It’s been a tricky year already for some in the Premier League.Defending champions Leicester City are falling further towards the drop zone,Southampton are dropping down the table, and top four contenders Liverpool are without a win.All the while thelikes of Swansea City and Hull City have been going from strength to strength.So talkSPORT decided to look at who, currently, are the calendar year kings.Scroll through the gallery above to take a look at thePremier League table based on results in 2017 alone.Stand other Premier League sides want to sign Butland, but have been put off by Stoke’s valuation, accordanchester City must beat the best to be the best. The Sky Blues drew Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16 on Monday.Speaking at the draw, Begiristain said City must overcome the continent’s best clubs to be crowned champions for the first timeing to the Birmingham Mail.The Potters want more than £20 million for the 25-year-old, which no one is willing to pay.Stoke boss Nathan Jones confirmings correct up to and including 7 February, 2017.
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has urged referees to protect Jamie Vardy as he is now a marked man.The England forward will lead the line for the defending Premier League champions when they start at Hull on Saturday after rejecting a move to Arsenal and signing a new Foxes deal in the summer.Vardy scored 24 goals last season as Leicester won a shock title by 10 points after being 5,000-1 to win the league at the start.It sparked interest from Arsenal after they triggered his release fee clause but Vardy turned down a switch to the Emirates Stadium in June and penned a fresh contract until 2020.Ranieri believes he will be targeted following his outstanding season, which also saw him win the Football Writers’ Player of the Year award, and wants officials to watch out for Vardy.“I hope the referees are very attentive and if there is something wrong they give penalties or free-kicks,” he said.“But he must stay calm because of course now everybody United to drop their price for Romelu Lukaku.The Mirror says the Belgian’s hopes of linking up with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte at Inter Milan hinge on United taking a big financial hit on the striker.The Reds want Inter to match the £75m, pl wants to stop him.“It is difficult to stop Jamie when he is in good shape or condition, but of course there are opponents and there will be tough matches.“We also want to be ready with plan B if Jamie can’t score. Last season Jamie didn’t score for around two months but he made a lot of passes and Riyad (Mahrez) scored.“It’s not important for me who scores, whether it’s Jamie or (Kasper) Schmeichel.”Record signing Ahmed Musa could be partnered with Vardy after joining from CSKA Moscow for £16million but Ranieri insisted the Nigeria international was not bought to replace Vardy.“It’s not to challenge him. It’s important to have another player who can play in a similar orino.Coady has played every minute of Wolves’ season so far.After their Europa League win over Torino, Nuno enthused: “The boys have been amazing. Coady played all the minutes, Boly played all the minutes, it’s fantastic. You see on the pitch, theway to Jamie,” he said. “Also Musa can play in a wide position, behind Jamie or alongside Jamie.“It’s important to have a good choice for me so I can choose the first XI line-up and also during the match I can read the match and maybe say ‘I need this kind of player or another’.“My players must be ready to do what I expect.”
New Swansea boss Bob Bradley has revealed his admiration for Arsene Wenger, but wantshis players to be confident when they visit the Emiratesthis Saturday to continue their unbeaten streak.The Swanshave not tasted defeatin any oftheir last four tripsto the north London side, with their most recent visit back in Marchresulting in a 2-1 victory .Newly-appointed managerBradley hopes to continue this fine run of form when he makes his Premier League debut, with much of the same squad still at his disposal.“I’m very aware of the record and the part I love about it is that we can go there with confidence,” Bradley said.“We have guys who have won there before, and they can set a good example.“But to win there you have to play well, all the details need to be right and you’ve got to have confidence when you have the ball.”The former United States boss guided his country into the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup and also ended Spain’s unbeaten 35-game streak on the way tofinishing runners-up at the 2009 Confederations Cup.Yet the 58-year-old believes that pitting his wits against Arsene Wenger will be one of his greatest achievements in football.Bradley said: “This is up there for me. I don’t usually look back on those things and I’ve had the chance to coach against some pretty big names – (Fabio) Capello, (Vicente) del Bosque – but Arsene is right up there with the top managers.“To be at a club for 20 years where the football is such a reflection of the man is a fantastic thing.“Pep Guardiola was speaking about Johan Cruyff last week and his influence about being more than trophies, and if you look at what has happened over 20 years at Arsenal it’s the efender Sam Sherring out on loan to south coast neighbours Weymouth.Sherring was on loan at the National League South club last season, making 38 appearances and has re-joined until theefs to stand by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.The Times says United’s senior stars told the club’s board that Solskjaer is the man to bring success back to Old Trafford before their win over Tottenham. Established members of their squad have pleaded w end of this campaign.He was immediately drafted into the startinsame kind of influence.”
