Leandro Bacuna

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Done Deals: Crouch back in PL; N’Koudou leaves Spurs again

Leave a comment

Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN today from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here.

[ DONE DEALS: Arsenal, Newcastle strengthen earlier on deadline day ]

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundupTuesday | Monday ]

Peter Crouch is back in the PL after six months in the Championship on the back of Stoke City’s relegation last May. The 38-year-old aerial specialist is set to join Burnley in the Clarets’ own battle against relegation (they sit 17th, four points clear of 18th, with 14 games left to play). Fellow forward Sam Vokes will, in turn, be leaving the club and taking Crouch’s place at the bet365 Stadium.

Georges-Kevin N’Koudou’s time at Tottenham Hotspur has come to an end, again, as the 23-year-old French winger has joined Monaco on loan until the end of the season. It’s N’Koudou’s second loan spell away from his parent club (he went to Burnley last season), for whom he’s made fewer than a dozen PL appearances since arriving in the summer of 2016.

Aboubakar Kamara did himself no favors in the eyes of Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri when he broke rank and insisted that he be the one to take an 81st-minute penalty kick in a scoreless game against fellow relegation candidates Huddersfield Town. Kamara’s effort was saved, but Fulham would grab a winner in stoppage time. Following a brief banishment from training, Kamara returned to the club’s facilities and was arrested after getting into a fight with a staff member, booked on suspicion of “actual bodily harm and criminal damage.” All of that is to say, the situation was beyond untenable, and Kamara has joined Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor on loan until the end of the season.

Elsewhere in the relegation scrap, Cardiff City have signed Reading right back/winger Leandro Bacuna for an undisclosed fee. Bacuna previously appeared in the PL during part of his four-year spell at Aston Villa. With 14 games left to play, the Bluebirds sit 18th in the PL table, four points adrift of safety.

Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham United: Cleverley’s strike seals huge win for Villans

Leave a comment

Aston Villa beat West Ham United 1-0 at Villa Park on Saturday as Tim Sherwood’s side grabbed another huge three points as their battle against relegation continues.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

The only goal of the game came in the first half as Tom Cleverley grabbed his third goal in three matches to seperate the sides in a nerve-wrangling match in the Midlands.

Villa won consecutive home win for first time this season as they sit in 14th place on 38 points, three points above the relegation zone. As for West Ham, their slide continues as Sam Allardyce’s men slip down to 10th place on 47 points.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Villa started brightly as Leandro Bacuna whipped a free kick just wide in the 5th minute, then Charles N’Zgobia had an effort bravely blocked by Kevin Nolan moments later.

The hosts continued to pour forward and Cleverley’s well-struck volley forced Adrian into a save down low, with Carl Jenkinson cleaning up the loose ball for the Hammers. Spurred on by their recent good form, it was all Villa as Christian Benteke got free at the near post but fired wide.

In the 30th minute the opening goal arrived and it was no surprise that Villa grabbed it. A jinxing run into the left-hand side of the box from Jack Grealish put him clear of West Ham’s defense and he drilled the ball across goal which Cleverley slotted home for his third goal in as many games. 1-0 to Villa.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Villa’s goalkeeper Shay Given and Nolan were involved in a grappling match in the other box but Nolan was penalized for appearing to foul Given when it looked like Enner Valencia was hauled to the ground by Bacuna. Regardless, it was a first half to forget for West Ham as Villa went in ahead at the break. At half time Alex Song and Nene came on as the Hammers tried to shake things up.

After the break Villa continued to pour forward but West Ham went close twice in quick succession as James Collins saw his header saved by Shay Given and then Valencia scored but his effort was ruled out for offside. Benteke had a chance to double Villa’s lead but squandered it, however Sherwood’s side held on for their third win in four.


Aston Villa: Given, Bacuna (Hutton, 77′), Okore, Vlaar, Richardson, Westwood, Cleverley, Delph, N’Zogbia (Agbonlahor, 71′), Grealish (Sanchez, 90+2′), Benteke

Goal: Cleverley (31′)

West Ham: Adrian; Jenkinson, Collins, Burke, Cresswell; Noble (Cole, 78′), Kouyate; Downing, Nolan (Song, 45′), Amalfitano (Nene, 45′); Valencia

Aston Villa 3-2 Everton: Benteke brace gives Villans big boost

Leave a comment

Christian Benteke scored twice and Tom Cleverley added another as Aston Villa moved into 14th place with a 3-2 win over Everton on Saturday.

Romelu Lukaku converted a PK before Phil Jagielka scored in stoppage time for the Toffees, which finished the day in 11th place.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Benteke leapt between and above Leighton Baines and John Stones to accept an inviting cross from Fabian Delph, nodding home to make it 1-0 after 10 minutes.

And the big Belgian made it two when Ron Vlaar’s slight flick of a corner evaded all of Everton’s back line and Tim Howard, allowing Benteke to slot home easily off the back post.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

But Everton found a way back in the 58th, as James Naismith was taken down in the box. Penalty given, and Lukaku’s stuttering run-up almost failed him… but still cut the deficit to 2-1.

It didn’t take long for Villa to answer back, as Tom Cleverley made a cutting run to meet a great Leandro Bacuna through ball before beating Howard to make it 3-1.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Then Jagielka nodded home a crossbar rebound in stoppage time to narrow the gap to 3-2, but that was as close as the Toffees would get.


Aston Villa: Given; Bacuna (Hutton, 81′), Vlaar, Okore, Richardson; Westwood (Sanchez, 75′), Cleverley, Delph; N’Zogbia (Cole, 90′), Grealish, Benteke.

