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West Ham United hires David Moyes
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West Ham United brings back Moyes to replace Pellegrini

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The reports are true: West Ham United is going to a familiar name in a bid to save its Premier League status.

The Irons have appointed David Moyes to fill the shoes of Manuel Pellegrini, who was fired Saturday after a 2-1 loss to Leicester City.

West Ham is one point above the Bottom Three, with a match-in-hand on all of its relegation rivals.

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It’s an 18-month deal for Moyes, who returns to West Ham after a year-and-a-half outside management. He’s a three-time PFA Manager of the Year (2003, 2005, 2009), and led Preston to promotion in 2000.

Here are all of Moyes’ words from a release at WHUFC.com:

“It’s fabulous to be back,” said Moyes. “It feels great to be home. I’ve missed being here because I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed being around the stadium and I loved being in this part of the world and I missed the Club, so I can’t wait to get started.

“I’m feeling very proud that I’m back here at West Ham. But I think more importantly I’ll be looking to see what I can do and what I can make improvements to, how we can get some wins with the players and how we can get some quick wins on the field as well.

“I do believe that the squad of players I’ve got here is a better squad of players than when I took over before, so I am looking forward to working with them.”

“I think there’s got to be a short-term goal for us just now to get the wins to get us away from the wrong end of the league and what we’re going to do over the next six months, then what we’re going to do over the next period as well. The start is really focusing on the immediate games.”

The 56-year-old Moyes is best known for his 11-year run as Everton boss, which was preceded by four seasons with Preston North End. He then underwent a tumultuous run as Sir Alex Ferguson‘s hand-picked replacement at Manchester United before short stints with Real Sociedad, Sunderland, and the Irons.

Moyes has been out of work since his first stint as West Ham manager, when he took over for Slaven Bilic on a six-month contract.

[ MORE: Rodgers “so proud” of Leicester after making nine changes, winning ]

West Ham begins 2020 with a visit from 16th-place Bournemouth on Wednesday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold).

Guardiola: It’s ‘amazing’ to have set a new Premier League record

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola made more history in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat of Sheffield United at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola oversaw his 100th Premier League win and did it in his 134th game in charge of City. That beats the previous record holder, Jose Mourinho, by eight games.

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“Of course we proud of all the players we had in three seasons and the staff, the incredible effort,” he said. “When you think about 100 wins in 134 games it is an incredible achievement. It is so nice to be alongside Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jurgen Klopp, and Arsene Wenger. It means a lot.

“Sometimes we lose perspective. But when you have this perspective with how many games we spent and run and fight to achieve 100 wins. Amazing. I am happy especially for the players. They are the reason we won 100 games in a short time.”

Guardiola’s record now stands at 100-17-17 in the Premier League, though City’s season is not following the plan. The two-time reigning champs are 14 points back of Liverpool.

Goal scorer Sergio Aguero says the club is focused on firming up its Top Four credentials more than anything else.

“Now Liverpool is too hard,” Aguero said. “We have to focus just on winning because we need to play Champions League next season. We have to play the same way and see what happens.”

Report: Liverpool favorites to sign Jadon Sancho

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Jadon Sancho could be on the move sooner than we think.

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A report from Norwegian journalist, and former Premier League striker, Jan Aage Fjortoft  from Viasat claims that Sancho wants to leave Borussia Dortmund in January and he says that current Premier League leaders and European champions Liverpool are favorites to sign him.

That has led to #Sancho2020 trending on Twitter as Liverpool fans are having a moment, just as they did when reports a few months ago linked Kylian Mbappe with a move to Anfield.

As for Sancho, the England international, 19, has excelled at Borussia Dortmund over the last 18 months but after he was hauled off by BVB coach Lucien Favre in the first half of a humbling defeat at Bayern Munich last month, then criticized by his coach, Sancho’s future has come into discussion once again after previous fallings out with the hierarchy at Dortmund.

On the pitch he continues to deliver as he scored in Dortmund’s win at Hertha Berlin on Saturday, in their UEFA Champions League defeat a Barcelona last week and against Paderborn before that, as those goals added to two assists in his last five games for the German giants.

Sancho has a host of Europe’s top clubs forming a not so orderly queue to sign him, with Man United, Barcelona, Chelsea and PSG all heavily linked with a move for the teenage sensation.

It is expected that Sancho would cost over $130 million, and Dortmund have previously admitted he won’t be with them for much longer, but do Liverpool need to strengthen in the attacking midfield/wing areas?

Nope. But what was it Sir Alex Ferguson always said about adding new players when you’re in a position of strength…

Sancho would no doubt provide serious competition to Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino for a starting spot right away, but if you look at Klopp’s options after those three, things start to get pretty thin.

Divock Origi is the next man up and aside from his legendary status among Liverpool fans, will he strike fear into the hearts of opponents if he replace one of the aforementioned trio? Probably not. After Origi there is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who can play in a wide role, then teenagers Rhian Brewster and Curtis Jones are up and Xherdan Shaqiri is around but often an injury doubt.

Liverpool are stacked in the defense and midfield but the front three have been so good and have largely remained injury free that they haven’t had to worry about their attack.

Sancho’s arrival could also suggest that one of Mane or Salah may move on in 2020 as both have been linked with moves to Real Madrid in the past. Having Sancho come in to replace them would be ideal, but a move in January seems unlikely.

