One player from every Premier League club who deserves a new contract

17 May

Premier League clubs will be looking to tie down players who starred in the 2018/19 season.

From Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser to Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek, despite his unfortunate injury, there will be players who feel they have done enough to warrant a new contract.

Joel Matip could be in line for a new contract after his form this season
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Reports claim Matteo Guendouzi is set to sign a new £75,000-a-week deal at Arsenal after a superb breakthrough season in England, less than a year after signing from Lorient.

The Frenchman has played 47 times for the Gunners, but is believed to be one of the lowest-paid players at the club.

talkSPORT look at other players who deserve fresh terms for their performances during the 2018/19 season.

Arsenal – Matteo Guendouzi

Matteo Guendouzi has been a huge hit for Arsenal this season
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No one is more deserving of a new contract than Guendouzi. The Frenchman was thrown into the deep end by manager Unai Emery against Manchester City on the opening day of the season and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

He has also featured regularly in Arsenal’s Europa League campaign and could start against Chelsea in the May 29 final.

Bournemouth – Ryan Fraser

Ryan Fraser has had his best season in the top-flight for Bournemouth
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Not many football fans would have expected Fraser to end the season with 14 assists, and just one behind leading provider Eden Hazard.

He excelled playing on the left wing and also chipped in with seven league goals. His stats read even better given Bournemouth finished the season with just three wins from 14 games. With just one year left on Fraser’s contract, the Cherries will be desperate to extend his stay.

Brighton – Anthony Knockaert

Anthony Knockaert is one of Brighton’s star players
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Knockaert signed a new four-year deal in 2017 after helping Brighton win promotion to the Premier League. He has helped preserve their top-flight status over the past two seasons.

Starting 18 games in the 2018/19 campaign, the winger chipped in with six assists in a side which struggled for goals. He brings that extra quality that Brighton will need if they are to avoid another relegation battle.

Burnley – Tom Heaton

Tom Heaton won his No.1 spot back from Joe Hart
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Heaton’s deal expires next year and it would be a shock if he wasn’t offered a new one. The 33-year-old dislodged Joe Hart as Sean Dyche’s No.1 in December, and subsequently, Burnley climbed out of the relegation zone and finished the season in 15th place. He is a leader for Burnley.

Cardiff City – Bruno Manga

Bruno Manga has been a consistent presence in Cardiff’s backline
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The defender started 37 of Cardiff’s 38 Premier League games as the Bluebirds narrowly missed out on survival. Last month, Cardiff boss Neil Warnock said he wanted to keep Manga, whose contract expires this summer. He showed his versatility this season, too, playing as a centre-half and makeshift right-back.

Chelsea – Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has scored ten goals this season for Chelsea
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Loftus-Cheek has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Stamford Bridge, scoring ten goals and registering five assists. Initially, he struggled to get into Maurizio Sarri’s side, but has proven himself in the second half of the season, particularly in the Europa League.

His four goals have helped the Blues to the final where they will play Arsenal.

His contract expires next year with the midfielder reportedly wanting assurances of his playing time, while the process has also been complicated by his injury in the club’s post-season friendly with New England Revolution.

Crystal Palace – Luka Milivojevic

Luka Milivojevic makes Palace tick from midfield
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Milivojevic was one of three outfield players to feature in every minute of the 2018/19 Premier League season along with Burnley’s Ben Mee and Wolves’ Conor Coady.

The midfielder’s 12 goals, mostly from the penalty spot, ensured Palace stayed clear of the bottom three. The Eagles skipper has just one year left on his deal.

Everton – Morgan Schneiderlin

Morgan Schneiderlin has been booed by the Goodison Park faithful in the past
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Schneiderlin was failing to make Marco Silva’s matchday squads in the first half of the season. But since February, he established himself as a regular in the Everton midfield, edging out Barcelona loanee Andre Gomes. With the Toffees likely to lose Idrissa Gueye, who has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, and Gomes rumoured to be joining Tottenham, Schneiderlin could have a big role to play next season.

Fulham – Tim Ream

Tim Ream could stay on at Fulham
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Fulham will need leaders if they are to mount a promotion push from the Championship next season – and Ream is one of them.

