West Brom erased what was a 2-1 deficit to begin the semifinal second leg. Away goals are not used as a tiebreaker in the Football League’s promotion playoffs, thus the two Birmingham sides were forced into a penalty shootout, where Jed Steer would atone for a nearly calamitous error early in the game and season full of similar blunders.
Villa were in England’s top tier from 1975 until suffering relegation in 2016; they fell to Fulham in last season’s promotion final at Wembley Stadium. West Brom, on the other hand, saw their eight-year run in the PL end this time last year.
Leeds United hold a 1-0 advantage over Derby County, heading home for Wednesday’s other semifinal second leg.
Villa’s Tyrone Mings made a goal- and potentially season-saving block in the 53rd minute, after Steer gave the ball directly to West Brom’s Jacob Murphy, who took a touch toward goal and fired for the bottom corner, the ball destined for the inside netting. Mings recovered from out of nowhere — wide left, where he was an option for Steer to play the ball out — to get a foot in front of the ball and boot it away.
Steer started the shootout by denying Holgate with ease, diving to his left and getting both hands behind the ball to keep it out. Conor Hourihane took the opportunity to put Villa ahead seconds later. Steer came up big once again, denying Ahmed Hegazi on West Brom’s second effort. Mile Jedinak‘s first touch after coming on late in extra time came at the penalty spot, and the Australian dispatched his effort as coolly as could be done.
Tosin Adarabioyo got West Brom on the board in round 3, but Jack Grealish restored the two-make advantage by sending Sam Johnstone the wrong way for the third straight penalty attempt. Kieran Gibbs nicked the inside Steer’s right-hand post in round 4, but by the grace of luck the ball found its way into the corner. Albert Adomah put Villa’s fourth attempt over the bar.
James Morrison hammered West Brom’s fifth past Steer, setting up on-loan Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham for the decisive penalty. It wasn’t the best penalty ever hit, as Johnstone got a trailing foot on the ball, but it had enough power behind it to sneak over the line and send Villa to Wembley.
And Warnock is furious, even if Watford scored five goals to Cardiff’s one the rest of the way.
“We got mauled in the end. It looks bad in the paper. I have never seen the players like that at half-time. Everyone was talking about the penalty that hasn’t been given. Nobody can understand it. Decisions like that change the game. I can’t understand why it wasn’t given it’s a blatant penalty.
“It’s no excuse for conceding five but everyone in the game knows it changes things. The referee is in a great position so I just can’t understand it. If you can’t give decisions like that at this level you shouldn’t be refereeing.”
One might say that if the players were only talking about the play in question, that perhaps the manager might do well to do his best to turn the page on it quickly?
It was only 1-0 at that point, and Cardiff’s second half saw the Bluebirds conceded four times.
Once a non-event, the January transfer window has become busier and busier as the teams of the Premier League deem improving their lot for the second half of the season almost as important as the first.
6:21 p.m. ET — Yannick Bolasie is leaving Everton on loan to Anderlecht for the rest of the season after cutting a loan with Aston Villa short.
6 p.m. ET — The window is closed, but that just means deal sheets had to be submitted to the Premier League. Stay tuned for further announcements.
5:56 p.m. ET — Celtic have pushed another deal over the line in its bid to hold off Rangers and Aberdeen and win another Scottish Premiership title.
Jeremy Toljan will join the Bhoys from Borussia Dortmund on loan, having struggled to get playing time on the Bundesliga leaders.
OFFICIAL: Jeremy Toljan has joined Celtic from Borussia Dortmund for the rest of the season. Celtic were in need of a right-back and he’s finding it hard to get into Dortmund’s XI due to their brilliant form in the Bundesliga. Quick and agile, he’ll do well there. #BVB#CelticFCpic.twitter.com/4WJdLdW6fX
In case there was any doubt… Toronto plan to go big to replace Giovinco and Vazquez. Told club is aiming to sign a younger attacker as a DP in next couple weeks. If signed, the fee will likely be among the highest in MLS history. Targeting 1-2 TAM signings this window, as well.
4:22 p.m. ET — Everton’s potential sale of Idrissa Gana Gueye of Paris Saint-Germain has been quiet, but Sky Sports has broken into their coverage to say that Gana is now the subject of a $34 million bid.
The Toffees still do not plan on selling the industrious center midfielder, but he’s also 29 years old and the Toffees are neither in danger of being relegated nor finding their footing as a European club.
4:07 p.m. ET — Michy Batshuayi is one of the topics of conversation, as the Belgian striker looks to find regular playing time away from Chelsea.
