WHO Poll
Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
a. Top Four, Champions League here we come
b. 5th-7th Europa League is well within our grasp
c. 8th to 14th anywhere in mid table is about right
d. We're in a dog fight before a ball has been kicked and we'll do well to finish 17th or just above
e. GSB have derailed our season before a ball has been kicked, the Championship beckons

Alan 2:05 Thu Feb 4
Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has made RB Leipzig's France defender Dayot Upamecano, 22, and Bayern Munich's Germany centre-back Niklas Sule, 25, his top defensive targets in the summer. (Bild - in German)

Sule is under contract until next year and Bayern manager Hansi Flick says it is up to the defender to decide "where he sees his future". (Metro)

Borussia Dortmund are willing to drop their asking price for 20-year-old England forward Jadon Sancho by £20m to £88m to reignite interest from Manchester United. (Bild, via Mirror)

Real Madrid agree a four-year-deal with 28-year-old Austria international David Alaba, who can play in defence or midfield and whose contract at Bayern Munich expires in the summer. (Marca - in Spanish)

Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah says he got special permission to fly from Saudi Arabia to England to tell manager Chris Wilder his job is safe - even if the club are relegated. (Talksport)

Barcelona's Danish forward Martin Braithwaite, 29, rejected interest from West Bromwich Albion in January to remain at the Nou Camp. (Sport)

Arsenal, Tottenham and Southampton are interested in signing French defender Evan N'Dicka, 21, from Eintracht Frankfurt. (Bild - in German)

John Terry and Patrick Vieira are among the contenders for the Bournemouth job following the sacking of Jason Tindall. (Mail)

Huddersfield are in talks to sign 30-year-old Senegal striker Oumar Niasse, who is a free agent after being released by Everton at the end of last season. (Sun)

Manchester United, Everton and Southampton have made an approach to sign Celtic's 17-year-old Scottish goalkeeper Vincent Angelini, who is out of contract at the end of the season. (Tuttomercatoweb - in Italian)

Manchester United have agreed a first professional contract with 17-year old English winger Shola Shoretire, amid strong interest from Paris St-Germain, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus. (Mail)

Former Chelsea and Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has turned an approach to become the new manager at Marseille. (Sky Sports)

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema's return to Lyon depends on the Spanish side's results. The 33-year-old Frenchman left Lyon for Real in 2009. (Marca)

Arsenal's English midfielder Joe Willock, 21, says that he signed for Newcastle on a six-month loan because he hit it off with manager Steve Bruce on a video call. (Chronicle)

New York Red Bulls have agreed a fee with Celtic to sign 19-year-old American winger Cameron Harper. (Daily Record)


Jesse Lingard's debut double drives West Ham to victory at Aston Villa

Peter Lansley at Villa Park

Jesse Lingard rewarded David Moyes’s faith in rescuing him from his Manchester United doldrums with two debut goals in the win that means West Ham have achieved their highest top-flight points tally after 22 games since 1985-86.

As West Ham moved on to 38 points, only two behind fourth-placed Liverpool, Lingard, having signed on loan on Monday, provided signs of the spark that marked out his early-career promise in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate.

Lingard had not started a Premier League game for 13 months, and not appeared for his country since June 2019, but both goals were dispatched with a confidence to match his sprightly movement. West Ham have now won seven times in eight games in all competitions as they responded perfectly to Sunday’s 3-1 defeat by Liverpool.

Tomas Soucek had given West Ham the lead just after half-time before Lingard’s first goal arrived within five minutes. Villa hit back when Ollie Watkins gathered Jack Grealish’s pass to make it 2-1, but Lingard sealed the victory seven minutes from time to prompt his manager to suggest an international recall is distinctly possible.

Tomas Soucek finished off a lovely team move to open the scoring in the second half

Lingard showned great composure to volley in the far corner for his first of the night

“It was a brilliant debut,” Moyes said. “If he keeps playing as well as he did tonight, and keeps scoring two goals every game, he’ll do very well for West Ham. I was going to say unfortunately but if he continues to perform like that, he’ll be pushing for England as well.