Tottenham bounced back from their Champions League defeat to beat Sunderland 1-0 at White Hart Lane.Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs, who lost to Monaco at Wembley in midweek, returned to their home ground to record back-to-back victories in the Premier League.Harry Kane – who has received flak after a slow start to the season – added to his goal against Stoke last week with a strike against David Moyes’ Black Cats.The England striker hammered home from close range to send the north Londoners to third in the table, while the Wearsiders are second-bottom as their search for a league win goes on.There were some worried faces as Kane was stretchered off with a problem beforeAdnan Januzaj was showed a second yellow card in the closing stages of the game after a mistimed challenge on Ben Davies.The Black Cats were reduced to 10 men late on when Adnan Januzaj was shown a second yellow card but the sending off barely affected the contest, which Spurs dominated from start to finish.The home side’s afternoon, however, was marred by injury concerns with Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier both taken off in the second half, wants to win a trophy at Manchester United next season.The second choice goalkeeper, who may be in line for a promotion if David De Gea leaves this summer, was disappointed to end another season with no silverware.United have not won a trophy in thebefore Kane was also forced to depart.Tottenham managed 19 attempts at goal in the first period to their opponents’ three and for the first 25 minutes in particular, Sunderland’s contribution was solely in blocking, deflecting and finally hoping that their goalkeeper Jordan Pickford would keep tandr Sobolev is attracting Premier League interest.Sobolev is being linked with CSKA Moscow, however Sport-Express says an unnamed Premier League club is threatening to rumble their plans.The young forward is expected to be sold by Kryliy Sovetov thihe hosts at bay.He succeeded too, twice denying Kane from point-blank range and then holding long-range efforts from Dembele and Moussa Sissoko.Sissoko, booed by the visiting supporters for his past allegiances with Newcastle, was bright on his full debut and along with Son Heung-min, the pair caused Sunderland problems with their pace and direct running.Son went closest with a fizzing shot that struck the outside of the post and soon after applied the first of three quick-fire Spurs efforts, his blocked by Kane, Sissoko’s volley by Lee Cattermole before Victor Wanyama dragged the last effort wide.Amidst their frantic but committed defending, Sunderland arguably enjoyed the best two chances of the half.Jermain Defoe latched on to Pickford’s punt down field but was unable to steer past Hugo Lloris, and on the stroke of half-time Steven Pienaar had the goal at his mercy six yards out, but somehow picked out Kyle Walker on the line.Son continued to terrorise his opposite number Jason Denayer after the interval, unleashing into the side-netting and flashing a ball across goal, but when the goal came, it was fellow Sunderland defender Papy Djilobodji who was culpable.Dele Alli nodded down Walker’s cross and Djilobodji should have made a routine clearance but instead sliced it into the path of Kane, who was perfectly placed to stab home.Erik Lamela, on for the hobbling Dembele in the latter stages, had two chances to put Tottenham out of sight and Son looked to have a strong case for a penalty when he was scythed down by Djilobodji late on.Kane’s afternoon took a turn for the worse when he appeared to injure his ankle while lunging for a tackle and the striker left the field on a stretcher, replaced by summer signing Vincent Janssen.Januzaj picked up his second yellow card in the 89th minute for a late challenge on Ben Davies and that was the final nail in the coffin for Sunderland, as Spurs held on for a narrow victory.
