Jonny Evans

Clinical Palace defies Leicester City in big win (video)

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  • McArthur with two assists
  • Zaha scores twice
  • Batshuayi, Milivojevic also score
  • Evans with lone Leicester tally
  • Foxes out-attempt Palace 27-7

Crystal Palace made the most of their limited chances, a deceptive scoreline of 3-1 greeting their win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

James McArthur had two assists, while Wilfried Zaha, Michy Batshuayi, and Luka Milivojevic scored for the Eagles.

Jonny Evans had the lone Leicester goal.

Palace moves into 13th place with 30 points, six clear of the drop zone, while Leicester fails in its bid to go 10th.

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A pair of near-misses greeted Leicester City’s control of the first 10 minutes, as both Jamie Vardy and James Maddison came close to putting the Foxes ahead.

Leicester was clearly the superior side, and Palace was sloppy when it found a rare spell of first half possession.

So, of course, Palace scored first, as Leicester backstop Kasper Schmeichel was wrong-footed when Batshuayi swung his leg and redirected a James McArthur rip from distance.

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The Foxes leveled the score deservedly when Harvey Barnes‘ pass to Jonny Evans was met with a lunging leg that swung the ball past Vicente Guaita.

But Zaha restored Palace’s lead in the 70th, as Harry Maguire and the Leicester City defense completely lost track of the electric Ivorian for a back post finish of McArthur’s cross.

And wouldn’t you know it: A penalty! Evans took down Jeff Schlupp in the 82nd minute, and Milivojevic did what he usually does from the spot to make it 3-1.

Sloppy Liverpool trips up v. Leicester City (video)

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  • Mane scores in third minute
  • Maguire levels before break
  • Reds only manage 3 shots on target

Liverpool barely took advantage of its stumbling rivals, drawing Leicester City 1-1 at Anfield on Wednesday.

Sadio Mane scored for the Reds, who have a five-point lead on Manchester City and a seven-point advantage over Spurs. Man City lost at Newcastle on Tuesday.

Harry Maguire grabbed the equalizer for Leicester City, who were fortunate not to concede a second half penalty. The Foxes are 11th with 32 points.

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Andy Robertson‘s square pass bounced off Jonny Evans en route to Mane, who took a touch before slotting a third minute shot inside the far post.

But much like Newcastle versus Man City a day earlier, the Foxes didn’t shrink away. And Liverpool seemingly helped the visitors’ cause, Alisson Becker in particular.

Maguire got a deserved equalizer in first half stoppage, as a third ball into the box off a botched free kick was calmly slotted by the English World Cup hero.

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Alisson stopped Liverpool from conceding an own goal with a fine reaction in the 53rd.

Liverpool were denied penalty shouts when Naby Keita was taken down in the box.

Pardew ‘furious’ after four WBA players steal taxi in Spain

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At least when you’re bottom of the Premier League table and appear headed for relegation, as West Bromwich Albion now find themselves, you can take the positive approach that “the only way to go from here is up.”

[ FA CUP: Man United advance, drawn against PL opposition in QF ]

Alternatively, four of your most senior players — Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, in this case — might have other ideas and elect to steal a cab during a late-season training camp in Barcelona. That’s the current state of affairs for the Baggies and manager Alan Pardew, who openly admits he was “furious” and felt “let down” — quotes from the Guardian:

“This is obviously not ideal. They broke the curfew and that’s unacceptable and I feel a bit let down by that.”

“It’s difficult for managers. Obviously, I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to stay faithful to the players and give them a chance to remedy the situation.”

The night’s timeline reads something like this: the quartet wanted to go out in the city center, but everything was closed late at night; they got a taxi to a McDonald’s by the Barcelona port; the driver left the car, at which point the players decided to drive back to the team hotel around 5:30 a.m.; the care was returned to the cab driver around 8 a.m.

Evans was stripped of his captaincy for Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Southampton. The players have since released the following statement through the club’s website:

“We felt it important we identify ourselves as the players involved in an incident which occurred during the training camp in Spain this week out of respect for team-mates who otherwise could be implicated by association. We freely acknowledge and apologize for the break of curfew which we accept represented a breach of the standards of professionalism required of us as representatives of West Bromwich Albion.

“The club has informed us that it will now conduct its own inquiry into the incident and we will cooperate fully. In the meantime, we would like to assure our supporters that this incident does not reflect the determination and resolve we possess to do all we can to recover a difficult season.”

With 11 games left to play, West Brom currently sit seven points adrift of safety; Pardew’s position grows more and more tenuous with each point dropped; and three of their final 11 games are against Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Evans, Barry, two others release apology for incident in Spain

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The quartet of West Brom players accused of stealing a taxi while breaking curfew in Spain has apologized to its team, fans, and bosses.

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Club captain (!!) Jonny Evans of Northern Ireland, backup goalkeeper Boaz Myhill (Wales) and English midfielders Jake Livermore and Gareth Barry are the players in question, and they released a statement on West Brom’s web site.

Saying they needed to claim responsibility for the incident so speculation could stop over which four players were in trouble, the four said (from wba.co.uk):

We freely acknowledge and apologise for the break of curfew which we accept represented a breach of the standards of professionalism required of us as representatives of West Bromwich Albion FC.

The Club has informed us that it will now conduct its own inquiry into the incident and we will co-operate fully.

In the meantime, we would like to assure our supporters that this incident does not reflect the determination and resolve we possess to do all we can to recover a difficult season.

It’s an incredibly stupid standard, especially considering not one of the four is a young buck, but it’s also not an indictment on their focus in the relegation race. The Spanish camp is a break for the players to come together; These four just chose to do something illegal (allegedly).

Players to watch in the final week of the window

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With all due credit to the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saga, which has replaced the Alexis-Mkhitaryan saga as the saga du semaine in the Premier League, there are other players potentially on the move this week.

Here’s who we think you should keep an eye on as January moves to its conclusion.

[ PL PLAYBACK: On trade deals, and more ]

1) The list should arguably start and end with Jonny Evans, in that whether or not he moves could lay out how much else his current and prospective new club will do in the remainder of the window.

Evans is the sort of player — with respect to Papiss Cisse — that every club needs, and also brings the experience of knowing it could be better and worse from his time winning PL titles at Manchester United and, well, not winning them at West Brom and on loan to Sunderland. He’s 30, not old for a center back, and he’ll be worth every penny.

2) Thinking of Andre Schurrle‘s time at Chelsea has us daydreaming about a similar Chelsea outcast turned reborn Bundesliga star in Kevin De Bruyne (though certainly few are betting on the German to become a Ballon d’Or finalist under Alan Pardew, Rafa Benitez, or Mauricio Pochettino) What’s neat about his case is that his loan move from Borussia Dortmund — and the German club’s potential to pay half the wages if not more — would allow a club who wouldn’t normally get a player of his class to dream a bit. Then again, it could be a bit of “Jese with PL experience.”

3) Aleksandar Mitrovic‘s wild nature has caused his status to shrink deep into the recesses of Rafa Benitez’s mind, which is a shame because Newcastle really could use him, and he could be a breakout forward at the World Cup this summer. Maybe West Brom needs to trade Salomon Rondon for “Mitro” straight up so two baffling PL strike cases can get fresh starts. Or maybe…

4 and 5) David Moyes should call up Newcastle United and offer reported Chelsea target Andy Carroll or reported everyone else target Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is a like-for-like swap. Trade deals, after all, are the new norm, yes?