Spain led for the entirety of the second half and was mere seconds from a victory that would have extended their perfect record through qualifying (now 6W-1D-0L) and seen them move to within two points of qualification to EURO 2020. La Roja conceded a 93rd-minute penalty when Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga clattered into Omar Elabdellaoui. Bournemouth attacker Joshua King stepped up and converted to keep Norway in touching distance of automatic qualification.
Alas, Spain remains in control of Group F with a six-point advantage on third-place Romania, but they now require a victory of their own and points dropped by Romania to book their place in next summer’s tournament during the current international window.
Saul Niguez had put Robert Moreno’s side ahead in the 47th minute, but the 2008 and 2012 European champions were unable to see their one-goal advantage over the finish line. Sergio Ramos overtook Iker Casillas as Spain’s record holder for all-time appearances, winning his 168th cap.
Denmark 1-0 Switzerland
Yussuf Poulsen scored the only goal in a colossal six-pointer between Denmark and Switzerland. The two nations entered Saturday’s clash separated by a single point in the race for second place and automatic qualification. Denmark sat on nine points, Switzerland on eight.
For 83 minutes, a scoreless deadlock ensued. Switzerland would have been the far happier side, not only as the away side but also the side with a one-point disadvantage and a game still in hand. Instead, they trail the Danes by four points after Poulsen slotted home to complete a lethal counter-attack in the 84th.
Chelsea: C – The Blues brought back Ake and kept hold of Begovic and Diego Costa, plus they sold Oscar for an astronomical fee. Conte didn’t get the experienced striker he wanted as cover for Costa but that was the only stumbling block. Overall the squad was trimmed significantly and the Costa situation was handled. For now…
Hull: D – Hard to know how this will go for Hull. They sold Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass for big money and Marco Silva has brought in plenty of unfamiliar faces. Evandro, Niasse and Omar Elabdellaoui have already made a big impact, while Ranocchia and N’Diaye have quality pedigree. Did the Tigers really need to sell Snodgrass, their top scorer, now?
Liverpool: C – Jurgen Klopp should have moved for a central defender in the window but there was a lack of quality out there in January. No incomings at all tells us that Klopp is happy with his squad. They are in the top four mix and have trimmed their squad accordingly.
Manchester City: C – Another big club which didn’t really do anything. Gabriel Jesus finally joined but that deal was done in the summer. Surely Pep Guardiola had to buy some new defenders in January? If he had done, they could have kicked on and mounted a title challenge. Now it’s all about the top four or bust.
Manchester United: C – See above. United didn’t really need much in January and managed to move on some of their fringe players such as Memphis and Schneiderlin for big money. Job done. Like City and Liverpool, their long-term target remains a top-class center back.
Middlesbrough: F – A really bad window for Boro. They brought in Gestede, Bamford and Guedioura who are all solid players but they needed extra quality in attack. You can understand why manager Aitor Karanka looks so frustrated at the Riverside. Deals for Snodgrass, Bojan and Jese Rordiguez fell through to compound their misery.
Sunderland: F – It turned in to a bit of a nightmare window for the Black Cats. It’s obvious David Moyes didn’t have much money to spend and he’s lent on his old clubs to bring in Gibson, Oviedo and Lescott. Losing Van Aanholt was a blow and Sunderland really need to spend big on strikers to help Jermain Defoe. A potentially fatal decision not to strengthen this month with relegation looming.
Swansea City: B – Really good window for the Swans who have have added four key starters in Olsson, Carroll, Narsingh and Ayew. Three wins in four games in January also helps with Paul Clement‘s new-look squad. Keeping hold of key players like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente was also key.
Tottenham Hotspur: C – Another meh window for a big club. Spurs have had a few defensive injuries but they have cover. With an expensive new stadium to pay for this was always going to be a quiet window.
West Bromwich Albion: C – Jake Livermore was a surprise buy considering all of the midfielders the Baggies already have. Another striker was high on their list to replace Berahino but they couldn’t quite get Jay Rodriguez.
Out: Oscar (Shanghai SIPG), John Mikel Obi (Tianjin TEDA), Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough), Dion Conroy (Swindon Town), Marco Van Ginkel (PSV Eindhoven, loan), Jay Dasilva (Charlton, loan), Isaiah Brown (Huddersfield Town, loan), Fankaty Dabo (Swindon Town, loan), Charlie Colkett (Swindon Town, loan), Fikayo Tomori (Brighton & Hove Albion, loan), Mukhtar Ali (Vitesse Arnhem, loan)
Out: Tom Carroll (Swansea City), Anton Walkes (Atlanta United, loan), Ryan Loft (Stevenage, loan), Shayon Harrison (Yeovil Town, loan), Connor Ogilvie (Stevenage, loan), Luke Amos (Southend United, loan).
Hull City’s best player this season looks to be on his way out of town.
Robert Snodgrass, 29, has been linked with West Ham and Middlesbrough after turning down a new deal with Hull in December, but it’s Burnley which has seen a bid accepted by the Tigers.
The Hull Daily Mail says that both West Ham and Boro are expected to up their bids, so it’s no done deal that Snodgrass will head to Turf Moor. The Burnley bid was for $9.5 million with add-ons that could take it to around $12.5 million.