Bournemouth defender Steve Cook has criticised Tottenham fans for cheering when on-loan Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere fell down injured on Saturday.The Cherries were thrashed 4-0 at White Hart Lane and their torrid afternoon was made even worse when Wilshere hobbled off with what looked like an ankle injury in the second half.Tottenham supporters delighted in Wilshere’s misfortune, celebrating as the midfielder slumped to the ground and then again as he limped dohe midfielder is the most fouled player in the Premier League this season. Grealish is fouled an average of 4.6 times a game, ahead of Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.”I think he gets targeted, there were five or six fouls against him at Chelsea. It swn the tunnel in the 55th minute.Wilshere was later seen leaving the stadium on crutches and wearing a protective boot on his left foot.Animosity between Wilshere and Spurs fans grew after the 25-year-old sang anti-Tottenham songs from an open-top bus following Arsenal’s FA Cup victory in 2014.Cook, however, believes the reaction to his team-mate suffering an injury was too much.“Obviously there’s no love lost between Arsenal and Tottenham fans and especially Jack and the Tottenham fans,” Cook said.“But it’s not nice. He’s a professional and I know a lot has been said in the past and a lot has happened but no-one likes to see a reaction like that to a player getting injured.“That’s the game I suppose but for me it was disappointing.”Wilshere has made 27 appearances for Bournemouth since moving to the club on loan last August and he will now undergo tests to diagnose the extent of his injury.“It didn’t look good,” Cook said. “We hope it’s good news. I’m sure we’ll find out in the next couple of days.“It’s very disappointing for him especially in this game to come off injured so hopefuliamson has turned down an offer from Manchester United.The Daily Mail says Williamson, who was linked with United, is understood to have decided to remain at Parkhead after having a change of heart.It emerged in early October last year that the Old Tly it’s fine.”
Arsenal and Manchester United target Kylian Mbappe is keeping calm about his future.The Monason Holgate at Everton.Calvert-Lewin and Holgate’s Goodison Park careers have plotted similar paths, both intermittently dipped in the team over their opening seasons but established this term as integral cogs in Ancelotti’s side.The pair have been aco striker has taken French football by storm this season and he has been labelled as the new Thierry Henry.Arsenal and Manchester United have, as a result, been linked with summer moves for the 18-year-old – who has just been called up to the France squad for the first time.Howeielder Marouane Fellaini says his old team needs experienced players.Fellaini left United in January for Shandong Luneng.The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer regime seems committed to regenerating their squad with a younger profile of player.But Fellaini told thver, Mbappe is keeping his feet on the ground and refusing to be distracted by claims he is off to the Premier League.“Sorry, but I do not look at what the English press say,” Mbappe is quoted as saying by RMC.“I remain very calm around this attention I get. I get up in the morning and I go to practice like everyone else.“I try to work to improve myself every day and I try to do on the pitch what I do during the training sessions.”
What another exciting weekend in the Premier League.Saturday’s ah Richards has defended his old club in the wake of their two season Champions League ban.City have expressed their intention to appeal UEFA’s ruling, with the case being taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport with club chiefs hoping to have thection saw 29 goals scored in six games, with every home team netting at least three times.Those games included Lele are in talks to sign Jefferson Savarino, according to Sky Sports.The Real Salt Lake star is currently being watched by both clubs while he plays at Copa America for Venezuela.A 22-year-old playmaker, Savarino is apparently available for £6m.Toon icester City’s shock 4-2 win over Manchester City – LIVE on talkSPORT – a 3-3 draw between Hull City and Crystal Palace, while strugglers Swansea beat Sunderland 3-0, much to the relief of under-pressure manager Bob Bradley.Arsenal temporarily took top spot with a 3-1 victory over Stoke City, but Chelsea took their place back at the summit when they edged past West Brom at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.Manchester United ended their winless run at Old Trafford when Tottenham were the visitors, while Slaven Bilic’s struggling West Ham left Anfield with a point after drawing 2-2 with Liverpool.We saw one player score a hat-trick, two summer signings open their Premier League accounts and much more – but who makes our team of the week?
