Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic signs new four-year contract to stay at Selhurst Park

9 Aug

Luka Milivojevic has put pen to paper on a new deal which will see him stay at Crystal Palace until 2023.

The club captain has signed on for four more years at Selhurst Park after playing every minute of last season.

Milivojevic makes Palace tick
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Chairman Steve Parish said: “Luka has been a fantastic player and leader for the club for two and a half years.

“His contribution really has been immense and I am delighted that he has agreed to pledge his long term future to Crystal Palace.”

The Serbian midfielder joined the club from Olympiacos in January 2017.

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Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • West Ham vs Manchester City (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Nottingham Forest (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Crystal Palace vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Aston Villa (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

He has since become a vital part of the Eagles’ side and scored 12 goals for Roy Hodgson’s team last year.

He has now netted 24 times in 88 games for Palace and will be looking to develop this total over the coming years.

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Crystal Palace vs Everton: Three key battles to look forward to at Selhurst Park

9 Aug

The Premier League is back and with every new campaign the sense of anticipation and excitement is felt by fans all across the country.

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and we’ll be bringing you live football all season.

Palace and Everton meet on Saturday
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Our second live commentary of the season will be Crystal Palace against Everton at Selhurst Park from 15:00 on talkSPORT 2.

Tensions are already high between the two sides, with the Toffees failing in their bid to land Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha.

While Everton did not reach a deal to sign Zaha, Marco Silva still boosted his squad considerably with the likes of Fabian Delph, Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean.

A slow start to the summer transfer window picked up speed in the final few days for Palace, who added Gary Cahill, Victor Camarasa and James McCarthy to their side.

But where will the game be won and lost on Saturday? talkSPORT.com takes a look at three key battles which could have a big say on the final score.

LIVE on talkSPORT

  • West Ham vs Manchester City (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Nottingham Forest (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Crystal Palace vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Aston Villa (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

 

Richarlison vs Patrick Van Aanholt

The Brazilian was Everton’s joint-top scorer in his debut season on Merseyside with 14 strikes and turned in a number of impressive displays.

Coming back from his Copa America success with Brazil, the former Watford man looked impressive in pre-season and gave Werder Bremen’s Marco Friedl plenty of problems with his pace, directness and his ability to drift inside and help down either the left or right flank, which was evident throughout much of 2018/19.

Richarlison has been brilliant for Everton
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He scored twice on the opening day last season in a 2-2 draw with Wolves and is among the favourites to get among the goals in this clash.

An attacking full-back, Van Aanholt, is likely to be seen playing one-twos with Luka Milivojevic or Max Meyer as he flies down the wing to support the attack.

The Dutchman could be in for a busy afternoon if he is caught too high up the pitch, but he does have the pace to match Richarlison.


Gylfi Sigurdsson vs Luka Milivojevic

Sigurdsson has previously operated as a false nine, second striker and played out wide on the left.

However, his best position is as a central midfielder, where he is able to read the game and act as the orchestra to build Everton’s attacks.

Last season he scored 13 times from midfield and assisted six and is likely to benefit from having a more clinical striker in front of him in the form of Kean, while being flanked by the likes of Bernard and Richarlison.

Milivojevic makes Palace tick
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The loss of Idrissa Gueye to Paris Saint-Germain will massive, such was his tireless role and ability to let the forwards flourish.

While Milivojevic plays in a more defensive role, he is still the reliable platform for which Palace go through in order to build play or steady the ship.

The Serb is both an excellent distributor and his ability to win back possession is often overlooked, with many choosing to focus on his efficiency from 12 yards, where he is probably the Premier League’s best penalty taker.


Gary Cahill vs Dominic Calvert-Lewin

The former England captain played just twice in the top-flight last season, having not been part of Maurizio Sarri’s plans at Chelsea.

What Cahill does bring to the Palace side, is a wealth of experience and his ability to lead in a natural, unassuming manner will be vital to The Eagles, who look a little light in terms of depth this season.

Despite his lack of action, the 33-year-old has maintained his fitness and could make his debut on Saturday.

Gary Cahill has joined from Chelsea
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He will hope to avoid a repeat of the last time he played on the opening day of the season, which was two years ago, when he was shown a red card for a high tackle in the 14th minute, as Chelsea lost 3-2 to Burnley.