“If he keeps up that form, it might be Gareth coming and knocking on his door again. He’ll have his own ambitions to show he’s at a level and tonight he showed a very good level. There’s lots of players who will be pushing for the Euros and why shouldn’t Jesse be among them if he keeps performing like he did tonight?”

Despite having only 179 minutes of cup action under his belt this season, Lingard was granted centre stage, playing in the hole just behind Michail Antonio. West Ham balanced their sense of adventure by playing a second right-back, recalling Ryan Fredericks to offer extra security against Jack Grealish.

There was little to choose between the teams in the first half. Dean Smith admitted his side fell below their usual tempo, however, and their defending was poor, especially against the counterttack early in the second half.

Tyrone Mings made a heroic goal-line clearance to deny Antonio from scoring after the break

Antonio held the ball up off for Saïd Benrahma, impressing after his £20m move from Brentford, to play an astute ball down the inside-right channel where Soucek guided his right-foot shot low into the far bottom corner.

Despite having more than half an hour to chase an equaliser, Villa committed men forward in kamikaze fashion. West Ham broke over the halfway line with three players against Matty Cash and Douglas Luiz.

Benrahma passed out to Antonio who clipped a fine pass over for Lingard to control with his first touch before scoring with his second. “We got done on the counterattack,” the Villa manager bemoaned. “Sunday League football, you wouldn’t do that.”

Watkins pulled a goal back with a fine sliding shot from Grealish’s pass nine minutes from time but Lingard promptly clinched the victory after another fine assist from Antonio.

The midfielder sealed victory by beating Emiliano Martinez from a tight angle for their third

“Three points is the most important thing,” Lingard said. “The team worked hard as a collective and we think about the next one against Fulham.

“I started tonight, scored two goals and got three points. I was smiling before the game and during. I just enjoy playing football. It has been a long time.”

Moyes was in an almost jovial mood and his team could be fourth before Liverpool face Manchester City on Sunday. “Did you say top four there?” he asked rhetorically. “We’re in a really good position but we’ll keep knocking on the door and see where it takes us.”


Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Martinez 6; Cash 6, Konsa 6, Mings 7, Targett 6.5; Douglas Luiz 5.5 (Sanson 79), McGinn 6; El Ghazi 5.5 (Traore 45 6), Barkley 6 (Trezeguet 69), Grealish 8; Watkins 7.

Subs not used: Heaton (gk), Nakamba, Engels, Sanson, El Mohamedy, Davis, Ramsey.

Scorer: Watkins (81)

Booked: Luiz

West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 6; Coufal 6.5, Dawson 6.5, Ogbonna 6, Cresswell 6; Soucek 7.5, Rice 6.5; Fredericks 6 (Fornals 84), Benrahma 7 (Johnson 88), Lingard 8 (Bowen 90+1); Antonio 7.5.

Subs not used: Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Diop, Martin (gk), Odubeko.

Scorers: Soucek (51), Lingard (56, 83)

Booked: Cresswell

Referee: A Madley 7


Jesse Lingard makes instant West Ham impact with two debut goals to help down Aston Villa

Loanee Jesse Lingard, making his first league start in 13 months, on target as West Ham strengthen top-six hopes

By John Percy

From the glorious experience of the 2018 World Cup, to a painful exile at Manchester United, it has been a slow and unexpected fall from grace for Jesse Lingard.

This hinted at a brighter future, however, as Lingard produced a memorable West Ham debut on his first Premier League appearance of the season, scoring twice to guide his new club to an impressive victory.

Timing is everything, and Lingard’s display came in front of England manager Gareth Southgate at Villa Park, as West Ham maintained their push for European football with another statement of intent.

Lingard was one of England’s heroes under Southgate when England reached the World Cup semi-final, and the 28-year-old appears determined to grasp the opportunity given to him by David Moyes, after signing on loan last month.