Slaven Bilic has expressed frustration over the performance of his West Ham players, describing their die’s feeling strong after playing his tal Sociedad midfielder Martin Odegaard admits he still sees his future with parent club Real Madrid.Odegaard is on a season-long loan at La Real and is already impressing.He told AS: “If I think of imposing myself on Real? Of course, but that’s the fhird consecutive preseason match.The 26-year-old has been injured intermittently over the past two seasons.Speaking after Tuesday’s loss to Barnet, Wickham told Palace TV: “I feel better than I did last year for splay as ‘unacceptable’, after the Premier League’s high-flyers were beaten 2-0 by Watford at Vicarage Road.The Hammers, who were in third place prior to kick offfollowing last week’s win over Chelsea, had beaten Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City on the road this season.But the Hornets proved too hot to handle, with a double fromin-form striker Odion Ighalo putting an end tothe the Irons’unbeaten away record.Bilic said: “It was a collective bad day. I told the players it was unacceptable and to make sure it was a one-off.“You are going to lose games in this league but we weren’t good today, apart from in the first 10 minutes.“We gave them the win. Watford were full of respect for us – but when they smelt that we weren’t penetrating enough, and that our movement and passes were slow and backwards, they smelt the opportunity to go at us.“We learned a lesson, and I see no reason why we won’t come back and play like we did before.”
West Brom have joined Tottenham in the race for River Plate hotshot Lucas Alario, according to reports in his native Argentina.The 24-year-old has scored 12 goals in 21 league games so far this term and is attracting interest from across Europe.Paris Saint-Germain and Lazio are keeping tabs on his progress while Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is said to hold a long-standing interest in his compatriot.But now, according to Argentine newspaper Ole, it is West Brom who have edged ahead of the chasing pack.River Plate are in no hurry to captain Klopp to move for Arsenal attacker Bukayo Saka.He wrote in his HorseRacing.net column: “He looks like a really good player, but he’s incredibly young.“If there are contract issues and he ever becomes available on a free transfer then that’s a noAntonio Valencia won’t hear criticism of Paul Pogba.Now home in Ecuador with LDU Quito, Valencia says Pogba was always destined to be a star.He told Mundo Deportivo: “Pogba is a star. I’ve known him since he was 14 years old. “If I know what sell the talented 24-year-old but, with his release clause set at a reasonably affordable £15.5m, the decision may be out of their hands.West Brom struggled for goals all season with none of their players managing double figures in the Premier League so fresh attacking talent is said to be high on their shopping list.
Arsenal and Liverpool are set to miss out on Real Betis starlet Dani Ceballos, claim reports in Spain.The 19-year-old is expected to sign a new contract with the La Liga club in the coming days after playing a significant role in helping Pepe Mel’s side to the Segunda Division title last term.According to AS, Arsenal and Liverpool were keen on getting the midfielder on the cheap but a move to England in January now appears unlikely.A buyout clause of around £11m is expected to be included in Ceballos’ new deal and he is also expected to receive a hefty pay rise.Cebd’ of Chelsea’s fans during his time in London.Morata left Chelsea last year for Atletico Madrid, with Bulka following him in the summer for Paris. The young Pole told Foot Truck: “He had a bad time at Chelsea. The hatred of the fans affected him andallos has featured in six games this season fo attack.Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez are shining, while Sebastiano Esposito is also pushing for more action.Conte said, “Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku aren’t the same strikers who started the season. They are both atypical modern strikerr Real Betis, registering one assist.