Calvert-Lewin is likely to lead the line ahead of Cenk Tosun, with Kean presumably introduced from the bench at some point in the second-half.

While he is fast and energetic, his finishing can leave a lot to be desired and his performance in the final pre-season match did little to suggest he warrants the role at the weekend.


Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Arsenal fans, Jurgen Klopp’s excuses, goals of the season and more things we can’t wait to see in the Premier League

5 Aug

Liverpool and Man City’s Premier League title battle, a Peep Show prophecy about Theo Walcott coming true and Virgil van Dijk – these were some of the best things about last season, so what’s to look forward to this campaign?

1. Arsenal fans’ inevitable meltdown

The club and its fans have become a bit of a laughing stock in recent years. Goals, flair and Henry have now been replaced by memes, selfies and Mustafi. At least your kit is decent, eh Gooners?


2. Luka Milivojevic being the top scoring Fantasy player thanks to VAR and penalties

The Crystal Palace man, who scored 10 penalties last season, could benefit from the rule changes involving handball. From the new season, handball will be given any time the ball comes into contact with a player’s arm when it is extended beyond a ‘natural silhouette’ to make themselves ‘unnaturally bigger’. Translation: Get him in your Dream Team and watch the points stack up.

Milivojevic is deadly from 12 yards and could score even more with the introduction of VAR in the Premier League
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3. Man United fan ‘protests’ calling for the Glazers to leave after paying the Old Trafford entry fee

It also wouldn’t be a Premier League season without them blaming everything on Ed Woodward either.

The Glazer’s ownership of Man United since 2005 has caused division
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4. Paul Pogba staying, kissing the Man United badge, declaring his love for the fans, then leaving in January

His comments about wanting a new challenge were misinterpreted. He loves Old Trafford really…

5. Seeing what formal event Andy Carroll will turn up to in a tracksuit

He’s done a wedding, so could it be a Christening?

6. Another Andros Townsend screamer

Yes please. It was a tragedy it didn’t win Goal of the Season.

Townsend’s rocket for Palace saw the Eagles beat Man City
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7. The excuse Jurgen Klopp will use when Liverpool lose to Burnley

We’ve had weather – on multiple occasions – but he has not blamed the crisis in the Gulf as far as talkSPORT is aware.

The Liverpool manager is quite imaginative when it comes to finger pointing
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8. Mike Dean’s banter

9. Hector Bellerin’s outfits

His unique fashion sense isn’t to everyone’s taste, but he doesn’t care what you or anyone else thinks.

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Sunday's at the Emirates

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10. Charlie Austin’s next Parklife-inspired rant

The Southampton striker was raging when a goal against Watford was disallowed in November. Then this happened.

11. Jack Grealish’s low socks

The Aston Villa midfielder, like Bellerin, also has his own style. Whereas the Arsenal man’s is borrowed from the catwalk, though, his is taken from 1970s football – a wonderful throwback.

One year his socks shrunk in the wash and he played really well, so it became a superstition for the Villa ace
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12. To see which player Pep Guardiola has a tense exchange with in full view of the cameras

We’re unsure what the Spanish for ‘getting in their grill’ is, but the Man City manager has a tendency to do this to his players and opponents – just ask Nathan Redmond, Josh Kimmich and Raheem Sterling.

13. Mark Saggers to lose his s**t again on talkSPORT

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

One player every Premier League side cannot afford to sell in the transfer window

14 Jul

The return of the Premier League season is edging closer and, as ever, the summer transfer window is still providing fans with plenty of entertainment.

Although the new Merlin ball is yet to be kicked, all 20 sides in the English top-flight are still anxiously hoping to improve their squad.

The Premier League season is agonisingly close, with plenty of transfer business still to be done
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Thus far, Manchester United have been the most aggressive side in the market. After capturing Daniel James from Swansea City for £15million, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went big and parted with £50m to sign Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace.

Of course, there are no shortage of potential departures from Old Trafford this season.

Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba have both been linked with lucrative moves this summer, with the Belgium international seemingly set to move to a Serie A side.

