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Carabao Cup: Confirmed Liverpool Lineup vs West Ham United

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League leaders Liverpool have the perfect opportunity to edge closer to the Premier League title when they take on West Ham United who are struggling at the other end of the table.

Liverpool are guests of West Ham United in what’s their outstanding game in the Premier League.

The outstanding game should have taken place last month if not for their participation at the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup tournament in Qatar.

They have 16 more points than Manchester City who are the nearest team to the Reds on the table and a win over the Hammers would take them 19 points clear of the Premier League champions.

West Ham United manager David Moyes is under serious pressure to arrest the recent slide in form which has seen them lose three of the last four games in all competitions including the 1-0 home loss to English Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.

West Ham United are outside the relegation zone on goal difference at the moment with 14 games left to play in the league this season.

Liverpool will be without the injured Sadio Mane for the game with Divock Origi expected to deputise for him.

Expected Liverpool XI: Alisson Becker; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson; Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi.

I am Segun Amuda , Journalist at Thewistle.com. You can also find my articles here on topics related to Football. Outside Blogging, I have a keen interest in watching English Premier League Games. For any queries or issues related to articles on our website, kindly get in touch.

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EPL

Transfer Ratings: Paul Pogba To Real Madrid

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The long-term future of Manchester United star Paul Pogba would have been on the front burner in the British media if not for the indefinite suspension of football in the United kingdom and Europe in general. Despite the embargo on football as a result of Coronavirus, Pogba’s future at Old Trafford is still being talked about.

The future of the French international at Manchester United will be much clearer when the transfer window reopens this summer though it must be pointed out that the time for the next transfer window billed for summer could still change depending on what happens to the remainder of this season.

Paul Pogba has previously been very vocal about leaving Manchester United for the second time but didn’t get his wish of a transfer away from the club last summer. His inactivity for Manchester United this season has gone a long way to heighten rumours of a move away from Old Trafford.

The Frenchman has been plagued with an ankle injury for the majority of this season thereby forcing him to do surgery at the start of this year. Pogba played eight times this season before football was suspended last month.

Pogba was seriously touted as a possible signing for Spanish giants Real Madrid and former club Juventus shortly after he made it known to reporters that he would like to leave Manchester United while on an Adidas tour of Tokyo last summer. French giants Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and Spanish La Liga champions Barcelona are known admirers of the player.

Real Madrid and Juventus were unable to do any deal for him because of his price tag plus the unwillingness of the Red Devils to part with their best players. Manchester United’s position on Pogba leaving the club has been weakened mainly due to the brilliance of fellow midfielder Bruno Fernandes since he joined Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon in January.

Real Madrid and Juventus have a better chance of signing him due to two factors including the weakened Manchester United stance on him leaving the club plus a lower price tag compared to last summer. Real Madris remain the favourites to sign Pogba due to the serious interest in him from manager Zinedine Zidane.

Transfer rating for Paul Pogba to Real Madrid is 7/10.

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Arsenal

Transfer Ratings: Jesse Lingard To Arsenal

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Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard was delighted to take the break from football on account of the Coronavirus. He was going through his worst season after breaking into the first team at Old Trafford. The forced time off is a perfect opportunity to reflect on his performances and start a clean slate when football returns.

The United Academy graduate Lingard performed badly earlier this season until the Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was filmed hurling insults at him during a Carabao Cup clash in January.

Solskjaer blew off at Lingard during the Carabao Cup semifinal second leg clash with Manchester City after the player repeatedly lost possession to the opponents. Lingard played around an hour of the game, and Manchester United won 1-0 which was insufficient to take them to the finals, having lost the first leg at home (1-3).

Jesse Lingard changed his agent to renowned Italian SuperAgent, Mino Raiola, increasing the rumours of a possible transfer from Old Trafford. The outburst from his manager further heightened those transfer reports. His long-term future at the Theatre of Dreams is far from certain despite the break from football as he continues to be linked with other clubs.

In the past weeks, Lingard has been the subject of transfer interests with clubs like Italian Serie A giants AC Milan, and the Premier League duo of Arsenal and Leicester City.

The rumours have intensified in the past few days due to the close relationship between his agent Mino Raiola and Arsenal chief executive Raul Sanllehi. A lot of Arsenal fans will argue that Jesse Lingard is the last attacker the club needs right now with several players in that position at the moment.

Transfer Ratings for Jesse Lingard to Arsenal: 2/10

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EPL

EPL: Why Spurs Star Harry Kane Would Be A Perfect Signing For Man United

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Harry Kane

Manchester United have been linked with an ambitious swoop for Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane this summer during the past weeks of little or no football caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Red Devils are expected to spend big on players ahead of next season with the hope of making an assault on the Premier League title alongside the likes of Liverpool and noisy neighbours Manchester City. Spurs striker Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho are the two big names on the Manchester United shortlist for this summer if reports in the British tabloids are to be believed.