He was an ever-present in their promotion-winning season last year and also played 25 times in their Premier League campaign.

Huddersfield Town – Christopher Schindler

Christopher Schindler is popular among Huddersfield fans
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There is expected to be an overhaul at Huddersfield following relegation.

Schindler missed just one Premier League game all season and could stay with the club in the Championship. His second-tier experience could also be invaluable.

Leicester – James Maddison

James Maddison is in-demand
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Despite only joining Leicester on a five-year deal last summer, Maddison is understood to be attracting interest from Arsenal and Tottenham.

His seven goals and seven assists was a healthy return for a debut season in the top-flight.

He has reportedly been touted as a replacement for Spurs star Christian Eriksen, who has been linked with a summer move to Real Madrid.

Liverpool – Joel Matip

Joel Matip has been a rock at the back for Liverpool
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Matip has superbly stepped up to partner Virgil van Dijk in the absence of Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren. He has featured in five of Liverpool’s six Champions League knockout games and is likely to keep his place when Liverpool take on Tottenham in the final on June 1. With his contract expiring next year, the defender has surely done enough to extend his stay at Anfield.

Manchester City – Vincent Kompany

Vincent Kompany’s wonder goal reminded everyone of his legendary status at the Etihad Stadium
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Kompany could end his 11-year spell with City when his contract expires this summer.

The 33-year-old’s 25-yard screamer in a 1-0 win over Leicester proved decisive in the Premier League title race as Pep Guardiola’s men retained their crown last weekend.

Playing 24 times in the 2018/19 season, he still has a lot to offer on and off the pitch.

Manchester United – Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford was in blistering form at the start of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign
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After scoring an injury-time penalty against Paris Saint-Germain to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals, Rashford’s form nosedived. Despite going eight games without scoring, the England youngster showed that he can be United’s first-choice striker with 13 goals in a challenging campaign.

With Real Madrid reportedly monitoring his situation, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want to tie down Rashford sooner rather than later.

Newcastle United – Ayoze Perez

Ayoze Perez has been prolific for Newcastle this season
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Perez has had his best scoring season (13) since joining the club in 2014. Since the turn of the year, he netted ten goals to help Newcastle climb out of the relegation zone and into 13th place.

He is a regular in Rafa Benitez’s side and a fans’ favourite at St James’ Park. Perez struck up a good understanding with striker Salomon Rondon, a player the Magpies will hope to sign on a permanent deal in the summer.

Southampton – Nathan Redmond

Nathan Redmond was one of Southampton’s best players in the 2018/19 season
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Redmond found his shooting boots under Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, scoring nine goals.

The winger was played as a striker by Hasenhuttl in a tactical switch that paid dividends. Redmond’s form was so good that he won the club’s Player of the Year award.

Tottenham – Moussa Sissoko

Moussa Sissoko is vital to Tottenham’s Champions League hopes
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Sissoko’s turnaround in form has been remarkable. After two tough seasons at Tottenham, the France midfielder has become one of the first names on the team sheet.

Sissoko brings so much energy to Spurs’ midfield and will expect to start in the Champions League final against Liverpool.

Watford – Jose Holebas

Jose Holebas has six assists to his name this season
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At the age of 34, Holebas had a consistent season as Watford’s first-choice left-back.

Three goals and six assists helped Watford to an 11th-placed finish. He has been with the club since 2015 and another fine campaign next year will only make his case for a new contract stronger.

West Ham – Michail Antonio

Michail Antonio has treated fans to some hilarious celebrations over the years
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When Manuel Pellegrini took over at the London Stadium last summer, Antonio was being linked with a move away from the club.

However, he has proven to be a key asset to Pellegrini’s side and most notably scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Tottenham last month.

Wolves – Joao Moutinho

Joao Moutinho has been a revelation for Wolves
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The 32-year-old’s dead-ball deliveries made Wolves a huge threat for any opposition as they finished the season in seventh place.

Eight assists is a decent return in a maiden Premier League campaign and  his experience at international and club level will only help the likes of Ruben Neves, Leander Dendoncker and Morgan Gibbs-White.