And while the sales of both men would see a sizeable injection of cash pumped into Old Trafford, it begs the question as to how important they both are to United.

Pogba and Lukaku are both expected to leave Manchester United this summer
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This is a question a number of Premier League sides are asking after seeing some of their star players also linked with moves away.

Wilfried Zaha is undoubtedly adored at Crystal Palace, but if you travel to south London and find Eagles fans who would not sell him for an extortionate price to Arsenal, they are probably in the minority.

Similarly, West Ham United sold Marko Arnautovic to Shanghai SIPG earlier this week. But fans in the East End remain optimistic about their prospects for the upcoming season.

So which players can be considering genuinely unstoppable for their sides? Scroll down to see the one player talkSPORT.com believes your Premier League side cannot afford to sell in the transfer window.

AFC Bournemouth – Nathan Ake

Nathan Ake has gone from Chelsea reject to Premier League powerhouse
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Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser are arguably Bournemouth’s two most important players. Going forward, the duo looked unstoppable at times last season.

But 24-year-old Ake is the main man at the Vitality, make no mistake about that.

Eddie Howe’s side have traditionally suffered dips of form throughout the season, but it is the fortitude of Ake which helped see them through last year.

Averaging 6.1 clearances a game, the Netherlands international is a classic example of what a good centre-back should be.

Arsenal – Alexandre Lacazette

Arsenal’s player of the season, Lacazette is a cunning and selfless centre forward
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Upon signing for Arsenal in 2017, many fans believed Lacazette was simply brought in to score goals. After all, he had managed to net 129 times in 275 games for previous side Lyon.

But the France international has a vast array of redeeming features which have endeared him to Arsenal fans.

His hold-up play, determination and willingness to play anywhere for his team were key factors behind the fan’s decision to award him the Player of the Year Award.

With 13 Premier League goals to his name last year, the Gunners striker is vital to the way Unai Emery wants to play.

Aston Villa – Jack Grealish

A boyhood Villa fan, Grealish will need to continue his fantastic form
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It’s not very often modern day fans get to see a real-life Roy of the Rovers story played out, but Grealish is doing just that.

The boyhood Villa fan thought he was signing for Tottenham last summer due to the club’s financial struggles, but the owners came in and locked him down to a new deal.

He then struggled with a shin injury, but lead the Villans to 13 wins out of 16 in the Championship to lead them to the Play-Offs.

The 23-year-old is expected to retain the captain’s armband when the Premier League season kicks off and will be crucial to their survival chances.

Brighton and Hove Albion – Lewis Dunk

The centre-half is Brighton’s leader on the pitch
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When Chris Hughton was surprisingly given the sack at the end of last season, a stunned silence must have fallen over the Amex Stadium.

The Seagulls had just secured a third consecutive season in the Premier League and Hughton is recognised as being one of the nicest men in football.

Given Brighton are now experiencing an overhaul under new boss Graham Potter, the last thing they can afford to do is lose their captain.

The England international has helped Brighton keep 17 clean sheets since arriving in the Premier League, maintaining a tackle success rate of 54 per cent as well.

Burnley – James Tarkowski

After Michael Keane’s departure, Tarkowski stepped up to the mantle at Turf Moor
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Michael Keane’s move to Everton threatened to send Burnley spiralling back into the Championship, but the stoic Sean Dyche dug his heels in and the Clarets are still a Premier League side.

Perhaps no player better epitomises that spirit than Tarkowski. The 26-year-old was promoted after Keane’s move to Merseyside and has worked hard to keep his place.

Now an England international, the centre-back is thriving at Turf Moor. Averaging 6.7 tackles and 1.6 clearances per game, Tarkowski is Burnley’s most important player.

With Harry Maguire potentially leaving Leicester, Dyche has been quick to slap a £40m price tag on the former Oldham Athletic defender.

Chelsea – N’Golo Kante

Kante is one of the best midfielders in the world, without a shadow of a doubt
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Of all the players to suffer under Murizio Sarri’s reign at Chelsea, Kante was perhaps the one who bore the brunt of the Italian’s rigid tactics.