A right wing who also plays centrally and on the left, Snodgrass is an excellent free kick taker with 20 caps and six goals for Scotland.
He has seven goals and three assists for the Tigers this season, adding two more goals in cup competition.
Hull plays Manchester United on Thursday in the second leg of the EFL Cup semifinals, and then again in the Premier League on Feb. 1. The Tigers are 19th, two points out of the relegation zone, and have sold Jake Livermore but have brought in Evandro and Markus Henriksen on permanent deals and Oumar Niasse and Omar Elabdellaoui on loan.
Burnley sits 13th, and has already added Joey Barton during January.
Bournemouth: Striker, center back, goalkeeper – After losing Nathan Ake (his loan from Chelsea was terminated early) Eddie Howe has a large whole in his defense. Conceding eight goals in the last three games suggests that. Asmir Begovic could be arriving from Chelsea to boost the goalkeeping position significantly, while an experienced striker up top may help steer the Cherries away from any relegation danger.
Burnley: Center back, winger – If Ben Mee or Michael Keane go down injured, you worry about the drop off for the stingy Clarets. Also, another creative tricky winger would be a great pick up. Andre Gray and Sam Vokes can score in the PL but imagine what they could do with more chances presented to them?
Chelsea: Striker – Diego Costa is running the show and Michy Batshuayi is an able deputy but some experience would be great in position. It seems like Fernando Llorente will be remaining at Swansea City for now, so could Antonio Conte will have to get creative to bring in a short-term solution to help ease the pressure on Costa.
Crystal Palace: Center back, full back – Basically, as many defenders as they can get. Sam Allardyce hopes to sign Patrick Van Aanholt from Sunderland which shores up the left back area, but two new center backs wouldn’t go amiss.
Hull City: Everywhere – Look, Hull has an honest squad of hardworking players but they need more quality. New manager Marco Silva has already brought in Evandro, Lazar Markovic, Omar Elabdellaoui, Oumar Niasse and signed Markus Henriksen permanently in January. One more striker and a winger would improve the Tigers’ chances of being successful in their battle against relegation.
Leicester City: Center backs – Wes Morgan and Robert Huth have been all over the place and Claudio Ranieri needs some PL quality defenders to steady the ship. Simply put, Leicester need to stop conceding goals early and new defenders may help with that.
Liverpool: No needs – Apart from maybe a new center back, the Reds are in very good shape and if anything they have too many options in midfield and up top. Long-term, getting a new left back will be a priority alongside a new center back.
Manchester City: Center backs – A long time need which probably won’t be fixed in January, Pep Guardiola needs to improve his defense. Virgil Van Dijk would be an absolutely perfect fit.
Manchester United: No needs – Like Arsenal and Liverpool, the main issue with United is that they have too many players around. Jose Mourinho likes a small squad. Don’t expect much action but they could do with a new center back in the summer. Along with Liverpool and City, another club van Dijk would be a great buy for…
Middlesbrough: Strikers – Aitor Karanka needs a couple of new strikers or any kind of attacking talent which can improve their chances of staying up. Traore, Ramirez and Negredo are dangerous when they’re on form but that’s not too often.
Southampton: Striker, center back – Saints continue to struggle to score goals but with Charlie Austin potentially returning in early March, they may stick with Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez. Mamadou Sakho could be an option at center back after Jose Fonte left for West Ham.
Stoke City: No needs – Stoke addressed their biggest need already by signing striker Saido Berahino. Finally they have a “fox in the box” who can finish the chances Shaqiri, Arnautovic and Co. create.
Sunderland: Everywhere – David Moyes needs big help. Help for Jermain Defoe up top is key so he needs some strikers. In defender they’ve added Joleon Lescott, but extra quality in central midfield would be helpful in the run-in. Khazri and Ndong will return from AFCON but injuries have not been kind for the Black Cats. Moyes doesn’t have much money to spend but Robbie Keane on a short-term deal sounds intriguing…
Swansea City: Striker – Fernando Llorente can’t do it all on his own, so the Swans need to add one more body up top. Adding Tom Carroll, Martin Olsson and Luciano Narsingh so far in January will prove to be shrewd business.
Tottenham Hotspur: Striker – Vincent Janssen just hasn’t worked the Premier League out. Pochettino needs some help for Harry Kane with a busy few months coming up in Europe, the PL and in the FA Cup. Defensive injuries are a concern but Spurs have sufficient backups.
Watford: Playmaker – Walter Mazzarri‘s side have plenty of numbers in midfield (they’ve already added Tom Cleverley) and defense, plus options up top with Deeney, Ighalo and Okaka, but they’re lacking quality in that key playmaking area. Having a classy No.10 behind Deeney and Okaka would be a joy to watch.
West Bromwich Albion: Striker – Like so many teams, West Brom could do with an experienced forward. They finally sold Berahino to Stoke so now there’s a spot open. Pulis will no doubt be sat by the phone with his baseball cap on as the deadline nears next Tuesday…
West Ham United: Striker/Playmaker – Depending on whether or not Dimitri Payet leaves for Marseille, West Ham must have another playmaker lined up to arrive if their star man does depart. Giving Andy Carroll support will be key too, as Brentford’s Scott Hogan has been mentioned. Fonte was a key addition to bolster their backline. Hammers look okay apart from the Payet saga.