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Alan 12:54 Sun Dec 15
Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Red Bull Salzburg's 19-year-old Norway striker Erling Haaland has made it clear to compatriot Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Manchester United are his first choice should he move in January. (Star on Sunday)

Barcelona are waiting in the wings if Pep Guardiola decides to leave Premier League champions Manchester City at the end of the season. (Sunday Express)

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is among the favourites to replace Guardiola if the Spaniard does leave Etihad Stadium. (Sun on Sunday)

Potential suitors for the vacant manager's job at Arsenal are being put off by the club's previous failures in the transfer market. (Express)

Manchester City are prepared to rival Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea to re-sign £90m-rated England winger Jadon Sancho, 19. (Sun on Sunday)

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is still set for the sack despite Saturday's win at Southampton, with former boss David Moyes a candidate to replace him. (Star on Sunday)

Chelsea have set a price tag of 30m euros (£25m) for Spain full-back Marcos Alonso, 28. (Calciomercato)

Manchester United are considering a move for Napoli's Belgium forward Dries Mertens, 32. (Tuttomercato)

The Old Trafford side are also weighing up a £120m deal for two Argentina internationals - Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, 22, and Paris St-Germain midfielder Leandro Paredes, 25. (Mirror)

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, 28, wants to leave the west London club but will ignore the wishes of France team-mate Ousmane Dembele, 22, and seek a move to Juventus or Real Madrid rather than Barcelona. (Eldesmarque)

Former Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard, 28, has promised to return to Stamford Bridge once his spell at Real Madrid ends. (Sun on Sunday)

Genk's Norway midfielder Sander Berge, 21, has insisted his head is in the right place, despite the consistent rumours surrounding a move to Liverpool. (Sport Witness)

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho says he will not disclose details of conversations with Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen about the 27-year-old's future. (Sunday Mirror)

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has vowed to respect Paris St-Germain's relationship with Kylian Mbappe, 20, amid rumours the France striker is not happy at the club. (Goal.com)

Leicester's Belgium midfielder Youri Tielemans, 22, has revealed he had intended to return to Monaco in the summer before the Foxes convinced him otherwise. (Sport Witness)

Jose Mourinho insists it will not be up to him if Luis Campos, who worked with him at Real Madrid and is currently at Lille, arrives at Tottenham as director of football. (Football.London)

Manchester City's Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus, 22, says assistant boss Mikel Arteta, linked with the vacancies at Arsenal and Everton, is already a "fantastic" manager. (Manchester Evening News)

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu will send a formal complaint to the Spanish Football Federation about the use of VAR after his team were denied a penalty in the 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad on Saturday. (Sport)

Premier League clubs could continue signing the best teenage players in Europe after Britain's departure from the European Union is confirmed. (Sunday Telegraph)

‪Brighton's Jose Izquierdo, 27, has been recovering from a knee injury in his homeland and his agent has revealed hopes the Colombia winger will be back playing in January or February. (Argus)

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce insists he has not written off South Korea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, 30, and does not think it is a bad thing that so many players are entering the final months of their contracts with the Magpies. (Newcastle Chronicle)

Leeds will not "gamble" on January signings because continuity remains the key priority at Elland Road, according to managing director Angus Kinnear. (Yorkshire Post)


Sébastien Haller fires West Ham to crucial victory over Southampton

Ben Fisher at St Mary’s Stadium

Whether this precious victory is sufficient for Manuel Pellegrini to hold on to his job remains to be seen but West Ham held their nerve to record a second win since September. Sébastien Haller scored his first goal since October to hoist West Ham up to 15th, six points below fifth-placed Sheffield United. West Ham, who have been sounding out potential candidates to replace Pellegrini, could still dispense with the Chilean before Christmas.

That would seem cruel given the way West Ham performed here, dominating until a wobble late on when they survived a Southampton onslaught to seal victory. Asked whether he expected to be in charge against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, Pellegrini was diplomatic. “You never know, you never know,” he said. “I don’t think that your job depends on whether you win or you lose, I think it depends on the trust of the owners of the club and I’m absolutely sure that they trust in what we do, but I cannot answer that question.”

After Haller scored he ran to celebrate with the substitute Issa Diop while his manager punched the air. “I don’t know exactly if the word is relief,” Pellegrini said. “I’m always talking with the players that we must play the same way we work every day of the week, we must try to be a solid team and score goals and I think we are able to do it better. We lost three important games at home, games which maybe are the difference between a very good season and a bad season that we are doing.”

Festive cheer has been in short supply at West Ham but this victory may bring Pellegrini a slice of respite. Pellegrini had pointed to his team’s performance in victory at Chelsea a fortnight ago as evidence that his players retain faith in his methods and it was difficult to argue against that defence after an encouraging display here. Michael Antonio, who spent a season on loan at Southampton a decade ago, was outstanding up front alongside Haller, who returned to the starting lineup in place of Felipe Anderson, who was absent through illness. Haller would have doubled his and West Ham’s advantage in the second half but for a fine stop by Alex McCarthy and Antonio, who bullied Southampton’s backline throughout, had a goal ruled out by the video assistant referee, Jon Moss, after replays showed the forward handled in the buildup.