Played in a more advanced midfield role, the France international struggled to produce the calibre of performances fans have begun accustomed to. But you don’t win back-to-back Premier League titles and then the World Cup if you’re a bad player.

Despite Kante’s indifferent season, Frank Lampard simply HAS to keep the midfielder and play him in his strongest role.

On his day, there are few better defensive midfielders in the world. During the 2016/17 season, Kante made 127 tackles, 82 interceptions and a staggering 275 recoveries.

Crystal Palace – Luka Milivojevic

The Serbia international is vital to the Eagles
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A deadline day signing from Olympiacos in 2017 under Sam Allardyce, few Palace fans knew just how influential Milivojevic would become.

The Serbia international has since become the first-choice midfielder, the designated set-piece taker and now Eagles captain.

Strong in the tackle and an excellent reader of the game, the 28-year-old is unerringly consistent and so reliable. He averaged 2.4 tackles and 1.9 interceptions a game, whilst maintaining an 80 per cent pass success rate.

With Zaha seemingly off, Palace will need Milivojevic’s leadership abilities to steady the ship at Selhurst Park.

Everton – Gylfi Sigurdsson

Sigurdsson is one of the most creative players in the Premier League
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A £45m signing from Swansea City, Sigurdsson is finally getting the recognition he deserves at Everton.

The Iceland international may not possess the pace of modern day attacking midfielders, but his technical ability is impressive.

Last season, he scored 13 goals and registered six assists as the Toffees enjoyed a comfortable season under Marco Silva.

But the Portuguese boss will want to push on and with Andre Gomes signed on a permanent deal, Sigurdsson’s role at Goodison Park has become even more vital.

Leicester City – Wilfred Ndidi

It may not be long before the biggest clubs in the Premier League start to go after Ndidi
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While it would be terrible to lose Harry Maguire to either Manchester City or Manchester United, there are question marks about how much further the England international can develop.

Already an outstanding ball-carrier as well as a solid defender, the 26-year-old is nearing his prime years. And while he is already fantastic, Ndidi could be exceptional. He made 143 tackles in the top-flight last season – more than any other player.

It is almost scary to think the midfielder is only 22 years of age, he was a regular starter for Nigeria at the World Cup last summer and appeared in every Premier League game for the Foxes in 2018/19.

Tenacious in the tackle and averaging 52.2 passes per game, the youngster is exactly what a manager wants from a holding midfielder. If they lose him, there are very players in world football with as much potential they could afford to get.

Liverpool – Virgil van Dijk

The world is running out of superlatives to describe Van Dijk
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Perhaps the easiest name to put on this list, Van Dijk is one of the best players in the world and is set to become the first defender to win the Ballon d’Or since Fabio Cannavaro since 2006.

Statistically, the Netherlands captain was superb; no-one has completed a dribble past Virgil van Dijk in any of his last 64 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool. While Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are important, Van Dijk is irreplaceable.

So even if a ludicrous bid comes in for the 27-year-old, Liverpool simply cannot afford to sell him. Not just because of his on-pitch performances, but for the message it sends to the rest of the world.

After winning the Champions League, bowing to the financial pressure of a Real Madrid or a Barcelona suggests the Reds are weak. Keeping Van Dijk transcends football, it is a power move to reject any and every offer which finds its way to Anfield.

Manchester City – Bernardo Silva

The Portuguese epitomises the football Pep Guardiola wants to play
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When the little Portuguese rocked up at the Etihad in 2017, many felt he would sit on the bench and play a bit part role for a few years until his namesake David decided to call it a day.

However, the 24-year-old has established himself as one of, if not the most important player in Pep Guardiola’s well-oiled City machine. He epitomises the type of football the Spaniard wants to play.

Silva made 1.4 tackles per game on average in the Premier League, but also managed to keep an exorbitantly high 86.1 per cent pass success rate, which for an attacking is sensational.

With seven goals and seven assists last season, the relentless Guardiola will expect more from a player whose pattern of growth seems exponential.

Manchester United – Paul Pogba

Love him or loathe him, Pogba has a star quality you cannot ignore
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Perhaps the most divisive figure in world football at this time, everyone has an opinion on Paul Pogba.

Talented, yet temperamental, the France international wants out of Old Trafford. But it seems like a huge mistake to get rid of him.