Manchester United have been known admirers of Harry Kane while Mauricio Pochettino was the Spurs boss and many would argue that they have an even more difficult chance of prising the player away from his North London club with Jose Mourinho as the Tottenham Hotspur manager. Mourinho was unceremoniously sacked as the Red Devils boss at the end of 2018 and the last thing he would want is to lose his star player to a direct rival.

Manchester United will also have to contend with the bargaining power of Spurs chairman Daniel Levy in the event that the player attempts to force a transfer to Old Trafford, a scenario that’s highly unlikely. Harry Kane won’t be signed on a cheap certainly and a world-record fee of over £200m would be required for his transfer if the England international star were to move from Spurs to Manchester United. Here are the reasons why the player would be a perfect fit at Old Trafford:

1. Goals – Harry Kane would be a regular source of goals if he can overcome his hamstring woes of recent seasons.

2. Longevity – The English striker is still relatively young at 25 meaning that he has at least a decade to go before hanging up his boots.

3. Premier League experience – His experience of English top flight is also a big boost for the Red Devils.

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Chelsea

EPL: Top Three Clubs For Chelsea Attacker Pedro Next Season

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Chelsea winger Pedro Rodriguez is one of three first team players with serious doubts over their respective futures in West London. French World Cup champion Olivier Giroud and Brazilian international Willian are the other two players.

Pedro, Giroud and Willian will be free agents this summer if they fail to agree contract extension at Chelsea.

Spanish international Pedro has been at Chelsea since his £21m move from La Liga outfit Barcelona five years ago. He was part of the team that won the Premier League title during the 2016/17 season under the guidance of Italian tactician Antonio Conte.

Pedro Rodriguez signed his one and only contract extension at Chelsea in 2018. He signed a new one-year deal to take his time at Stamford Bridge to the summer of 2020.

The Spanish winger has been a regular fixture in the Chelsea XI since his time at the club until this season. Blues manager Frank Lampard had Pedro Rodriguez in his team at the start of the season until he spent some weeks on the sidelines as a result of injury.

Pedro Rodriguez lost his place in the Chelsea XI upon his return from injury and he didn’t reclaim a spot in the starting XI until February. Let’s examine the potential clubs for him for next season as his Blues contract gradually comes to an end:

1. Aston Villa – Pedro was seriously linked with a January transfer to Aston Villa when he hardly played football for Chelsea. Aston Villa were unable to pull off a transfer for him.

2. Barcelona – The player has talked up the possibility of returning to the Nou Camp in his recent interviews. Pedro Rodriguez left Barcelona to join Chelsea in the summer of 2015.

3. Chelsea – Spanish international forward Pedro Rodriguez could still extend his stay at Stamford Bridge beyond this season. He has spent five years at Chelsea.

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Arsenal

EPL: Best Replacements For Outgoing Aubameyang At Arsenal

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Aubameyang

Arsenal fans worldwide are anxious over the long-term future of skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the club as he has 12 months to run on his Gunners contract at the moment. Their fears over the future of the Gabonese international was not helped by the son of club owner Stan Kroenke.

According to Josh Kroenke, Arsenal are planning to sell some of their big names this summer and that the club will benefit from the sale of these players on the long run. Josh Kroenke has further cast doubts over  the future of Aubameyang who’s attracting serious interest from other clubs.

Apart from being the club skipper, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also one of the top performers in the team on a weekly basis and it would be difficult to sign an efficient replacement for him.

Aubameyang won the Premier League Golden Boot last season alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, both from Liverpool after the three players scored 22 goals at the end of the 38-game season. In total, the Arsenal captain scored 31 goals in all competitions.

In the current season, Aubameyang has maintained his status as the go-to man for goals at Arsenal after netting 20 goals in all competitions before the season ended prematurely because of Coronavirus. 17 of those 20 goals came in the Premier League.

Arsenal are already searching for a replacement in the event that Aubameyang leaves the North London outfit this summer. Here are the best options available:

1. Edinson Cavani – PSG hitman Edinson Cavani would be a free agent in the coming weeks and he could be a cheaper alternative for Arsenal in the quest to replace Aubameyang. Arsenal will have to pay a lot of money in weekly wages to make the transfer possible.

2. Jonathan David – Canadian international Jonathan David has been scouted by Arsenal on several occasions this season. He has scored 23 goals for Belgian club Gent this season.

3. Odsonne Edouard – French attacker Odsonne Edouard is another option for Arsenal in their quest to find a replacement for the aforementioned Aubameyang. Edouard has been in red-hot form for Celtic this season and he has proven that he has the required quality to make the step up to the Premier League.