Pep Guardiola praised the performance of his Manchester City players after they clinched qualification for the Champions League last 16 with a game to spare.David Silva scored the decisive goal as City came from behind to ensure second place in Group C with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach.Guardiola was also pleased that he could now turn his full attention to his side’s Premier League challenge.The City manager said: “We have qualified with one game left and it’s a big compliment for the team, for the whole stage. In general we made a good performance.“We have qualification in the pocket until February, so now we can focus finally on one competition, the Premier League, and we can be so satisfied.”City failed to replicate the intensity of their victory over Barcelona earlier this month and were made to fight a United legend Roy Keane says Odion Ighalo has made a difference to Anthony Martial.Keane believes Ighalo has given the whole team a boost as well as providing a goal threat, raising the work rate of Frenchman Martial – who scored the opener in Unitefter Raffael hit a superb opener for the German side midway through the first half.Silva levelled just before the interval but the second half proved a disjointed affair after Lars Stindl for the hosts and Fernandinho for City were both sent off for second bookable offences.City ended up playing out time but with Barcelona beating Celtic in Glasgow, it was all that was necessary to seal second spot while Monchengladbach accepted the consolation prize of the Europa League.Guardiola said: “After Borussia’s goal we lost control of the game. It was not in our hands and it changed a little bit.“But we scored a goal and we were so happy. In the second half the football was so much better but the decision to send off Fernandinho changed the situation. The reter his performance against Nottingham Forest.The youngster was one of several fringe players who got a chance in the Carabao Cup game, which Arsenal won 5-0.And Martinelli was singled out for praise by Emery in his post-match comments to the club’s sult was good for both teams.”City, who reached the semi-finals of the competition last season, are now through to the knockout phase for the fourth successive year.Guardiola feels their Champions League education is continuing.He said: “These players and this club are so new in Europe and every time we play a game like this we improve.“We have to go to Europe and play in the same way. In some minutes we believed it, in others we didn’t, but we are there and that is why we are so happy tonight.”
Jurgen Klopp as officially arrived at Liverpool and the internet has subsequently belve over Raheem Sterling.Sky Sports says Real plan to offer £70m plus wantaway winger Gareth Bale in exchange for the England international. Bale has sought an exit from the club but it remains unclear if City boss Pep Guardiola would be interested en sent into overdrive.The German coach succeeded Brendan Rodgers as the next Reds manager after the His popularity in Englandwas rie signing of Barcelona SC striker Leo Campana.Efe says personal terms have already been agreed and he will leave an Ecuador Olympics training camp for London in order to sign forms.Campana is regarded among the brightest attacking talents in South Amch before his arrival on British soil, but his stock only appears to be heading in one direction after a proficient seven yearsat Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.Since Liverpool confirmed the capture of Klopp, various Reds legends, coupled with famous faces from the world of sport, have taken to Twitter to praise the acquisition – andsome of the best below:
Hull were gifted an injury-time winner as the Tigers ran out 2-1 victors over struggling Queens ParkRangers at Loftus Road.The home side, still without injured top scorer Charlie Austin and still without a win under manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, seemed to have rescued a point when Sebastian Polter headed in an 86th-minute equaliser to cancel out Abel Hernandez’s second-half opener.However, a mix-up between Rangers defender Grant Hall and goalkeeper Rob Green helnal legend Nigel Winterburn has revealed how close he came to joining Chelsea. Right-back Winterburn is one of the club’s most storied players, having made over 400 appearances in the red and white, winning three league titles and two FA Cups.But he ped prove the difference, as the pair collided in attempting to clear Sam Clucas’ cross and the ball rebounded off substitute Adama Diomande and into the net.Beaten Rangers find themselves 15th in the Championship table, six matches into Hasselbaink’s reign, while Hull moved into third place after Brighton were beaten by Wolves earlier on Friday evening.In a game low on quality, Polter had a decent chance and Alejandro Faurlin went close for them during a turgid first half.After Hull’s Jake Livermore had given the ball away, striker Polter hesitated and his shot was blocked by Harry Maguire.Polter was given a starting place by Hasselbaink along with Tjaronn Chery, who sent an early effort