Jan Bednarek and Jack Stephens never got to grips with Antonio. He displayed the kind of hunger that was lacking in Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side and, when Haller struck, it was no surprise that his partner proved the catalyst. Antonio burst beyond Bednarek before laying the ball off for Robert Snodgrass, whose sweeping first-time cross found Pablo Fornals at the back post. Fornals cushioned a header into the path of Haller, whose scruffy volley bounced in off McCarthy’s left post. “I think playing with Antonio works better for him, Antonio had a lot of pace and created space and movement,” Pellegrini said.

Southampton head to Aston Villa, who are above them on goal difference, next weekend before visiting Chelsea five days later. The only notable downside for West Ham was the injury to David Martin late on. Pellegrini said his reserve goalkeeper sustained an almost identical hip-muscle injury to the one that has sidelined the No 1, Lukasz Fabianski, since the end of September. “Exactly the same [but] I hope not so big,” said Pellegrini, who confirmed doctors would assess the severity of the injury on Sunday.

Southampton were painfully slow out of the blocks and ultimately punished for a slovenly performance. Shane Long was guilty of squandering the best opening, failing to tuck home the rebound from an acute angle after Danny Ings rattled the crossbar. Moments later Ings curled a beautiful shot into the corner but the referee, Martin Atkinson, had blown his whistle for a generous foul on the substitute Andriy Yarmolenko.

Jack Stephens, who had roamed forward from defence, equally passed up a golden opportunity after the captain Pierre-Emile Højbjerg cut the ball back inside the box. West Ham’s defending became more fraught as the game drew to a frenetic climaxbut they clung on to leave Southampton bruised.

“It was a tough game. We were fighting, investing a lot but in the end we were not able to take something,” Hasenhüttl said. “We know that the relegation goes until May and, like last season, it’s about battling for staying in. Everybody knows that. We know what it’s about to stay in the league and we know that it’s a tough fight until the end and we will take this fight.”


SOUTHAMPTON (4-4-2): McCarthy 6; Soares 6 (Adams 87), Stephens 5.5, Bednarek 5.5, Bertrand 5; Djenepo 5.5, Ward-Prowse 6, Hojbjerg 6, Redmond 4.5 (Romeu 45, 6); Long 5 (Armstrong 84), Ings 5

Subs not used: Gunn, Yoshida, Vestergaard, Obafemi

Booked: Hojbjerg

Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl 5

WEST HAM (4-4-2): Martin 6.5; Fredericks 6.5, Balbuena 6.5, Ogbonna 6.5, Cresswell 7; Snodgrass 7 (Yarmolenko 73, 6), Noble 7 (Diop 88), Rice 7, Fornals 7.5; Antonio 8.5, Haller 8 (Sanchez 79)

Subs not used: Roberto, Zabaleta, Masuaku, Ajeti

Goalscorers: Haller (37)

Booked: Snodgrass, Fredericks, Martin

Manager: Manuel Pellegrini 7

Referee: Martin Atkinson 6

Man of the Match: Michail Antonio


West Ham hold on to beat Southampton to ease pressure on Manuel Pellegrini

Tom Prentki, at St Mary's

Manuel Pellegrini congratulated each of his players as they left the pitch before glancing up to the directors’ box and following them down the tunnel.

Such has been the speculation surrounding the Chilean’s supposedly imminent sacking that even this crucial victory at lowly Southampton is unlikely to see the rumours fade away.

“You never know,” said Pellegrini when asked whether he thought his job was safe. “It depends on the trust of the owners of the club. It’s a question which I always answer in the same way. We have to try to win the next game, we have to play better and win or lose, you have to analyse what you do.”

West Ham face a 12 day break before they next play at Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, but Pellegrini may at least be able to enjoy some of the festivities after his side deservedly left the South Coast with three points.

Before this, seven defeats in nine games had seen West Ham plummet and the withdrawal of the influential Felipe Anderson on Friday due to illness only added to Pellegrini’s problems. Though they only had Sebastien Haller’s first half strike to show for it, this was an impressive and largely dominant performance from the Londoners who caused Southampton problems all evening.

“I’m happy with the performance because I thought that was similar to what we had against Chelsea and from the first minute of the game we tried to win, always going for the second goal.”

West Ham had the ball in the net in the second minute as Declan Rice headed in Robert Snodgrass’s free-kick, but the England midfielder had strayed a few centimetres offside. It was all West Ham and they went close again when Michail Antonio crossed low for Pablo Fornals and Cedric did well to deflect his shot just wide.

The St Mary’s atmosphere was fairly flat with the home support being given little to cheer. The Saints survived a VAR penalty appeal when Jan Bednarek tangled with Antonio and Martin Atkinson’s initial decision not to give a foul was upheld. But an away goal seemed inevitable and West Ham deservedly took the lead when Antonio broke free down the right and found Snodgrass. His cross was knocked down by Fornals and Haller converted in off the post.

