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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.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

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.

Premier League Preview: Everton v. Chelsea

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  • Everton boss Marco Silva has defensive duo Seamus Coleman (illness) and Leighton Baines (back) available, although Phil Jagielka (knock) is ruled out.
  • Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma is unable to play against his parent club. The Blues could have striker Gonzalo Higuain available after he missed the midweek Dynamo Kiev win through illness.
  • Everton has failed to score in their last five Premier League meetings with Chelsea. They last failed to score in six consecutive league matches against an opponent between 1972 and 1979, a run of seven against Southampton.

Chelsea looks to build on its morale-boosting 5-0 win in midweek over Dynamo Kiev with a trip north to face Everton this Sunday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). It’s been quite the turnaround for Chelsea, which has won six games in the last month after a torrid run in the Premier League in January and early February.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Chelsea’s recent form has enabled them to stay in the hunt for the top four in the Premier League. With Arsenal and Manchester United off and both above them, Chelsea can overtake the pair and move into the top four with a win by a five-goal margin. It would represent a major turnaround after Maurizio Sarri was on verge of being sacked.

Everton meanwhile had another embarrassing moment in what’s been an underwhelming season. Last week’s 3-2 defeat to Newcastle saw them blow a two-goal lead for their 13th defeat of the year. The pressure keeps growing for Marco Silva and his job may be in jeopardy with another poor performance.

What they’re saying

Everton manager Marco Silva on Everton fans making an impact against Chelsea: “If the fans can repeat [that] atmosphere, we will be delighted about that. It is a quality team we are playing against, we have to show our quality also. With our fans, with the atmosphere we can achieve at Goodison again, they can push us to achieve the three points. I want to have some words to the fans who were with us at Newcastle, too, they didn’t deserve that result. I am 100 percent sure of that. Now we are back at home and if the fans can repeat what they did in the derby, it will be fantastic.”

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on the win over Dynamo Kiev: “We started very well. We wanted to start in this way because it was important to score after the result in Stamford Bridge. We were able to score after five minutes. For the opponent it was a difficult situation. We played a very good first half. In the second we managed the result. It was a wonderful performance for 90 minutes.”

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Prediction

Chelsea are in strong form recently while Everton can’t seem to catch a break. Even going on the road, the Blues are certainly the favorites to win and I expect they’ll find a way. Chelsea 2-1 Everton

Top Premier League storylines: Week 31

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With some Premier League sides still participating deep into the FA Cup, it’s an abridged Premier League schedule this weekend. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of fascinating storylines to watch.

Chelsea hits the road after a morale-boosting win in the UEFA Europa League this week, while Newcastle looks to build on its terrific second half performance in its 3-2 win last weekend over Everton. However, the spotlight will remain on Liverpool, which could return to first place in the Premier League with a win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Below are a look at the top storylines ahead of this weekend.


First place up for grabs for Liverpool
Sunday, 10:15 a.m. ET: Fulham v. Liverpool – NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Coming off a massive 3-1 win at Bayern Munich, Liverpool returns to England with the chance to gain a slight psychological advantage. Since Manchester City is in FA Cup action this weekend, Liverpool can go top of the league with a win at Fulham. In doing so, Manchester City would in effect, be “chasing” Liverpool until the Sky Blues caught up to Liverpool in terms of games played. Fulham hasn’t won a match since January, is on its third coach of the season, and can’t seem to figure things out defensively. Sunday could be a chance for Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino to find the back of the net again and gain more confidence.

Chelsea could jump into a tie for fourth
Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET: Everton v. Chelsea – NBCSN [ STREAM ]

About a month ago, Chelsea’s season looked to be spiraling out of control. But with five wins in the team’s last seven matches in all competitions, Chelsea’s suddenly experiencing a spring revival. Maurizio Sarri‘s side have climbed back into contention for fourth place in the Premier League, and the Blues are currently just three points behind Arsenal, which sit in fourth place. Chelsea would have to make up six goals in the goal-differential Sunday to overtake Arsenal, but even being tied on points after 30 matches with eight to go would really raise the drama down the home stretch. Everton, meanwhile, continues to struggle under Marco Silva. Despite all the signings and money spent, the Toffees are in the bottom half of the table. A big win over Chelsea at Goodison Park could bring some more positive feelings back to the blue half of Merseyside.

Rodgers looking for second-straight win
Saturday, 11:00 a.m. ET: Burnley v. Leicester – NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Yes, it was struggling Fulham, but Leicester City’s 3-1 win last weekend at the King Power Stadium was, the club will hope, the start of a new era and new momentum. It was the first win since Brendan Rodgers returned to the Premier League and took charge of Leicester City, and it saw the side returning to its winning formula, pressing high and using quick counter attacks to score goals. Rodgers took a risk leaving Celtic in the middle of the season to join Leicester and try and bring them up in the table. A visit to Burnley, fighting for its life to avoid relegation, will be a great test to see if Rodgers can win while his team will likely have more possession of the ball.