over the bar.Alejandro Faurlin had a firm strike tipped over by Allan McGregor, and at the other end Mo Diame and Ahmed Elmohamady steered shots wide of the target.QPR struggled to create chances but did go close to taking the lead three minutes before half-time, when Chery’s corner was nudged over the bar by Faurlin from close range.Rangers, whose reliance on Austin was underlined once again, were just as uninspiring after the interval and Hernandez put Hull ahead with a sublime finish on 61 minutes.Diame found space on the left and picked out the Uruguayan striker, who steered a calm first-time shot beyond Green for his 10th league goal of the season.The best Rangers could muster was Paul Konchesky’s left-footed shot into the side-netting, before the 78th-minute introduction of Jlores only has positive things to say about his opposite number at Tottenham.With the two sides set to face off in the Premier League, Sanchez Flores admitted his admiration for Mauricio Pochettino.While the latter is under pressure at Spurs this seaamie Mackie at least raised the home fans’ spirits.Mackie, back in action after more than three months out with a hamstring injury, gave them some much needed impetus up front.German striker Polter had struggled to make an impact up front before netting his second goal in as many matches to haul the hosts level.Matt Phillips delivered a perfect cross from the left and McGregor got a hand to Polter’s header but could not keep it out of the net.The game looked to be heading towards a draw beforeClucas’ cross from the left wing caused trouble for the QPR defence, with Diomande the happy recipient of an unexpected rebound.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has insisted captain John Terry remains a vital part of the club.Terry was this week the subject of interest from Bournemouth, with a potential loan move to the Vitality Stadium in the offing.But , saying at a press conference: “There have been no negotiations with Chelsea at all. No discussions, no meeting. Nothing.”And Conte has now insisted he is keen to keep the long-serving centre-back.“He [Terry]is an important player for the team,” the Italian manager said.“He is a great player and man. It is fantastic to have a person like him to help me in my first season. He is in my squad, he deserves to fter last season’s disappointment.The Reds finished second behind ManchesFrenchman was back in the Chelsea starting line-up for the win over Crystal Palace at the weekend and played 90 minutes. Prior to then it has been a stop-start time since the end of last season.”It made me happy because it took a lot of work to get bter City with a club-record 97 points.And Heskey thinks the experience will serve Liverpool down the home stretch this season.”Man City will keep the pressure on Liverpool all splay.“John is an important player – whether he plays or doesn’t play, he is important in the changing room.”
All the top transfer-related stories in Tuesday’s newspapers…Everton are planning a move for out of favour West Brom forward Saido Berahino. The Toffees are facing competition from European clubs Roma, Inter Milan and Nice, who are planning to open contract negotiations with the 23-year-old next month. They are hoping to agree a free transfer for the summer, but Ronald Koeman wants to add Berahino to his squad in January. ()Manchester United are set to reject a loan offer from Sevilla for French attacker Anthony Martial. He wants to play more first-team football for the remainder of the season, but Jose Mourinho does not want to lose a player he considers key to his squad. West Ham have also been linked with a loan swoop for the 21-year-old. ()Everton have won the race to sign highly-rated Charlton teenager Ademola Lookman, wrapping up a deal worth £10 million for the 19-year-old forward player. ()Chelsea have ramped up their interest in Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez, and could offer goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to the Spanish giants as part of a deal. Zinedine Zidane is known to be a fan of the Belgian, and agents have reportedly already met with him regarding a switch to the Bernabeu. ()Liverpool veteran Lucas Leiva is set to sign for Inter Milan on a loan deal in the January transfer window. The Reds have sanctioned his exit, but the Italian giants may also look at Chelsea’s out-of-favour midfield John Obi Mikel. ()Steven N’Zonzi is wanted by both Chelsea and Manchester City next month. But both teams will have to match the forester City at Meadow Park on Friday to send the Gunners into the s called time on his career.The former Bayern Munich and Manchester United star, who currently plays for the Chicago Fire in MLS, is calling time on his playing days.He announced on Instagram that he will retire at the end of the season.Schweinsteigequarter-final of the PL International Cup.With Tribalfootball in attendance, Balogun played a central role in winning Arsenal a first half penalty, before making it 2-0 with a stunning mer Stoke midfielder’s release clause of £25.5 million should they wish to bring him back to England. ()