But maybe Liverpool will want to get in ahead of the competition in January to sign the former Watford and Man City product before he excels at EURO 2020 for England and his transfer value skyrockets. Right now Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford are ahead of Sancho in the England pecking order but the Dortmund winger is pushing them all the way and seems to be a perfect fit for the way Liverpool play. His pace and trickery is a combination of Salah and Mane and at such a young age he has delivered at Dortmund and is starting to for England.

For Liverpool to stay on top, they need to be ruthless and strengthen their squad even when it looks like they don’t need to. Moves like this are when a great team starts to feel like a dynasty is on the way.

How long is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s leash?

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Since the dismal 1988/89 season when Manchester United finished 11th, no manager has ushered in fewer points through the season’s first 14 matches than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this campaign, with the Red Devils held again on Sunday to a 2-2 draw with newly-promoted Aston Villa.

Not David Moyes, not Louis Van Gaal, not Jose Mourinho.

That does not tell the whole story – far from it. Manchester United is in the midst of a rebuild that has not gone as smoothly as Chelsea’s youth movement, but for all the bumps in the road it has not felt as chaotic as Arsenal’s train wreck, despite the Gunners sitting a spot higher.

Still, you are what the table says you are, and right now the table has spoken: Manchester United is the ninth-best team in the league.

Ole Gunnar Solakjaer’s sheer numbers are just as ugly. He has a 27% win rate as a permanent manager in the Premier League, having emerged victorious in just six out of 21 league matches since signing on permanently on March 28. In contrast, the now-fired Unai Emery retained a 47% mark during his time at Arsenal. Even with his spectacular start during the caretaker manager days, Solskjaer has won under 50% of his matches in charge of Manchester United (24 wins, 14 losses, 12 draws in 50 matches – an 84-point haul over that span).

In a league environment that often sees clubs shoot managers first and ask questions later, patience can be a virtue, but it can also be a club’s undoing, and the fine line between those two parallel universes is often as blurry as . The manager in that 1988/89 season was Sir Alex Ferguson, amidst his third year in charge. Thanks in large part to what he achieved after to Manchester United stayed its hand, there is no way he would have survived that kind of lost campaign in this climate.

There are a host of sharks circling, and the allure of returning Manchester United to glory would be enough to lure any top manager should the board make a move. Carlo Ancelotti is running out of time at Napoli and could be available. Massimiliano Allegri is available, as is Mauricio Pochettino, who the Manchester United board has reportedly coveted for years.  A number of up-and-coming Premier League managers like Nuno Espirito Santo and Dean Smith could be options, and Manchester United may not want to wait for Arsenal to get its pick first.

All is not lost for Manchester United this season, and xG metrics seem to suggest an eventual turnaround. Their -3.92 xG differential to actual goals scored is third-worst in the Premier League, indicating the offense should come around. To go along with that, their defense has been fantastic, owning the 2nd-best xGA in the league, and their +3.04 xGA differential to actual goals conceded is sixth-worst in the league. Daniel James, despite a poor performance against Villa, has been a positive addition this season, and Fred has improved in midfield under Solskjaer. Harry Maguire looks worth every penny spent this offseason, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka has quietly been one of the better Premier League values of the summer.

Solskjaer has to this point avoided the off-field blights that eventually spelled disaster for Emery at Arsenal, but the results are no longer an anomaly – they have become the norm. Along with that, Solskjaer’s notable calm demeanor may be having an adverse effect on the club; he himself claimed that Jack Grealish‘s goal in the Villa draw “knocked us a little emotionally,” a mental frailty never present during Ferguson’s best days.

The Norwegian said after the Villa draw that he’s not looking at league position. “I wouldn’t have sat here and talked about us being fifth if we had got that one goal extra, so the league table at this point is not the biggest concern because it is so tight. I just need to make sure that we get performances and get three or four performances after each other – and results.”

He should start worrying about league position soon, because while it doesn’t feel like the wheels have fallen off the OleMobile just yet, the optics are looking less and less savory. Manchester United stuck with Sir Alex back when the going got tough, but these are entirely different times. As the season slips away, where is the point of no return? When is enough, enough?

Report: Phil Jones turned down Manchester United testimonial

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According to a report by Daniel Taylor of The Athletic, Phil Jones has turned down the option for a Manchester United testimonial despite the likelihood he will reach the required 10 years at the club.

Taylor’s article waxed lyrical about Jones’ ability on the field defensively versus his fame as an internet sensation, but one tidbit near the top stood out. According to the report, Jones turned down the option to have a testimonial included in his recent contract extension, believing that his popularity has waned to the point where he may not deserve one.

Jones’ career has been a fascinating one, owning 220 Manchester United appearances across all competitions since joining from Blackburn Rovers in 2011. He has won a Premier League title, an FA Cup, a League Cup, and a Europa League title.

Still, with the majority of his Red Devils career coming after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, he has become more of a symbol to represent the mediocrity the club has been mired in since. He has made more than 22 league appearances in just two of his eight full seasons to date and made his first appearance of the current campaign against Sheffield United over the weekend, yanked at halftime after being culpable of the first Blades goal, scenes that left Jones “devastated” according to the Taylor report.

Taylor says that when asked about a testimonial, Jones would reply, “Apart from my mum and dad, who else would turn up?”

For a player who has spent nearly his entire career with one of the largest clubs in Europe, this remains a tough story to swallow. It’s hard not to feel for a player who gives his heart and soul to a club and gets nothing but laughs in return.