Everton’s Silva explains post-match incident with refs (video)

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Under fire Marco Silva may be in hot water with the Premier League after a fiery post-match engagement with referee Lee Mason and his crew.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 3-2 Everton ]

The Toffees had just thrown away a 2-0 lead at St. James’ Park to lose 3-2 against Newcastle United when Silva hit the pitch to accost the crew.

It was a game of much controversy as Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was not sent off after American football tackling Salomon Rondon in the box, and Rondon was offside on Newcastle’s winner. From the BBC:

“They gave one penalty to them but not us when Gylfi Sigurdsson [was fouled]. Then the third goal was clear offside. Rondon was in a clear offside position.”

The post-match incident was not too different from Mauricio Pochettino‘s against Burnley, which earned the Spurs boss a two-match touch line ban.

In a separate interview, Silva clarified that his anger was regarding the Sigurdsson incident (which, opinion alert, would’ve been right on the edge of a harsh decision).

“It was difficult to understand when for one side to decide one way then for the other side it’s the opposite way.”

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 29

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Can anyone stop Man City besides its schedule? The quadruple is still in play and Pep Guardiola isn’t exactly shying away from his desire to win everything.

[ MORE: Spurs aiming high in UCL ]

City’s back atop our rankings and the Premier League table. Here are the 19 clubs staring up at the reigning champions.

20. Huddersfield Town — Thirteen points back means any hope of a miracle run to safety needs to include a win over Bournemouth this weekend.
Last week: 19
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

19. Fulham — Can Scott Parker lead a surprise defeat of Leicester? It’s looking like this has to be a win.
Last week: 20
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

18. Cardiff City — Will the Bluebirds catch West Ham sleeping? Points need to come quickly to Wales, who will then face Brighton before two Top Four tests.
Last week: 18
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

17. Burnley — A trip to wounded Liverpool seems… not ideal.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

16. Southampton — Have to be hoping Spurs are tired from their trip to Germany at midweek.
Last week: 15
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

15. Brighton and Hove Albion — Chris Hughton‘s men would love to take another step toward safety by winning away in the M23 Derby.
Last week: 17
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

14. Newcastle United — West Ham is a quality club and Rafa Benitez will be wondering what he might’ve done had he the resources of Manuel Pellegrini‘s Irons.
Last week: 14
Season high: 13
Season low: 19

13. Leicester City — So it turns out that win with Brendan Rodgers in the stands gave way to a loss with him planning a trip to Watford. Baby steps this week would be nice.
Last week: 10
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

12. Bournemouth — Didn’t really challenge Man City in a 1-0 loss; Anything less than a decisive win over Huddersfield may see the Cherries dip to a season low.
Last week: 13
Season high: 6
Season low: 14

11. Crystal Palace — Using the M23 Derby to more or less clinch Premier League safety would be so sweet for Roy Hodgson and Co. given the past two seasons’ ups and downs.
Last week: 12
Season high: 6
Season low: 17

10. Everton — Will a fine performance in the Merseyside Derby fade into disappointment at Newcastle United? That’s kinda been Everton under Marco Silva, but this late in the season may see the Toffees straighten out the boat.
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 15

9. Wolves — Nuno Espirito Santo has instilled a battler’s mentality in his men, but consistency has evaded the Midlands bunch. Now comes Chelsea, but fortunately Watford will tangle with Man City.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

8. West Ham United — A 1-0 loss to Man City from sitting a point back of seventh. Look out Cardiff City.
Last week: 9
Season high: 6
Season low: 20

7. Watford — Still maddeningly inconsistent, yet you wouldn’t bet against them pushing City to the brink this weekend.
Last week: 8
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

6. Spurs — It’s hard to see this six knowing that Tottenham has thrived in the Champions League, but Spurs have taken one point of nine to throw their Top Four credentials into the frying pan.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 8

5. Arsenal — If Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang makes his late penalty, the Gunners are knocking on the door of third-place Spurs.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

4. Chelsea — On balance of talent, you’d peg Chelsea to finish Top Four. Will the Blues pass a stiff test from capable visitors Wolves on Sunday?
Last week: 6
Season high: 1
Season low: 7

3. Manchester United — The Red Devils may have a chance to climb level on points with Spurs by beating Arsenal, but a loss at the Emirates may see United as low as sixth. This race for the Top Four is going to be intense.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 14

2. Liverpool — Believe it or not, the reality that Liverpool should still be able to win the Premier League will be taxed more by its manager’s ability to find the right mentality than its players; The Reds will possibly play a half-dozen more matches than Man City.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

1. Manchester City — “No excuses,” says Pep Guardiola. City will have them if they fail to win the Premier League, but its boss is striking a pre-emptive note.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3