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  1. Everton have confirmed that Michael Keane suffered a fractured skull against Bournemouth. The England defender was given lengthy treatment on the field in the closing stages at the Vitality Stadium following a collision with teammate Idrissa Gueye. The 25-year-old, who scored the Toffees' second goal, left the pitch on a stretcher and was taken to hospital for assessment. Everton have now revealed the severity of the injury with Keane set to miss the next three to four weeks. "Michael Keane has sustained a small hairline fracture of the skull but suffered no other complications following a clash of heads in the game against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium," a club statement read. "The 25-year-old defender will be unable to engage in head contact for between three and four weeks, from which point he will be able to resume full training." Keane, who was released from hospital after being admitted overnight, said: “Thank you to everyone for all the well wishes and support," "I’m okay but suffered a small hairline fracture of the skull which will heal itself and means I won’t be able to have any head contact for three to four weeks. “I will be back with my team and back on the pitch as soon as I can after that. “I also want to say a huge thank you to the medical staff at Everton and Bournemouth as well as all those at Poole Hospital for their excellent treatment and care.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  2. Everton director of football Marcel Brands has admitted that his club paid over the odds to sign Richarlison from Watford. The Hornets accepted a club record fee which could rise to £44m for the Brazilian winger, who starred early on last season but found it hard to maintain his form as the campaign progressed. His failure to impress throughout the entire season led many to question the fee paid by Everton for the 21-year-old who scored twice on his Everton debut on Saturday. The ill-feeling between Watford and Everton, which started when the Goodison Park club allegedly made an unwarranted approach for then Watford boss Marco Silva in November, made securing Richarlison’s services challenging. “We thought it would be a very difficult one because of the history of the clubs,” Brands told The Guardian. “We were convinced with him but I think with the situation with Watford we had to pay a little more. “I think maybe the market value was a little bit lower but, at the end, we are happy with him. We think he can be very special. “He has a lot of speed, the capability to work; he is strong and he is tall. There are a lot of qualities for all the competitions in Europe. They are important qualities.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  3. Everton director of football Marcel Brands has stressed that the club will need to "offload" a number of players this summer in order to raise transfer funds. The Toffees spent over £200m last season signing the likes of Jordan Pickford, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Cenk Tosun, but endured a difficult campaign before eventually finishing eighth in the Premier League. Marco Silva was officially unveiled as the club's new manager on Monday but Brands admits the Portuguese may not have as much money to spend this summer as former boss Ronald Koeman. When asked by Sky Sporrs if club owner Farhad Moshiri would provide a similar transfer fund to last summer, Brands said: "No. "First of all we need to offload players to raise money [to spend], and also salary-wise. But it's not only a money thing. "Of course money is important but also, for a coach, it is not workable to start with 38 players in your squad. "We have to look for a squad Marco can work with and I think there always has to be space for young players to come to the first team. "That has to be, let's say, 25-30 players. Now there are 38 and a lot are not young any more. They are players who have arrived. We have to be honest when we take the decision with these players. "Do they have prospects here at Everton? Some of the conversations will not be nice but I think Marco must start with a squad that everyone is eager to play for and has prospects to play." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  4. Everton have appointed former Watford and Hull City boss Marco Silva as their new manager. The Toffees had been without a manager since parting ways with Sam Allardyce, who was sacked by the club earlier this month after less than six months in charge at Goodison Park. "I'm really proud to be the new Everton manager," Silva, who has penned a three-year deal, told the club's official website. "I'm excited and I'm really happy to take this big challenge for us as a club and for me as a manager. "I want to express my thanks to Farhad, to the Chairman, to the Board of Directors and to Marcel as well for the confidence in my work. "I know the huge history of Everton as a club and what the fans expect. I'm sure with everybody working together I will be ready for this challenge." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  5. Everton have appointed former PSV Eindhoven sporting director Marcel Brands as their director of football. The 56-year-old Dutchman has replaced former Leicester City chief scout Steve Walsh, who took the role at Goodison Park in July 2016 and has now left. Brands has a reputation for developing players and was seen as an integral part of PSV's run of three Eredivisie titles in the last four seasons. He had joined PSV in 2010 after successful spells with RKC Waalwijk and AZ Alkmaar, where he worked alongside Louis van Gaal. "It is a privilege to be joining Everton as Director of Football and I am incredibly excited to take on this challenge," said Brands. "The fantastic passion of the fans for their club, the magnificent history of the club over the years and the ambition and purpose we have as people tasked with driving the club forward all mean that we need to be competing for honours against the Premier League elite. It is no straightforward challenge but this must be our motivation each and every day. "I am looking forward to working with Farhad Moshiri and Chairman Bill Kenwright, whom I thank for entrusting me with this role and responsibility, and I am also looking forward to working with the Board of Directors and with our new CEO, Denise Barrett-Baxendale. I know we have very committed people here who want only the best for Everton. "It is only a challenge such as this which could have persuaded me to leave PSV where I am indebted to the many people whose collective effort led to some great achievements. Now we will look to build something really strong and lasting here at Everton." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  6. Everton have parted company with Sam Allardyce. The 63-year-old signed a contract until June 2019 when he took over in November following the sacking of Ronald Koeman. Everton, who were 13th in the Premier League when Allardyce arrived, finished the season in eighth, but the Toffees fanbase never took to the man. Everton's chief executive Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale said: “On behalf of the chairman, board of directors and Mr Moshiri, I’d like to thank Sam for the job he has done at Everton over the last seven months. "Sam was brought in at a challenging time last season to provide us with some stability and we are grateful to him for doing that. “However, we have made the decision that, as part of our longer-term plan, we will be appointing a new manager this summer and will be commencing this process immediately. "Again, we’d like to place on record our sincere thanks to Sam for his work with us over the last few months and wish him well for the future.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  7. Everton manager Sam Allardyce has admitted that he can no longer be confident of his future at the club. The Toffees ended their Premier League season with a 3-1 defeat at West Ham United, which saw both sets of fans mercilessly boo the 63-year-old. Speaking after the game, Allardyce claimed that an eighth-placed finish is a good result considering Everton's early-season struggles, but admitted that he will seek clarity over his future next week. "The players picked up the mantle immediately and started to say 'we need to get Everton out of the position we're in'," Allardyce told reporters. "I think you're there to guide them tactically and make them as fit as they possibly can be and try to give them the right direction. "The players' efforts from day one to now have been very good and we've been sitting in the top half for many weeks now. "At one stage we looked like pushing Burnley. Eighth is a good finish from where we were at the beginning. "Confident (over my future)? I can't quite say after all the rumours I'm reading in the paper because generally there's something and there's no smoke without fire, but I'll wait and see when we meet up next week, or this week actually." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  8. Sam Allardyce has claimed that Wayne Rooney has not asked to leave Everton this summer. Multiple media reports this week claimed that the former England forward's representatives have been in the United States to negotiate terms for a move to MLS side DC United due to frustrations with his current role. Toffees boss Allardyce has given a different take on the matter, however, and claimed that Rooney is willing to remain at Goodison Park. "I don't get involved with anything regarding transfers in or out or negotiations but I know there appears to be an interest from DC United but where Wayne lies in it I cant tell you until I've spoken to him. "If the player wants to go - if any players wants to leave I'm comfortable. "But let's get this right - Wayne Rooney has not asked to leave and neither has he had a confrontation with me. "I don't want to make a headline 'Sam says Rooney can leave' - I mean if any player wants to leave he can leave." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  9. Sam Allardyce has stated that he has no issues with Wayne Rooney and thinks the forward would have to receive a "massive" offer to consider leaving Everton. The former England captain has one year remaining on the two-year deal he signed last summer when rejoining his boyhood club after 13 seasons at Manchester United. Rooney has been linked this week with a move to MLS side DC United but Allardyce hopes he will be at Goodison Park next season. When asked whether he wanted Rooney to stay, Allardyce told talkSPORT: "Yes. "There are rumours about Wayne going elsewhere abroad - in China and America - but at the moment he is an Everton player and an Everton fan. "So I wouldn't consider anything on the cards at the moment. It would have to be massive for him to want to leave Everton. "I've not had a problem from day one with Wayne. Wayne loves his football, he loves training, he wants to play and play well like everybody else. "Obviously because of who he is there's ultimately more attention around his body language, about how he plays, about what he is and isn't doing. "We all have to deal with that in our own way and I think Wayne deals with it very well indeed." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  10. Former Everton midfielder Tim Cahill has claimed that the Toffees have "lost their identity" lately and aren't building sufficiently for the future. After a poor start to the season under Ronald Koeman, Everton are now ninth in the Premier League, but 25 points off the top four. Their latest fixture, a 1-1 draw at Swansea City, prompted fans to call for Sam Allardyce's departure as manager, and Cahill says the club are confused about who they are and where they are going. Cahill, who made 278 appearances for Everton between 2004 and 2012, told Sky Sports: "It's confusing, they are confused too, they have lost their identity as a club, there is nothing they are really building around. "Before there was a basis and a group of players that was built and we were adding to it and looking for the long term plan of how to evolve as a football club. "Now it seems like they are just making signings and the chemistry is not there and on the pitch they are not linking well. "It's difficult to watch because of the quality. You have to be careful what you wish for, if you want an owner with lots of money, they have that, but it doesn't always bring success overnight. "The fans want some passion and identity. When you look back at Roberto Martinez for example, maybe it was impatient and waiting for that style, and under David Moyes maybe they thought it was getting stale, but now you can appreciate what they have lost." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  11. The Premier League season continues to edge closer to its conclusion and, indeed, this weekend we could have our champions crowd amid two of the biggest derbies in the country. How will the action pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look. Everton vs. Liverpool The weekend's Premier League action kicks off with a tasty Merseyside derby as an Everton side sitting nicely in the top half of the table face a rampant Liverpool team that taught Manchester City a football lesson last time out. Although they say form goes out the window in derbies, the Toffees have a poor record against their neighbours (one win in 22 league meetings) and are a worse team on paper, while the Reds are in rampant form, so I expect them to win even if Mohamed Salah is absent. Score prediction: Everton 1-4 Liverpool Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace Bournemouth have accrued 21 points in 2018, a tally only bettered by the current top four Premier League sides, and their never-say-die attitude has helped them pull clear of the bottom three, with safety very likely now. Palace remain in deep trouble, having lost five of their last six fixtures, and have won just one of their last nine league matches, plus their injury woes continue with a striker crisis, so I back the Cherries to victory. Score prediction: Bournemouth 1-0 Palace Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Huddersfield Town Brighton have lost three successive games in all competitions, all by a 2-0 scoreline, having previously been unbeaten in seven matches, but are better at home, having won three of their last four home games and scoring nine goals in the process. Huddersfield are woeful at present - five defeats in six away fixtures, eight PL defeats in 2018, seven goals scored in the league this calendar year, and 12 away games over the course of the season where they haven't scored. That said, I think there will be little between these two and I'm going for a draw. Score prediction: Brighton 1-1 Huddersfield Leicester City vs. Newcastle United Leicester are unbeaten in six Premier League home games, though their last three have ended in a draw, but their record against this season's promoted sides is good - 13 points from a possible 15 so far. Newcastle have pulled clear from the bottom three in recent weeks as Rafael Benitez looks to mastermind a great escape but despite a good defence, I think the Foxes - with Jamie Vardy back to his best - will be able to batter through. Score prediction: Leicester 2-0 Newcastle Stoke City vs. Tottenham Hotspur It looks pretty bleak for Stoke at present - 61 goals conceded this term, three defeats in a row and just one win in nine for Paul Lambert, who is running out of time to mastermind a great escape for the Potters. As for Spurs, they are on the longest current unbeaten run in the Premier League (13 games, including 10 wins), and they are the only side yet to lose a top-flight match in 2018, plus they have won five consecutive Premier League matches for the first time this season - so I can't see past an away win. Score prediction: Stoke 