Statistically speaking, Pogba was unmatched at Old Trafford. The 26-year-old scored 13 goals and got nine assists, more than anyone other Red Devil.

But, as with Van Dijk at Liverpool, selling Pogba would be a decision which transcends football. He is a marketable asset and letting him go suggests United can no longer keep, nor attract the best players in world football. He is the last genuine star in that squad.

Newcastle United – Fabian Schar

The centre half is cultured and composed on the ball
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Newcastle United are in danger of free-falling out of the Premier League trap door and tumbling into the Championship.

Back in May when rumours of a wealthy investor began to circulate, odds began to shorten drastically on the Magpies signing Kylian Mbappe. But the rumours proved to not be true, with Rafael Benitez quickly plotting his escape route to China.

If relegation is to be staved off, the club MUST hold on to the quality players they have in the squad, with Schar the first.

The Switzerland international was Newcastle’s best player according to WhoScored, with a rating of 7.30. His no-nonsense defensive style is complimented by a knack of scoring important goals too.

Norwich City – Tom Trybull

The midfielder has played for many of the Germany youth teams
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Daniel Farke’s revolution at Carrow Road is nothing short of spectacular, taking an average Canaries side from finishing 14th in the Championship to winning it in spectacular style.

And Trybull’s emergence from Alex Tettey’s shadow to become a first-team regular is testament to Farke’s ability. He will be crucial to Norwich’s chances of staying the division, especially considering they are unlikely to enjoy as much possession in the top-flight as they did last year.

A regular amongst the German youth teams, the midfielder seemed destined for mediocrity until he took his chance in East Anglia. According to Norwich’s Sporting Director, Stuart Webber, Trybull’s new coach had fought hard for the midfielder to come to Carrow Road.

He said: “He is lucky he has an outstanding coach who believes in him. Daniel fought for the opportunity for Tom. He came through very much on Daniel’s advice. I like people who are brave and willing to put themselves out of their comfort zone and pretty much beg for an opportunity.”

Sheffield United – John Egan

Egan is as crucial to the team on the pitch as he is off it
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A club-record signing from Brentford, Egan has the potential to follow in the footsteps of former Blades hero Harry Maguire.

Egan endured loan spells with Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, Bradford City and Southend United, and has represented Ireland at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level.

He was released by Sunderland at the end of the 2013–14 season, and signed a 2-year deal with Gillingham in July 2014.

But now, he has established himself as a crucial member of Chris Wilder’s’ defence and his willingness to put his body on the line (as illustrated by his red card at Millwall) will be invaluable to securing a second Premier League season.

Southampton – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

With Mario Lemina seemingly off, the Saints cannot afford to lose another influential midfielder
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A former Bayern Munich midfielder, Hojbjerg made the decision to join Southampton in 2016 after being convinced by Claude Puel.

Now working under his THIRD permanent manager in three years, the 23-year-old has taken over the captain’s armband and diligently carries on in midfield.

It is this behaviour which the Saints desperately crave and will need throughout the season. After having some of their best talents ripped from the south coast, Hojbjerg’s single-mindedness and determination is exactly what the club needs.

As illustrated by Mario Lemina, the upheaval at St Mary’s can unsettle players. But Hojbjerg’s unerring consistency will give fans hope of genuine progression in years to come.

Tottenham Hotspur – Heung-Min Son

While Harry Kane and Dele Alli are undoubtedly superstars, Son continues to defy critics on a regular basis
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For several years, the former Bayer Leverkusen attacker was touted as just an ‘underrated’ option up front for Spurs.

But Son is much more than that, his pace and trickery make him a constant threat for 90 minutes, but it it his consistency and the addition of goals which makes him so special.

Harry Kane has shown a pattern of breaking down throughout the course of a season, perhaps linked to his importance for both club and country. In his absence, the South Korea international has led the line superbly.

Stats last season suggested Spurs actually won more games and scored more without Kane in their side, but with Son leading the line.

Watford – Abdoulaye Doucoure

The central midfielder has been linked with a move to PSG in the past
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Watford enjoyed a terrific season last time out under Javi Gracia, reaching the FA Cup final. Although they were thumped by Manchester City, the season can still be classed as a success.