Lingard said: “It has been a long time, I have come here to get game-time. I was smiling before the game and during it, I just enjoy playing football.

“The team have been great with me, I have settled in fairly quickly and some familiar faces help. Three points is the most important thing, the team worked hard as a collective and we think about the next one against Fulham.”

West Ham have now three successive away games in the league for the first time since December 2018 and this was relatively comfortable.

It was billed as a showdown between two emerging teams with European aspirations, and on this evidence West Ham appear a shrewder bet. They were well-drilled, organised and tactically impressive, managing to nullify the threat of Villa captain Jack Grealish by assigning two players, Vladimir Coufal and Ryan Fredericks, to track his every move.

West Ham remain in fifth place, two points behind champions Liverpool, and Lingard already looks a shrewd signing.

Moyes said: “If he keeps on like that it won’t be long until he is back in the England squad.

“We are thrilled with Jesse because he made a difference. It was a brilliant debut and he made the team better.”

Villa are also on an upward curve and undoubtedly improving after last season’s mad scramble to safety on the final day of the season at the London Stadium.

Yet this was an underwhelming performance and they never found any fluency or rhythm. Emiliano Martinez has been a brilliant signing from Arsenal but was at fault for both of Lingard’s goals.

Villa have now lost four home games and Dean Smith, the head coach, cannot have expected such a tepid display.

“We gave three awful goals away but I’m certainly not going to moan about a goalkeeper making mistakes because he’s been one of our best players this season,” he said.

“We didn’t play well and never found our usual tempo. I felt we looked a little lethargic and they were brighter than us.”

Lingard was making his first league appearance since scoring on the final day of last season for United, and impressed from the start in a free role behind lone striker Michail Antonio.

Both teams had chances in the first-half, with Ollie Watkins striking the outside of the post, but West Ham scored the opening goal six minutes into the second period.

Said Benrahma was found by Antonio and then delivered a brilliant pass to Tomas Soucek, who advanced into the area to drill a shot across Martinez into the bottom corner. Soucek, the £19 million signing from Slavia Prague, now has eight goals for the season and is undoubtedly one of the campaign’s success stories for Moyes.

Lingard increased West Ham’s lead in the 56th minute, with Villa’s defence again exposed and outnumbered. This time it was a lofted pass from Antonio over to an unmarked Lingard on the left of the area, with the loanee taking the ball down before directing the ball home.

Antonio almost added a third when he chipped the ball over Martinez, who had rushed off his line, but was denied by a goal-line clearance by Tyrone Mings.

Villa did respond nine minutes from time, with Grealish the architect as he played a low pass to Watkins, who slid the ball under Lukasz Fabianski.

Any hopes of a late equaliser disappeared minutes later with another Lingard finish, with Martinez at fault as he failed to stop his shot from finding the net.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Jonah Lomas 1:50 Fri Feb 5
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
I was going to say the same thing about Grealish. He shouldn't have got an 8 if you doubled his score.

pdbis 9:42 Thu Feb 4
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
It is a joke when you see some of the ratings. Fuck knows how Grealish got an 8?

Percy Dalton 4:29 Thu Feb 4
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.
So the Guardian scribes marks Coufal 6.5 and Grealish 8.
Just goes to show he never actually saw the match.

BillyJenningsBoots 3:45 Thu Feb 4
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
There was little to choose between the teams in the first half. Dean Smith admitted his side fell below their usual tempo, however, and their defending was poor, especially against the counterttack early in the second half.

Hmmm little to choose between the teams... By goals scored maybe but we absolutely dominated them in the first half and shouldve had 2 or 3... Reporter obviously wasnt paying any attention

Texas Iron 3:41 Thu Feb 4
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)

With Kind Regards 3:41 Thu Feb 4
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton 3:04 Thu Feb 4

ted fenton 3:04 Thu Feb 4
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 2:07 Thu Feb 4

charleyfarley 2:12 Thu Feb 4
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers Al

Thanks Alan 2:07 Thu Feb 4
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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