Goals: Benteke 2 (10′, 45′), Cleverley (64′)

Everton: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Baines; Barry, McCarthy; Mirallas (Osman, 75′), Naismith (Barkley, 75′), Lennon; Lukaku.

Goal: Lukaku (PK, 59′), Jagielka (90+2′)

Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa: Stunning finish sees City hold on after Guzan’s blunder


Manchester City beat Aston Villa 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as a breathtaking finale took some of the attention way from a horrendous goalkeeping blunder from Brad Guzan.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

City went 1-0 up as Guzan shanked the ball straight to Sergio Aguero to score and in the second half Aleksandar Kolarov whipped home a free kick to make it 2-0. To Villa’s credit they never stopped believing and were level after Tom Cleverley and Carlos Sanchez scored to make it 2-2 with five minutes to go. Then the game winning moment arrived as Fernandinho finished coolly in the 89th minute to sent City momentarily into second place.

With the win City move up to second on 67 points, while Villa remain in battle against relegation as they sit two points above the bottom three with four games to go.

[ RELATED: Latest PL standings ]

City took an early lead after Guzan’s horrendous mistake let in Aguero. The U.S. international goalkeeper recieved the ball back from Villa’s center back Ron Vlaar and as he went to play a pass out to his right with his left foot, the ball hit his standing feet and skewed right into the path of Aguero who couldn’t believe his luck before tapping home his 27th goal of the season. 1-0 to City, as Guzan’s name will join the pantheons of soccer gaffes.

The Illinois native continued his rough start to the match as he completely missed a cross moments later but Fernando failed to head home. Yaya Toure had a low drive which Guzan collected and 22 minutes in, Villa had still not woken up as Leandro Bacuna sent a terrible back pass toward his own goal which Aguero picked up and the move ended with Jesus Navas having a thunderous shot well blocked.

That effort seemed to finally wake the Villans from their slumber and in the 26th minute Benteke, who looked offside, was denied by a brilliant sprawling stop from City’s goalkeeper Joe Hart after the ball pinballed around the box and found Villa’s towering Belgian striker in acres of space. For the rest of the first half Villa gradually got into the game but couldn’t equalize before the break.

In the second half City eased into a 2-0 lead as Kolarov found a huge hole in Villa’s defensive wall from a free kick 25-yards out and the Serbian left back bent it through the gap and into the near post. 2-0 to City.

Just when you thought the Citizens were going to flip the switch to cruise control, Villa were handed a lifeline. A looping free kick from the left flank saw Hart come running out of his goal but the ball dropped to Benteke and as City’s defenders half cleared, Cleverley ran onto the loose ball and hammered it into the ground and into the net. 2-1.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Hart rushed out again five minutes later to thwart an onrushing Charles N’Zogbia, but Villa kept coming at City and were level after 85 minutes when a corner from the right caught Hart in a crowd as he came to collect and Sanchez calmly volleyed home. 2-2 as City’s 2-0 lead had evaporated.

A poor giveaway from Martin Demichelis then looked to have let Villa in for what could have been a winner but Benteke, who looked to be onside, was flagged for offside as he was fouled by Hart. City then launched an attack which would see them win the game, as a corner from the left found its way through to Fernandinho at the back post who chested the ball and acrobatically finished in the 89th minute. 3-2 to the Citizens as Pellegrini breathed a huge sigh of relief.


Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernando, Lampard (Milner, 57′), Navas, Yaya Toure (Fernandinho, 45′), Silva, Aguero (Bony, 83′)

Goals: Aguero (3′), Kolarov (66′), Fernandinho, (89′)

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna (Lowton, 87′), Okore, Vlaar, Richardson, Sanchez, Westwood (N’Zogbia, 68′), Cleverley, Delph, Grealish, Benteke. Subs: Given, Weimann, Cole, Senderos, Cissokho, N’Zogbia, Lowton

Goals: Cleverley (68′), Sanchez (85′)

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Aston Villa: Benteke gives Villa huge win, Sherwood a measure of vindication


Tim Sherwood walked into his former employer’s home and snatched three big points for Aston Villa while also taking European momentum from Tottenham in a 1-0 win on Saturday.

White Hart Lane was the location for Christian Benteke’s 35th minute goal, as well as the Premier League debut for USMNT winger DeAndre Yedlin.

Villa’s win puts its six points clear of the drop zone, and gives Sherwood his third win in 8 matches in charge of the Midlands club. For Spurs, its another missed chance at moving up the table. The London club is in 7th place with 54 points.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Benteke put Villa up 1-0 when he leapt to power a Leandro Bacuna cross past deputizing Michel Vorm.

The first half could’ve finished 3-1 instead of 1-0. For Spurs, Christian Eriksen made a great run before hitting a bouncing ball wide of the frame, while Villa saw Bacuna sky a good chance yards over the goal and Gabriel Agbonlahor cranked a good strike off the post.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

source: APFormer Seattle Sounders and current USMNT outside man DeAndre Yedlin made his Premier League debut when he subbed on for

But the next chance came for Villa, as Benteke passed Fabian Delph in on goal. Delph lost a slipping Yedlin but was denied by Vorm to keep it 1-0.

Overall, Yedlin was not timid upon debut, handling right-sided throw-ins and matching up with big Benteke on the end line during a late tussle for possession.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Carlos Sanchez picked up a red card in stoppage time, as the match


Tottenham Hotspur: Vorm; Chiriches (Yedlin, 79′), Dier, Fazio, Rose; Bentaleb, Mason; Townsend (Lamela, 79′), Eriksen, Chadli (Soldado, 62′); Kane (c).

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Clark (Baker, 18′), Richardson, Cleverley, Delph (c), Sanchez, Grealish (Weimann, 63′), Agbonlahor (Cole, 70′), Benteke

Goal: Benteke (35′)