Much of that can be attributed to the presence of Abdoulaye Doucoure at the base of the Hornets’ midfield. Gracia was able to play a diamond in midfield which, thanks to Doucoure, meant Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra flourished further forward.

Even from a deeper position, the 26-year-old managed to record six assists and chipped in with five goals. His strengths lie in winning the ball back and driving forward, maintaining a 83.5 per cent pass success rate and averaging 1.5 shots per game from a deeper position.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly still interested, with Liverpool also in the frame. The Frenchman wants to play Champion League football, but the Hornets must retain their star man if they want to build on their 11th-placed finish.

West Ham United – Declan Rice

If Rice were to leave, the Hammers would be very threadbare in midfield
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For those who watched West Ham regularly last season, you will understand the hype around Rice.

A centre-back by trade, Maneul Pellegrini moved the 20-year-old into the heart of the midfield and he has not looked back, making his England debut later in the season.

He made more tackles than any other West Ham player (98), was second in passes (1,518) and third in interceptions (52).

Quite simply, he is the defensive shield Manuel Pellegrini needs in order to play the attacking brand of football he is famed for. Without Rice at the base of midfield, West Ham lost their opening four games of last season in convincing style.

Wolverhampton Wanderers – Diogo Jota

Jota scored nine goals and registered five assists last season
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Ruben Neves is a superstar and Raul Jimenez is also an integral member of Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad, but Jota quickly showed he had the quality to become the main man.

Aged just 22, the versatile forward embodied all that was good about Wolves last season. Fearless and not afraid to attack, Jota scored nine goals and five assists in his debut campaign.

But what is more important is the calibre of opposition he scored against. Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal all conceded against the Portuguese star.

He picked up 11 yellow cards which, although suggests a lack of discipline, is also an indicator of how he is willing to get stuck for his team and even make the necessary cynical fouls when tracking back to stop the momentum of the opposition.

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.

The 13 Premier League stars who have played every minute of the season, including Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United aces

26 Mar

Playing in the Premier League is no mean feat, it is after all considered the most competitive league in the world.

To feature week-in week-out, for every single match is a notable achievement, especially given the demands and rigours of the top-flight.

A knock or a niggle can rule a player out for a game, or see a superstar substituted, while suspensions are always a risk, whether through a sending off or an accumulation of cautions.

Some stars, though, are both relied upon by their team and able to avoid absences and play every minute of every game.

But who are these ever-present players, talkSPORT.com takes a look.


Ben Mee (Burnley – 2790 minutes)

The defender has been an consistent feature in defence for Sean Dyche’s team and should he keep up his appearances, looks on course to beat his Premier League personal tally of 34 matches in 2016/17.

Mee has been an ever-present for Burnley

Jordan Pickford (Everton – 2790 minutes)

The England goalkeeper may have had his critics this season following his World Cup heroics, but he remains Everton’s first choice between the sticks.

Barring injury or something unexpected, Pickford should play every single match for the Toffees for a second successive season.

Pickford has come under criticism for his recent performances

Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City  – 2790 minutes)

Goalkeepers are rarely rotated and it is usually a position managers will leave well alone, once they have found the right fit.

Schmeichel has been No.1 since his move in 2011 and that does not look like changing any time soon.

Kasper Schmeichel is the Foxes No. 1

Alisson (Liverpool – 2790 minutes)

The Brazilian has been a key reason for Liverpool’s title challenge this season.

His arrival has solved the goalkeeping problem that was causing Jurgen Klopp considerable worry in recent seasons and he has the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season with 15.

Alisson has kept the most clean sheets with 15

Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United – 2790 minutes)

It was a masterstroke from Rafael Benitez to sign the Slovakian when he did, as he is now one of the Premier League’s most consistent goalkeepers and the interest from some of Europe’s elite, such as Juventus, is a testament to his talent and growing reputation.

Martin Dubravka has turned in a number of excellent displays

Lukasz Fabianski – (West Ham – 2790 minutes)

The Hammers could not have asked for a more reliable player between the sticks.

Fabianski has only missed three matches in the past five seasons, four of those with Swansea City and he has already featured in every match for West Ham this campaign.

