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Premier League Roundup: Chelsea-Bayern negotiations at a standstill, Blues offer Morata, and more

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Negotiations between Chelsea and Bayern Munich are reportedly at a standstill over a transfer clause.

As Bayern Munich continues to push to sign young English winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea has insisted that the transfer agreement include a buy-back clause, according to The Times of London. Hudson-Odoi, possibly seeing the path to the first team at Chelsea blocked by veteran players, has reportedly decided his development would do best in Germany, even at the biggest club in the nation.

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The report states that Chelsea has requested the buy-back clause after missing out on Romelu Lukaku and having to pay well above market value for Nemanja Matic. This clause could have helped Chelsea also bring back players like Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne after both of them left Chelsea on transfers.

At this point, with all the pressure from Bayern and Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea will eventually agree on a deal. It’s just a matter of it coming for a deal in the summer, or whether the star young English winger will leave this month.

Here are some more notes from around the Premier League:

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Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. Newcastle

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  • Ruben Loftus-Cheek (back) is unavailable but Alvaro Morata (hamstring) is expected to be fit to face Newcastle.
  • Chelsea have only lost one of its 23 Premier League home matches against Newcastle
  • Salomon Rondon has scored Newcastle’s last three away goals in the Premier League.

The last in a full day of matches comes Saturday afternoon as Chelsea hosts former coach Rafa Benitez and Newcastle (12:30 p.m. ET live on NBC or live online at NBCSports.com).

The Blues are coming off a surprise scoreless draw with Southampton while Newcastle are winless in their last four. The winds are swirling at Chelsea as Cesc Fabregas departed and Callum Hudson-Odoi is a big transfer target of Bayern Munich, though Chelsea has so far refused to accept any bids for the talented 18-year-old.

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Alvaro Morata could be fit to play, but one wonders if Maurizio Sarri will go with Eden Hazard in the false nine role again. At the same time, Newcastle has plenty of injuries to deal with, and three players just coming back off the sidelines. It will be a big loss to replace Jonjo Shelvey and Yoshinori Muto.


What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on his team’s scoring problems: “We need to score. We need to solve this problem. In the last match we played very well, with continuity and with a very good offensive and defensive phase, and with a great performance from a physical point of view – the best of the season – but we didn’t score. We have to work and try to solve it as soon as possible.”

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez on focusing his team against Chelsea: ”We have to realize where we are and we have to realize the only way forward is to stay united. We can’t waste too much energy. The idea last year when we were back in the Premier League was to be united. You have to realize that this is a big city and massive club.”


Prediction

Chelsea may be struggling to score goals, but Newcastle are in a relegation fight. Even without much of a striker, Chelsea should still have enough talent and firepower up top to win. Plus, with so many players out injured for Newcastle, the challenge grows even more for the visitors. Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle

WATCH LIVE: Wolves v. Liverpool

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Premier League-leading Liverpool has a chance to go four points clear of second-place Manchester City for a day when the Reds travel to face Wolverhampton Wanderers at 3:00 p.m. on NBCSN and online at NBCSports.com

With a win, Liverpool ensures that it will be atop the Premier League standings on Christmas day, which historically has been a good omen: Each of the last four Premier League winners were topping the standings by December 25. The last side not to do that? Liverpool, in 2013/2014.

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Wolves on the other hand have come up from the Championship ready to challenge everybody from top to bottom, with a talented squad filled with current and former Portuguese internationals. Wolves will be without Diogo Jota for the match, but everyone else is available.

For Liverpool, Dejan Lovren makes his second start since late November after returning from an injury while Jordan Henderson makes his 300th Liverpool appearance.

Click the links above to watch the match live and stay here for halftime and full time coverage of the game.


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PL Preview: Cardiff City v. Manchester United

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  • Manchester United has lost its last three league away matches against promoted sides, as many as it had in its previous 36 games.
  • Cardiff City has won four of its last five Premier League home matches, as many as it had in its previous 22 games in league play.
  • Of the 31 players with at least five PL goals this season, Romelu Lukaku has scored the highest percentage of them away from home. His five strikes on the road out of six works out as 83 percent of his goals.

A new era begins as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes his Manchester United managerial debut in prime time on Saturday at his former club, Cardiff City (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

After a shocking start to the season that fell way below club expectations, Solskjaer now has the task of lifting sixth-place Manchester United back into the top four places, although he has to make up 11 points from here through the end of the season. Cardiff City meanwhile is coming off a wild 3-2 defeat to Watford but is sitting just two points above the drop zone. A point at home for the Bluebirds would be crucial for their Premier League survival.