 

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EPL: Best Three Clubs For Liverpool Playmaker Who Out Of Contract This Summer

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Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is closing in on an exit from the club this summer with the outgoing European champions not expected to offer the England international a new deal.

His contract at Liverpool will expire this summer thus bringing an end to his five-year stay at Anfield. His time at Liverpool has been successful but he has been greatly limited due to his several injury problems.

Despite his injury problems at Liverpool over the past few years, Adam Lallana is still a quality player as witnessed in bits and pieces over the course of the present season suspended because of the viral disease known as Coronavirus.

The £25m signing from fellow Premier League club Southampton in 2015 was part of the Reds squad that ended the club’s lengthy trophy drought with the Champions League triumph last season. Liverpool had gone seven years without a single trophy until last season when Lallana and Liverpool beat fellow Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the Champions League final.

His greatest contribution at Liverpool this season was when he came off the bench to score the late equaliser for his team in a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in October 2019. Lallana was able to preserve the Reds’ unbeaten run until the start of last month when a 3-0 loss at Watford ended that run.

Adam Lallana would be a sought after free agent this summer when he leaves Liverpool and several English clubs like Leicester City, Arsenal and Southampton have been linked with a move for him. Here are the top three clubs for the English playmaker:

1. Leicester City – Adam Lallana could be the direct replacement for James Maddison at Leicester City. Maddison is a big target for Manchester United.

2. Southampton – A sensational return to former club Southampton could be on the cards this summer. The ex-Saints skipper left the club in a controversial manner for Liverpool in 2015

3. Arsenal – The Gunners are also in the running to sign him as a free agent.

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EPL: Is It Time To Sell This Man United Defender?

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Phil Jones

Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was widely applauded after he played a prominent role to help the club fend off Arsenal in the race to sign English defender Phil Jones from Blackburn Rovers in 2011. Manchester United had to part ways with £16m to sign the then young prospect ahead of rivals Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger.

It is safe to say that Phil Jones has not matched the same tenacity shown by the Red Devils off the pitch with his performances on the pitch. Phil Jones was expected to be a part of a formidable centre back partnership with Chris Smalling for both club (Manchester United) and country (England) for many years to come but that has not happened with the two players facing respective bleak futures at Old Trafford.

Chris Smalling was a £10m signing from Fulham in 2010 and he had to leave Manchester United for Italian side AS Roma on loan at the start of the season to accommodate the signing of Harry Maguire in the Red Devils defence. Smalling is on course to make his loan move to Italy permanent with Roma keen to sign him on a long-term deal after his impressive loan spell at the club.

Phil Jones would be best advised to follow in the footsteps of former club and national team colleague Chris Smalling as he tries to revive his career which has stagnated at Manchester United. The 28-year-old has been linked with a lot of English clubs over  the last two transfer windows and this summer could be the perfect time for him to finally leave the Red Devils.

Southampton and Leicester City are some of the Premier League teams previously touted as a possible destination for Phil Jones who has 27 caps for England. He has scored two goals in 256 league games at Manchester United.

For now, he’s behind Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe in the centre back pecking order at his club and more central defenders might be signed in the summer.

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Chelsea

EPL: Does Giroud Deserves A New Chelsea Contract?

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The suspension of Premier League due to the Coronavirus menace came at a wrong time for some clubs including West London giants Chelsea and their ageing striker Olivier Giroud.

Giroud and Chelsea were getting their groove back before the Coronavirus pandemic forced matches to be suspended until further notice.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard didn’t fancy French international Giroud as his main striker until February when results had completely taken a turn for the worse, especially in the Premier League. Blues boss Lampard started with Tammy Abraham as his first-choice striker, while Michy Batshuayi was his understudy leaving Olivier Giroud to be the third choice striker despite being the most experienced of the three players.

Giroud became the third choice striker under Frank Lampard and that restricted him to few leagues starts before February 2020 when he became the first choice partly because of the injury to Tammy Abraham as well as the inability of the aforementioned Batshuayi to fill the vacant striker void.

Olivier Giroud is a World Cup winner having led the line for France at the last edition of the tournament in Russia some two years ago and all of his experience came to the fore for the Blues as he was a major catalyst as Chelsea improved their league results which had been very poor either side of the winter.

Lampard introduced Giroud back into the Chelsea starting XI during the home London Derby clash with Tottenham Hotspur and that decision led to 7 points from three Premier League clashes until the league was suspended. Giroud scored twice and also provided three assists in those three league games as he helped Chelsea maintain their place in the top four.

Giroud will be a free agent in the next few months but he would be hoping that he has done enough to get a new contract at Stamford Bridge despite coming close to leaving the club to Inter Milan FC of Italy in January. The picture will definitely be clearer in the coming weeks.

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