goal-differential disadvantage (-19 to -26). An even more unlikely sequence of extraordinary events.

“From my discussions with the owners already, I know there is a genuine desire to build a team with greater goal power and attacking threat which can capture the fans’ imagination,” chief executive Mark Jenkins said this week. “In the event of our losing Premier League status, it will be a squad we will want to compete strongly for promotion back to the top tier.”

INJURIES: Man United — OUT: Phil Jones (fitness), Daley Blind (fitness), Sergio Romero (knee) | West Brom — OUT: Gareth Barry (knee), Hal Robson-Kanu (concussion), James Morrison (achilles); QUESTIONABLE: Daniel Sturridge (hamstring), Nacer Chadli (thigh), Jonny Evans (knee)

Done Deal: Sturridge loaned to West Brom; Deulofeu to Watford

Photo credit: West Bromwich Albion / Twitter: @WBA
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Daniel Sturridge‘s eternal search for full-time first-team minutes has, at long last, come to an end, with the Liverpool and England striker heading to West Bromwich Albion on loan through the end of the season.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundupSunday | Friday ]

Sturridge has made just nine Premier League appearances this season (five as a starter) after making 20 (seven as a starter) a year ago. With West Brom presently sitting 19th in the PL table — three points from safety — Sturridge’s ability to score 8-10 goals over the final 14 games of the season could very well be the difference between relegation and staying up.

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright offered the following analysis of how Sturridge will fit at West Brom, and the thinking behind making this move:

He needs game time if he’s going to have any chance of getting in the England squad for the 2018 World Cup this summer and although Jay Rodriguez scored twice against Liverpool in West Brom’s shock FA Cup win at Anfield at the weekend, his talents are better used out wide. West Brom certainly create better chances for their forwards than Newcastle and you can argue that the Baggies have more momentum than the struggling Magpies at a crucial part of the season.

Pardew’s other attacking options at West Brom are far from prolific with Salomon Rondon and Hal Robson-Kanu mustering just five PL goals between them this season despite their hard-working displays. Sturridge would add an extra cutting edge to the Baggies attack and if he stays fit he will give them a massive boost in their battle against relegation from the Premier League.

West Brom also announced on Monday the signing of Egyptian international defender Ali Gabr, a 29-year-old center back who’ll likely be in the Pharaoh’s 23-man squad at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.


Elsewhere in the PL, 10th-place Watford (six points separate them from 7th- and 8th-place Leicester City and Burnley, respectively) have made an attacking loan signing of their own: Barcelona (and former Everton, AC Milan, Sevilla and Barcelona, again) winger Gerard Deulofeu.

Following a(nother) unsuccessful spell at his club of development, Deulofeu has again been deemed surplus to requirements and sent on loan to the PL, where he 52 league appearances across two different spells at Everton, where he scored five goals (8 goals in 75 appearances in all competitions).

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Sturridge in demand; Pelle to West Ham

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Daniel Sturridge looks set to join a Premier League club on loan between now and the transfer window closing on Wednesday.

Sturridge, 28, is out of form and favor at Liverpool and clubs such as Sevilla and Inter Milan were said to be interested in signing the England international on loan.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ]  

However, Newcastle United were thought to be the favorites on Monday, but West Bromwich Albion have now become the clear front-runners to sign Sturridge with Alan Pardew offering him the chance to be their main striker for the rest of the season.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Jurgen Klopp had his say on Sturridge’s future.

“In the next three days a lot will probably happen but nothing to say about that. If there was something it wouldn’t help us, Daniel or the other club to talk about it,” Klopp said.

Are West Brom the best fit for Sturridge? He needs game time if he’s going to have any chance of getting in the England squad for the 2018 World Cup this summer and although Jay Rodriguez scored twice against Liverpool in West Brom’s shock FA Cup win at Anfield at the weekend, his talents are better used out wide. West Brom certainly create better chances for their forwards than Newcastle and you can argue that the Baggies have more momentum than the struggling Magpies at a crucial part of the season.

Pardew’s other attacking options at West Brom are far from prolific with Salomon Rondon and Hal Robson-Kanu mustering just five PL goals between them this season despite their hard-working displays. Sturridge would add an extra cutting edge to the Baggies attack and if he stays fit he will give them a massive boost in their battle against relegation from the Premier League.