Home wins over Watford and Norwich had done a little to dampen the memories of the Saints’ humiliating 0-9 defeat to Leicester but the St Mary’s faithful were fractious again here, booing their team from the field at half-time.

“We know that the rally goes until May and, like last season, it’s about battling to stay in,” said Ralph Hasenhuttl of his club’s position in the relegation zone.

“We were fighting, we were investing a lot but in the end today, not able to take something.” Moments into the second half Southampton needed a superb save from Alex McCarthy to prevent Fornals from making it 2-0 with a rising half-volley.

They then had an even more fortuitous escape when Antonio cruelly had a goal disallowed by VAR after the ball had brushed against his forearm en route to a powerful run and finish that looked to have put the away side two up.

“I think I’m going to cut my hands off,” joked the West Ham player afterwards. There could be absolutely no suggestion that the West Ham players had stopped playing for the manager, superior as they were in every department to Southampton.

Finally though the Saints did threaten as Moussa Djenepo’s run and cross was controlled and then thumped against the crossbar with Long unable to convert the rebound from a tight angle.

Ings then finished brilliantly into the top corner from the edge of the area, though Atkinson had halted the game seconds earlier because of a foul from Djenepo.

Back came West Ham and Antonio and Haller combined for the latter to angle a header low to the corner, forcing another fine save from McCarthy.

In the 90th minute, Southampton won a free-kick deep in James Ward-Prowse territory but his effort was easily gathered by Martin and Pellegrini breathed a sigh of relief.


David Martin suffers from muscle injury

Goalkeeper David Martin has suffered a muscle injury which will be assessed today (Sunday) to understand the extent of the injury

Pellegrini confirmed the injury news in his post-match press conference at St Mary’s after the Hammers one-nil win.

The 33-year-old pulled up in pain lifting his arm to match officials after a goal kick later failing to ground as the referee stopped play in injury time. With all substitutes used the manager was preparing to pull in an outfield player but Martin signaled he could carry on in stoppage time.

Pellegrini told reporters “He has a muscle injury. We will see tomorrow with the doctor how bad it is but we now have 12 days to recover. Same for Lukasz Fabianski, for Manuel Lanzini, Jack Wilshere, players we need. It is exactly the same as Lukasz Fabianski. I hope not so bad.”

Lukasz Fabianski is hoped to return on Boxing day as the Hammers face Crystal Palace away but that is not guaranteed so they will sweat on Martin recovery over the next 11 days.

If both keepers remain in recovery on Christmas day Roberto could yet make a return between the sticks once more.


West Ham want Roberto Martinez after he rejected Arsenal talks

Olly Dawes

West Ham United are reportedly keen on Roberto Martinez.

According to the Daily Star, West Ham United are interested in Belgium boss Roberto Martinez – and The Mirror claim he has rejected talks with Arsenal.

It's claimed that the Hammers are still considering sacking boss Manuel Pellegrini, despite Saturday's 1-0 away win at Southampton.

Martinez is believed to be one of five candidates being eyed, alongside Carlo Ancelotti, Chris Hughton, David Moyes and Eddie Howe, with West Ham eyeing up potential alternatives.

West Ham may well hope to lure the Spaniard back to the Premier League for the first time since losing his job at Everton in 2016, but it seems Arsenal have had little luck.

Martinez has allegedly snubbed Arsenal's offer of holding formal talks about the vacancy there following Unai Emery's exit, as he instead thinks he can win EURO 2020 with Belgium and has some reservations about the backing he would receive from the Arsenal hierarchy.

It seems unlikely that the West Ham job would be any more appealing then, and a strong EURO 2020 may actually put him in an even stronger position to land a top Premier League job.

Martinez has rebuilt his reputation in charge of Belgium, leading them to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup when many laughed at him landing the job just months after being booted out of Everton.

West Ham's interest seems ambitious, and with no vacancy for him to take, we're not expecting to see him in charge of the Hammers any time soon – but expect him to be a man in demand in 2020.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

gph 2:18 Mon Dec 16
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

"Roberto could yet make a return between the sticks once more."

One of the most frightening sentences in the English language.

chim chim cha boo 4:53 Sun Dec 15
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

Uninspiring list of potential replacements for Pel.

Lato 4:31 Sun Dec 15
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan the thought of Roberto coming back for Boxing day doesn't bode well.

Mex Martillo 2:58 Sun Dec 15
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton 2:15 Sun Dec 15

ted fenton 2:15 Sun Dec 15
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 1:21 Sun Dec 15

Far Cough 1:29 Sun Dec 15
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Martinez? No thanks

Thanks Al

Thanks Alan 1:21 Sun Dec 15
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Queens Fish Bar 1:10 Sun Dec 15

Queens Fish Bar 1:10 Sun Dec 15
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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