Batshuayi, 25, tore up the Bundesliga on loan at Borussia Dortmund last season, but could not find the back of the goal often in a half-season at Valencia.
He’s been linked with moves to Real Betis, West Ham United, and — most unlikely — Spurs, but his wages are reportedly holding up the deal. Speaking on Sky Sports’ transfer deadline show, Sam Allardyce unsurprisingly said West Ham would be the best place for him.
3:49 p.m. ET — Some Americans in Scotland (and America) news.
It looks like MAC Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Gutman was not able to get the proper papers to activate his time at Celtic, as the Indiana University left back and USMNT hopeful has been sent on loan to Nashville SC.
Also signing leaving Celtic on loan is NC State’s Manny Perez, who is off on loan to North Carolina FC.
As the January transfer window winds down, teams that still have needs work furiously to get deals done and reinforce the squad. Some are not going according to plan, as Newcastle announced it has scrapped a deal with Jordan Lukaku after the 24-year-old Belgian failed a medical.
The rumors in the winter aren’t nearly as heavy as the summer, with teams often unwilling to part with even bit-part players unless they find a replacement. Still, there are some rumblings across Europe as to who might get a last-minute deal across the line with about a week to go.
According to multiple reports in England, Tottenham is after wantaway PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot as a desperate attempt to fill holes in the midfield left by recent injuries. The biggest is to England international Dele Alli who injured his hamstring against Fulham last weekend and will be out until March. They are also missing Moussa Sissoko, and while the Frenchman could return soon, he will at least miss this weekend, a cause for some concern.
Thus, it would make sense that Spurs would look to make a cut-rate deal for Rabiot, even as a rental for the rest of the season. According to the Daily Mail, it would cost about $26 million to pry away the 23-year-old midfielder, likely worth more than that on the open market but with his contract out this season and certain to leave PSG in the summer without a new deal, his value has been hacked. He’s been openly courted by Barcelona, and even had his agent – and mother – claim that Spurs is “beneath him,” but on a short-term deal could be valuable to the London club.
The biggest stumbling block to the deal is PSG welcoming Rabiot back to the squad. He was sent to train with the youth squad and removed from the matchday team, but they have recently been forced to take him back on court order. With that in mind, the team wants to sign a replacement before letting him go. Still, it would behoove them to get some kind of return on investment, with Rabiot otherwise ready to leave for free this summer.
Championship side West Brom is reportedly looking into bringing Fulham midfielder Kevin McDonald in on loan for the rest of the season. McDonald was a critical piece of the Fulham team that won promotion via the playoff last season, but has been relegated to just 10 Premier League appearances this season with new signings Jean-Michel Seri eating up minutes in midfield.
The Telegraph reports that West Brom has nearly secured Newcastle winger Jacob Murphy on loan, and that McDonald is next in line. At 30 years old, McDonald has looked a little behind the Premier League pace, but could do a job in the Championship if given a chance to reprise last year’s form.
West Brom currently sits third in the Championship table, in the thick of the promotion race. They are three points back of Norwich City in second, and just four behind Leeds United in the top spot.
Deulofeu seemed to have finally found a home at Watford on a permanent switch from Barcelona after a plethora of loans, and has been his usual streaky self, accumulating three goals and three assists. Still, a move to AC Milan could prove lucrative to Watford, who acquired him just this summer for a reported $15 million.
The 24-year-old Spaniard was at AC Milan on loan from Everton during the second half of the 2016/17 season, and was excellent at the San Siro, but Milan reportedly passed on acquiring him permanently despite fan pressure to do so. There could be a twinge of regret in Milan, and with Deulofeu’s excellent performances in Italy still fresh on the mind, it could be an important move with Milan clinging to the last Champions League place in Serie A.
According to Fiorentina director of football Pantaleo Corvino, Manchester United saw a bid for defender Nikola Milenkovic rejected earlier this January. Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport quoted Corvino admitting they turned down a bid from Manchester United along with a host of other bids from French and other Italian teams for different Fiorentina players. Corvino called Manchester United’s bid a “great bid” but did not specify a value.
Milenkovic has played the full 90 minutes in every single Fiorentina Serie A match this season except for two, and has helped the club to the fifth-best defensive record in the Italian top flight. The 21-year-old Serbian joined Fiorentina in the summer of 2017 from his boyhood club Partizan Belgrade. He already has 10 caps for his country and has become a fixture for Serbia at the back, with the country conceding just two goals over his five Nations League starts.
Manchester United has looked to bring in defenders over the last few transfer windows, but has in large part failed to do so. A big sticking point for former manager Jose Mourinho was his desire to bring in a defender, reportedly targeting Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire of late, but failing to find the backing from the front office.