Łukasz Fabiański is Mr reliable

Luka Milivojević (Crystal Palace – 2700 minutes)

While Wilfried Zaha is rightly considered the Eagles most influential player, Milivojević is not too far behind himself, in terms of importance and is enjoying another impressive season.

The Serbian controls the tempo in midfield and is one of the most efficient penalty takers in world football.

Luka Milivojevic makes Palace tick from midfield

Ederson (Manchester City – 2700 minutes)

Now in his second season at the Etihad, Ederson looks as if he has been playing in the Premier League for much longer, such is the ease with which he plays.

Comfortable with the ball at his feet, a modern essential to play in goal, it could be another season he finishes with a league title.

Ederson’s distribution is outstanding

David De Gea (Manchester United – 2700 minutes)

The introduction in recent seasons of Ederson and Alisson to the Premier League has increased the competition among the Premier League’s goalkeepers, but for some De Gea still remains the best.

On his day he is capable of incredible stops and has proved time and time again to be virtually unbeatable. Just ask Tottenham!

David De Gea is considered to be the best in the world

Ben Foster (Watford  – 2700 minutes)

Troy Deeney recently praised the former Manchester United goalkeeper: “The guy eats s***, trains twice a week, turns up on a Saturday and is unbelievable.”

While few, other than his team-mates, can vouch for his diet, whatever he is eating clearly has not hampered his displays come the weekend.

Ben Foster has impressed for Watford

Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea – 2700 minutes)

It may not have been his best season in a Chelsea shirt, but the Spaniard remains a figure of consistency and is one of the first names on the team-sheet.

He has missed three league matches in the past four seasons and was trusted to play a vital role by the likes of Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, during Chelsea‘s title winning campaigns.

Cesar Azpilicueta is a dependable figure in the Chelsea side

Neil Etheridge (Cardiff – 2700 minutes)

As far as first seasons go in the Premier League, it has been a respectable one for Etheridge and while Cardiff are in the relegation zone, the 6ft 2 shot-stopper, has earned a reputation for saving penalties.

Etheridge saved two penalties in his first two games this season.

Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers – 2700 minutes)

The former Liverpool defender has been excellent for a Wolves side in contention for European qualification.

Such is his form, Coady’s recent omission from the England squad had to be justified, with a future call-up not ruled out by Gareth Southgate.

Coady has quickly proven his quality at Premier League level

Crystal Palace 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion: Anthony Knockaert’s sensational strike seals all three points for Seagulls at Selhurst Park

9 Mar

Anthony Knockaert came up with a moment of individual brilliance to secure a 2-1 win for Brighton and Hove Albion at rivals Crystal Palace.

Glenn Murray’s first half strike was cancelled out by Luka Milivojevic’s penalty shortly after the break in the Premier League clash at Selhurst Park.

With neither side able to get a firm grip on the game, Knockaert fired into the top corner from 20 yards in what was his final kick of the game.

Anthony Knockaert celebrates scoring his goal

The visitors were lucky to still have all 11 players on the pitch after the opening seconds of the match. Anthony Knockaert made a rash challenge on Luka Milivojevic and was fortunate to receive just a yellow.

Glenn Murray was a late change for Brighton after Florin Andone pulled-up in the warm-up and the striker made the most of his opportunity.

Glenn Murray scores the opener

He opened the scoring in the 19th minute when the Palace defence failed to deal with Lewis Dunk’s long punt forward and the 35-year-old smashed the ball into the bottom corner from the right side of the area.

Palace pushed forward in search of an equaliser as the half drew to a close but they could not find a way past Mathew Ryan and Brighton went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

Palace won a penalty when Andros Townsend was fouled in the box

The home side equalised from the penalty spot five minutes into the second half after Andros Townsend went down in the box and Milivojevic calmly converted the penalty to make it 1-1.

Brighton regained the lead in the 74th minute when Anthony Knockaert rifled into the top corner from the edge of the area.

More to follow…

 

The dirtiest players in the Premier League so far this season including Paul Pogba, Alexandre Lacazette and Troy Deeney

15 Feb

The Premier League has always been one of the most physical and intense in the world.