Watford handed boost ahead of FA Cup final with Manchester City as Jose Holebas’ available after red card rescinded

13 May

Jose Holebas had his red card in Watford’s 4-1 defeat to West Ham on Sunday overturned.

The 34-year-old defender was sent off in the final Premier League match of the season when he was judged to have pulled back Michail Antonio as he ran through on goal.

Jose Holebas will be able to play in the FA Cup final
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Watford head coach Javi Gracia said the club would appeal the decision and on Monday the Football Association announced it had been overturned.

This now means the defender will be available for Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley.

Javi Gracia’s side face Manchester City in the FA Cup final

“An Independent Regulatory Commission has today [13/05/2019] upheld a claim of wrongful dismissal regarding Jose Holebas,” an FA statement read.

“The Watford player was sent off against West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday [12/05/2019] for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.”

The Hornets ended the season in 11th following the final day defeat to the Hammers.

Gracia’s side have the chance to prevent Manchester City from completing a historic domestic treble on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side wrapped up the Premier League title on Sunday and have already won the Carabao Cup and now have the FA Cup in their sights.

Watford to appeal Jose Holebas’ red card against West Ham as defender faces FA Cup final heartbreak

13 May

Watford head coach Javi Gracia hit out at the decision to send off Jose Holebas in Sunday’s defeat to West Ham.

The left-back was given his marching orders after he brought down Michail Antonio when he was through on goal in the 48th minute and now faces missing this weekend’s FA Cup final.

Chris Kavanagh gave Jose Holebas a straight red card
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Asked if the club would appeal against the red card, Watford boss Javi Gracia replied: “For sure. I kept the same attitude during all of the season and I don’t want to change at the last one.

“I prefer to be respectful to the referees decision and I prefer at this moment to not say what I am thinking about that.

“In my opinion, I can’t believe one player will miss the final for that contact, I can’t believe it.

“Maybe it is a foul, soft foul, light foul but I can be angry with that decision. In this moment it is difficult to accept knowing you have an important game next week.”

Holebas has enjoyed a fine season, scoring three times and registering six assists in 31 appearances.

Jose Holebas has been a consistent performer for Watford this season
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Gracia likened the decision of referee Michael Oliver to an incident which saw Watford captain Troy Deeney sent off against Arsenal recently.

The club unsuccessfully appealed against that that decision and Gracia called for a level of continuity from officials.

“It wasn’t a foul,” he added on Holebas’ misdemeanour.

“That contact with one player like Antonio, it is a foul there a lot of fouls during the game.

“It was the same with Troy and (Lucas) Torreira – in the next games there were similar situations.

“After two games, it is true, they say it is possible it was a mistake but that is after two days. I don’t want that, I want the referees to take the right decisions.”

Watford endured a testing end to the season after securing just two league wins – both against relegated clubs Fulham and Huddersfield – in their final nine games.

Gracia added: “It’s obvious we would prefer to be as high as possible.

“But we have to know how we can improve our play to compete better in the next game, the final, because the last games we didn’t keep the same level as before.”

Watford will be hoping to ruin Manchester City’s chances of a domestic treble when they meet at Wembley on May 18.

Manchester United need to watch defender Jose Holebas, whose assists have been key to Watford’s Premier League start

12 Sep

Watford v Manchester United is live on talkSPORT at 17:30 on Saturday 15 September

It’s not Troy Deeney, Roberto Pereyra or Abdoulaye Doucoure Man United‘s players need to watch out for in the late game

No, the real danger man is Watford defender Jose Holebas – thousands of Fantasy Premier League players will no doubt tell you as much.

Troy Deeney thanks Holebas for his goal against Spurs

The 34-year-old has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other player in the four games played this season, scoring once but creating four for his team-mates.

Watford sit joint top of the table with Liverpool and Manchester City as the only teams to have a 100 per cent record so far.

Holebas created both goals in the 2-0 win against Brighton, then scored in a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace and was credited with another two assists in the 2-1 win against Tottenham.

You have been warned, Jose…

Stream live commentary of Watford v Manchester United here at 17:30 on 15 September.