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Solskjaer will be shorthanded for the match as Alexis Sanchez, Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling remain out, while Romelu Lukaku hasn’t trained all week. On the plus side, Anthony Martial, Diego Dalot and Victor Lindelof have all been declared fit.

For Cardiff, Neil Warnock‘s side is only missing Joe Bennett for the big match.

What they’re saying

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on adjusting to the new job: “The job now is to get to know the players, observe them, see the qualities that we’ve got,” he added. “Of course, I’ve seen more or less every game from Norway when I’ve had time from the other job [as Molde boss]. But, to get to know the players and think about what I can do to improve them, that’s my job.”

Cardiff City’s Neil Warnock on facing Man United: 

“So many players will be wanting to prove certain things. There are some talented, young players there, and people like Rashford, Lingard, Martial, Mata and Pogba all have things to prove. It will be a difficult game for us in the circumstances. They’ve got pace and power everywhere. We’ll be trying to give them a good game, but we’ll need everyone to be at their best to get a result. It would be lovely to be outside the bottom three for Christmas. We’re disappointed we haven’t got a few more points, but it’s not for the lack of trying – we’ve just got to keep going.

“Anything can happen, and I think we can get a result at home against anybody. We will give it a good shot tomorrow, and the fans will be right behind us. I’m sure we will give a good account of ourselves.”

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Prediction

Cardiff City’s four wins this season have all come at home, where they’ll be on Saturday against a banged-up Man United squad. There’s pace and some decent attackers in Junior Hoilett and Josh Murphy and they could cause Man United some troubles. Solskjaer’s side’s overall quality should help them overcome some of the defensive deficiencies but not all. Cardiff City 2-2 Manchester United

PL Preview: Tottenham v. Burnley

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  • Spurs have lost only one of their eight PL matches against Burnley, with that defeat coming back in May 2010 under Harry Redknapp.
  • Mauricio Pochettino‘s side is yet to draw a PL match this term, despite playing 16 fixtures. Only Manchester United, with 17 matches in 2012/13, and Bolton Wanderers, with 18 matches in 2011/12, have had longer runs without a draw from the start of a season.
  • Burnley is looking for its first away win against Spurs in any competition since January 1983, when Burnley triumphed 4-1 in a League Cup quarter-final.

Tottenham looks to carry on the momentum from its unlikely draw at Barcelona securing UEFA Champions League survival as it welcomes Burnley to Wembley Stadium, Saturday (Watch live at 10:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Despite the defeat at Arsenal, Tottenham are in decent form, and with a win against Burnley, it would be Tottenham’s sixth in the club’s last seven games. On the other side, Burnley sit just two points above the relegation zone, making it crucial they come away from Wembley Stadium with at least a point as they look to survive the busy holiday season. Burnley finally got out of the relegation zone last week with a win over Brighton and Hove Albion and are looking to build on that momentum.

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Tottenham does have several injury concerns, with Serge Aurier (groin), Mousa Dembele (ankle), Victor Wanyama (knee), Kieran Trippier (groin), Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth (both hamstring) all needing to be assessed. For Burnley, manager Sean Dyche will only have to worry about Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hamstring) and Steven Defour (calf), who both have fitness tests ahead.

What they’re saying

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on facing Burnley: “We need to play against Burnley like we played against Barcelona, that’s the challenge. The way we are going to approach the game will be key. We need to take the game in the same way as Barcelona with the same motivation, the same energy. The three points we need to win are as important as against Barcelona or any other team.I am more motivated to play against Burnley than the previous games because we are trying to reduce the distance between Liverpool and Manchester City. We are going to play for three very important points. To be in the top four of the Premier League and to keep that position is a massive motivation. It’s such an important game.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche on facing a big side in Tottenham: “Tottenham are having a fine start to the season and they had a great result the other night. I really like the way they go about their business. Their manager plays direct football but in a passing style, if they can get out quickly then they do. They’re effective. They don’t keep the ball for the sake of it. They keep the ball but try and penetrate and with that they are an effective side. We go down there with a bit more freedom, the expectation changes. Last week against Brighton when there is really heavy expectation for us to get a result.

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Prediction

Tottenham is on a high after Tuesday’s heroics and while it can be difficult to face a team farther down in the table, this experience side knows that Burnley is no pushover. That being said, the quality of Tottenham should help the club see this through. Tottenham 2-1 Burnley