Newcastle and Rafael Benitez must be kicking themselves as another potentially massive deal looks to have fallen at the final hurdle.


West Ham United are expected to be busy in the final days of the window with David Moyes reportedly chasing a new striker and central midfielder.

The Hammers have been linked with moves for Morgan Schneiderlin from Everton and Graziano Pelle from Shandong Lenung.

Schneiderlin, 28, has fallen out of favor at Goodison Park since Sam Allardyce‘s arrival and the French international midfielder has seen his bright start to life at Everton fade badly since Ronald Koeman was sacked at the start of this season.

West Ham have been linked with many holding midfielders in previous windows, including Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho, Anderlcht’s Leander Dendoncker and Bournemouth’s Harry Arter, and Schneiderlin’s ability to break the ball up and start attacks would certainly fit the bill. Schneiderlin will reportedly cost $28 million.

His former Southampton teammate Pelle, who has been at Chinese Super League side Shandong Lenung for the past 18 months, earns over $1.2 million per month in China but West Ham are said to want the 31-year-old to return to the Premier League. Italian international Pelle scored 30 goals in two seasons at Southampton from 2014-2016 but has scored just 12 goals in China so far.

With Andy Carroll out injured long-term, plus the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini struggling with smaller injuries and Diafra Sakho sold to Rennes on Monday, Moyes only has Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew to rely on right now.

Pelle’s arrival as a target man may place question marks around Carroll’s future at the London Stadium, especially given Chelsea’s reported interest, but the 32-year-old Italian will want to be compensated handsomely if he is to leave his deal in China 12 months before its expiration.

Watch Live: West Brom v. Arsenal

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On Sunday West Bromwich Albion host Arsenal in the final Premier League game of 2017 (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Arsene Wenger takes charge of his 811th Premier League game as a manager, surpassing Sir Alex Ferguson‘s record as managing the most games in PL history.

The Baggies are without a win in 18 games in the PL, while Arsenal are aiming to momentarily move into fifth place and close the gap to fourth-place Liverpool to just one point.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

In team news West Brom make one change from their draw against Everton with Salomon Rondon replaced by Hal Robson-Kanu.

Arsenal make one change from their win over Crystal Palace on Thursday with Alex Iwobi replacing the injured Mesut Ozil who has a minor knee problem.

LINEUPS

West Brom: Foster; Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs; Livermore, Barry; Phillips, Rodriguez, Brunt; Robson-Kanu. Subs: Myhill, Nyom, Yacob, McClean, Burke, Krychowiak, McAuley

Arsenal: Cech; Chambers, Mustafi, Koscielny; Bellerin, Xhaka, Wilshere, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Alexis, Lacazette Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin, Elneny, Walcott, Welbeck

West Brom 0-0 Crystal Palace: Baggies, Eagles in stalemate

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  • Baggies without a win in 13 games
  • Palace pick up 2nd away point of season
  • Eagles yet to score away this season

West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace played out a tight, tense 0-0 draw at the Hawthorns with Alan Pardew left frustrated on his debut.

Palace’s 38-year-old goalkeeper Julian Speroni, only playing because Wayne Hennessey was injured in the warm up, was the hero for Palace as he denied West Brom on multiple occasions.

With the point West Brom have 13 points for the season and sit one place above Palace who occupy the final relegation spot on 10 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Early on the Baggies should have gone ahead but Hal Robson-Kanu scooped the ball over the bar when he should have scored.

Wilfried Zaha tried to get Palace going as he had a shot deflected into the side-netting and then almost caught Ben Foster out as he miscontrolled the ball at his feet.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Zaha went close for Palace again before half time but his shot flew just over the bar and Christian Benteke then dribbled past several West Brom defenders before having his shot pushed wide by Foster.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

In the second half West Brom looked more likely to grab the win with Jay Rodriguez set free but his effort was smothered by Julian Speroni and then Robson-Kanu put the follow-up over. Another glorious chance wasted.

Speroni then saved from Robson-Kanu and Salomon Rondon nodded wide with the Baggies having to settle for a point on Pardew’s debut.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

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