And while the running battles of Keane v Vieira are no longer a regular occurrence, it can still be unforgiving out on the pitch.

Although referees try to afford players more protection from robust challenges, inevitably the odd cynical foul occurs.

The Premier League is one of the most physical in the world

This week alone has seen Manchester United star Paul Pogba and Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette sent off in Europe for their indiscretions.

But just who has been the dirtiest player domestically so far this season?

While both of the aforementioned France international’s are in the top 20, neither has committed enough fouls to lay claim to the No.1 spot.

Scroll down to see who is the dirtiest player so far in the Premier League!

20. Sol Bamba (Cardiff City)

Bamba has committed 32 fouls so far this season

= 17. Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

Pogba has committed 33 fouls so far this season

= 17. Jefferson Lerma (AFC Bournemouth)

Lerma has committed 33 fouls so far this season

= 17. Zanka (Huddersfield Town)

Zanka has committed 33 fouls so far this season

= 14. Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion)

Stephens has committed 34 fouls so far this season

= 14. Jonathan Hogg (Huddersfield Town)

Hogg has committed 34 fouls so far this season

= 14. Troy Deeney (Watford)

Deeney has committed 34 fouls this season

13. DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)

Yedlin has committed 35 fouls so far this season

= 10. Andre Gomes (Everton)

Gomes has committed 36 fouls so far this season

= 10. Joao Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Moutinho has committed 36 fouls so far this season

= 10. Etienne Capoue (Watford)

Capoue has committed 36 fouls so far this season

= 8. Fernandinho (Manchester City)

Fernandinho has committed 37 fouls so far this season

= 8. Idrissa Gueye (Everton)

Gueye has committed 37 fouls so far this season

7. Callum Paterson (Cardiff City)

Paterson has committed 38 fouls so far this season

6. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United)

Ritchie has committed 39 fouls so far this season

= 4. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham)

Mitrovic has committed 40 fouls so far this season

= 4. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)

Lacazette has committed 40 fouls so far this season

3. Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace)

Milivojevic has committed 42 fouls so far this season

2. James McArthur (Crystal Palace)

McArthur has committed 44 fouls so far this season

1. Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion)

Murray has committed 59 fouls so far this season

Luka Milivojevic urged Mohamed Salah to tell referee he dived during Crystal Palace defeat to Liverpool

21 Aug

Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic instructed Mohamed Salah to tell referee Michael Oliver to rescind the penalty he awarded to Liverpool after insisting the Egyptian had gone down too easily.

Jurgen Klopp’s team won 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Monday, when James Milner scored from the penalty spot and Sadio Mane secured all three points in stoppage time after Palace had been reduced to 10 men with Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s dismissal.

Milivojevic was incensed at the award of the penalty

What had been a competitive affair changed on the stroke of half-time when Salah went down under minimal contact from Mamadou Sakho to earn the penalty which Palace manager Roy Hodgson has also since criticised.

Palace’s pursuit of an equaliser left them vulnerable to the counter-attacks that ended with Wan-Bissaka’s red card and Mane’s late finish, and midfielder Milivojevic said: “I told him ‘Say to the referee it’s not a penalty’. But he said it was. From his point of view it was a penalty.

“It was not a penalty. During the game that was my opinion and after the game when I saw the image, Mama tried to touch the ball, he did not touch the ball and in my opinion he did not touch the man.

“He fell down and for the referee it was a penalty. I did not see the contact on Salah. For me it was clear; it was not a penalty. That is football.

The penalty splits opinion

“This is not the first mistake in football. We were angry in the first minute but in football you do not have time to cry, we carried on, we tried in the second half. We had some good chances. Okay we lost, but we have to be proud.”

Milivojevic played for Serbia during the summer’s World Cup, where the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology helped influence similar decisions.

The Premier League remains the only major, top-flight division in European football in which VAR will not contribute to the refereeing of matches, but despite his sense of injustice Milivojevic said: “I do not want VAR in this league. In this country you have the best referees in the world.

“I do not think VAR will help. They are human beings, and they make mistakes sometimes. In his opinion he (Oliver) did the right thing. As players, we have to respect the referee. We are not a team who will cry over that penalty, we just carry on.”