Southampton beat Everton 2-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday as Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s revolution continues to gather momentum after a dominant performance.
A beauty from James Ward-Prowse and a Lucas Digne own goal put Saints ahead, but Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s late goal set up a needlessly nervous finish. Southampton held on and Hasenhuttl punched the air in delight as his team made it back-to-back wins in the Premier League and four victories in his first eight games in charge.
With the win Saints move up to 15th place on 22 points, while Everton slip to 11th on 30 points.
Jan Bednarek then halted Ademola Lookman after good play from Everton going forward. At the other end Ings was again denied by Pickford after being set free as Saints continued to look dangerous.
Before half time Nathan Redmond surged forward but his shot hit the post as Saints huffed and puffed but Everton held on to go in level at the break. Moments later Saints hit the post again, as Andre Gomes knocked the ball against his own woodwork after Ings caused problems.
Redmond raced clear and Digne tried to track back with him, but he poked the ball past his own goalkeeper and into his own net to sum up a miserable outing for the Toffees.
Late on Shane Long almost scored but Pickford made another great stop, and then Everton made it intriguing. Sigurdsson steered home in stoppage time to make it 2-1 and set up a tense finish, and despite a few delays due to injuries, Southampton held on for the win.
Kurt Zouma‘s second half goal propelled Everton to a rare win during a soggy 2-0 defeat of Bournemouth on Sunday at Goodison Park.
The win is Everton’s first at home in the Premier League since a Nov. 24 defeat of Cardiff City, and pushes the Toffees into 10th with 30 points. Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored from an Ademola Lookman assist deep in stoppage time to complete the scoring.
139 – Kurt Zouma is the 139th different player to score a goal for Everton in the Premier League, only West Ham (147), Tottenham (146) and Newcastle (141) have seen more players net for them in the competition. Spread.
Since arriving at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2016, Batshuayi has played more than 50 largely forgettable games for his parent club, an electric 14 games for Borussia Dortmund, and an altogether disastrous 23 games for Valencia. Now, after just five months, his time in La Liga is set to end prematurely.
Valencia sporting director Mateu Alemany confirmed this week that Batshuayi’s season-long loan would be cut short on the heels of some very critical comments made by manager Marcelino. Following a recent loss to Sporting Gijon in the Copa del Rey, Marcelino held nothing back in tearing into Batshuayi — quotes from Sky Sports:
“I think we have to get in some strikers. I’ve clearly run out of patience with certain individuals.
“We could have gone in front in the first minute. It was the best opportunity I have seen us create for six months. If you can’t even get a shot in on target you are not fit to play in the Primera Liga for Valencia.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement or a glowing recommendation for future employment. Alas, Batshuayi isn’t expected to have any trouble finding a new club as a number of sides are desperate to land the 25-year-old Belgian for the rest of the season.
Everton would love to have him at Goodison Park, but given that they took Kurt Zouma on loan from Chelsea already this season, they would have to sign him on a permanent transfer. With that event seemingly unlikely, Thierry Henry’s Monaco is another option. Henry, who coached Batshuayi and the Belgium squad the last two years, confirmed interest while attempting to remain coy — quotes from Sky Sports:
“Michy? I know him, we rubbed shoulders with Belgium, he is a player who can be interesting. But again, nothing is done. You have to be patient. It’s important that players know the [league], though.”
Batshuayi, of course, knows the league after two seasons at Marseille prior to his move to Chelsea. Depending on which version of the player — the one with three goals in 23 appearances for Valencia, or the one with nine in 14 for Dortmund — arrives, someone is about to get a striker lacking in confidence or a star capable of singlehandedly changing the fortunes of an entire 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.
Silva bristled before the game when asked about Top Six expectations, saying he never felt that was the case, and he tried to focus on the Leicester loss after the first disappointment of 2019:
“Poor performance since the first minute, we knew what they came here to do, playing a 4-5-1 and waiting for our mistake.
“First half of course we are in control but every time we got on the ball we started to become too nervous without reason. Not ambitious but anxious in some moments. When you are playing that way it is easy to miss passes and the game is a little confused.”
The 41-year-old manager will see his team in the bottom half after Bournemouth and Brighton play on Wednesday, and there’s certainly a question as to whether he’s the man for the job.
The club’s streaky nature mirrors what we saw from Silva’s team at Watford, and all things considered there are similarities to note from his near rescue of Hull City in 2016-17.