0-3 Spurs Watford vs. Burnley The Hornets boast a decent home form, with 11 points from their last five games at Vicarage Road, but they are winless in three games in which they have conceded 10 goals. Burnley, meanwhile, will be desperate for one final push to try and secure a heroic European place, and given they're on the brink of a fourth consecutive top-flight win, I reckon they'll play out of their skins and secure victory. Score prediction: Watford 1-2 Burnley West Bromwich Albion vs. Swansea City West Brom are absolutely done for this season, the stats speaking for themselves - eight consecutive league defeats and three wins all season are the very definition of "hopeless". In contrast, Swansea retain hope, with Carlos Carvalhal close to delivering one of the most unexpected PL miracle jobs in recent history, and even though the Swans are winless in their last five league away games, I nonetheless fancy them to defeat a side that has all but given up the ghost. Score prediction: West Brom 0-2 Swansea Manchester City vs. Manchester United Now this is one made for the script. Man City have dominated the PL this season and, whilst United will not have to deliver a guard of honour as was previously feared, they still will not want their big rivals to celebrate in their faces. Liverpool have thrown a spanner in the works though, with Man City potentially fielding a weakened team in order to focus on the Champions League return leg, which will see them needing to overturn a 3-0 deficit, so it could end up rather anticlimactic. Besides, Jose Mourinho is known for being somewhat of a "realpolitik" manager and has been known to park the bus, and so this could end up being a grind should he wish to deny City the title at all costs. I'll go with the more negative scenario and call this a stalemate. Score prediction: Man City 0-0 Man United Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  12. With the FA Cup quarter-finals taking place this weekend, the Premier League program this weekend is reduced as seven top-flight teams hope to make their way to the semi-finals. How will the four PL fixtures pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look with this exclusive preview. Bournemouth vs. West Bromwich Albion Bournemouth remain nervously looking over their shoulders given they're winless in four games and just six points clear of the drop zone, but only Manchester City and Tottenham have lost fewer games since Christmas than the Cherries. West Brom, meanwhile, are done for. They've been woeful all season and Alan Pardew has arguably made them worse, with just eight points from his 16 games in charge and on the verge of a seventh successive league defeat. Score prediction: Bournemouth 3-0 West Brom Huddersfield Town vs. Crystal Palace Huddersfield got a little boost with two consecutive league wins a few weeks ago but their last game against Swansea City saw them labour against 10 men without scoring, they've still got just seven points in 2018, and they remain a little too close to the danger zone for comfort. Palace are once again in the doldrums as their injury-depleted team fell to four consecutive league defeats for a drop back into the bottom three, but several key men are returning to fitness - Wilfried Zaha, Mamadou Sakho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Yohan Cabaye should all be able to get involved, which would get Palace playing as they should be. Score prediction: Huddersfield 0-2 Palace Stoke City vs. Everton Stoke remain in the bottom three and have gone six games without a win but they've managed to just about tread water, one point adrift of safety, and will come out of the danger zone should they beat Everton and Palace fail to win at Huddersfield. Everton, meanwhile, are a Jekyll & Hyde side, boasting a good run at Goodison Park but on the verge of a five-game losing streak on the road, not to mention just one win in their 15 away league games this campaign, so I think the points will be shared at the Bet365 Stadium. Score prediction: Stoke 1-1 Everton Liverpool vs. Watford Liverpool will be eager to get back to winning ways in the league following the defeat at Manchester United last time out and the omens against Watford are good - they have won nine of 10 top-flight home games against them, and have never lost consecutive league games under Jurgen Klopp. The Hornets are enjoying a very good season and certainly know how to get results, having won three of their last six, but they're not so hot against top sides on the road, having lost 16 of their 17 PL games away at sides in the top four, and I think the outcome will be similar to what happened at Arsenal last time out. Score prediction: Liverpool 4-1 Watford Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  13. Sam Allardyce has refused to put a timescale on when Gylfi Sigurdsson is to come back from a knee injury but expects him to play for Everton again this season. The Toffees said on Wednesday that the Iceland midfielder will be sidelined for between six to eight weeks but the manager claimed that the statement is incorrect. "Whoever gave that statement out is going to get a right b****cking because you cannot predict a length of injury in its entirety," Allardyce is quoted by Sky Sports as saying. "You have people who heal quicker. We've got a highly qualified medical staff and equipment to try and speed up any injury. "I've always felt it's the wrong thing to do, to tag an injury for its time limits because people recover quicker than others. "For me, it's how the injury is in the next two weeks. When you sustain a knee injury, there's a settling down period immediately afterwards and then it's how quickly the player recovers. "Gylfi's motivation is to get back playing for us and for Iceland at the World Cup." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  14. An exciting weekend of Premier League action is upon us and it begins with arguably the most exciting fixture in English football. How will Saturday's games pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look. Manchester United vs. Liverpool The two biggest, best known and most successful sides in English football lock horns at Old Trafford and the 200th meeting between these two promises to be a fiery affair even if the title is all but gone for either side. Starting with United, they are currently second and have lost only once at home this season in all competitions, with that defeat coming against Manchester City. Liverpool, a place and two points behind, are the Premier League's form team with 25 points gained from 10 games and have lost just once in their last 20 league matches. With little to separate these two sides many are going for a 1-1 draw but I'm going to stick my neck out and fancy Liverpool's illustrious attack to punch holes in the Red Devils' defence. Score prediction: Man United 1-3 Liverpool Newcastle United vs. Southampton Newcastle, 16th in the table, have the third worst home form in the Premier League this season but they are yet to lose at St James’ Park thus far in 2018. They face Southampton, a team who are a single point and position below them in the table but are also unbeaten away from home in their last four matches. One of many relegation six-pointers to take place this campaign in a super-tight survival battle royale, I see little between them and am expecting a draw. Score prediction: Newcastle 0-0 Southampton Everton vs. Brighton & Hove Albion Everton's pendulum season continues to swing from danger to safety and back again, with two wins from 11 top-flight matches seeing Sam Allardyce's stock tumble somewhat, but they welcome Brighton to Goodison Park having lost just one of their last nine at home. Brighton's victory over Arsenal stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to seven games but they haven't won away from home in the Premier League since a 1-0 win over Swansea at the start of November, a run of eight games, so for me, Everton will edge this. Score prediction: Everton 2-0 Brighton Huddersfield Town vs. Swansea City Swansea head into this game on the back of a 4-1 win over West Ham last weekend and boast a record of just one loss in their last 13 matches in all competitions. Huddersfield, meanwhile, have only picked up two wins in eight Premier League matches this calendar year, and six defeats in that time have seen them remain too near the danger zone. Carlos Carvalhal should get the manager of the year award should he keep the Swans up, and I think another positive result against a Terriers side that has done well in the first half of the season but is now running on fumes will help the Welsh side further in their endeavours. Score prediction: Huddersfield 0-1 Swansea West Bromwich Albion vs. Leicester City Eight points from safety with nine matches remaining and having lost their last five league games, West Brom are as good as gone from the top flight this season, barring a miraculous recovery. Leicester, though 10 points clear of the drop zone - a chasm by this season's standards - are winless in five league matches, losing two of them and drawing on the other three occasions, and also without a win in their last five away league fixtures, losing four of those matches. Can the Baggies make the most of their opposition's poor form to sneak a good result? I don't think they can - Leicester are much stronger on paper and much more with it both on and off the pitch, so it's an away win for me. Score prediction: West Brom 0-2 Leicester West Ham United vs. Burnley Successive 4-1 away defeats have got West Ham looking nervously over their shoulders again, and they have won just one of their last six league games, but on the plus side they have lost only one of their eight home league matches under David Moyes. Burnley, meanwhile, are seeking back-to-back wins for the first time since December, having claimed their first victory in 12 league matches against against Everton last weekend, but are winless in their last seven Premier League away games, failing to score in five of those matches. For me, this is a dead set draw. Score prediction: West Ham 1-1 Burnley Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace Chelsea are desperate to return to winning ways after four defeats in their last five Premier League matches, which have left them five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. Palace, meanwhile, have lost four and drawn two of their last six games, and will be reeling from their collapse from 2-0 up against Manchester United on Monday to eventually lose 3-2. Under-fire Blues boss Antonio Conte is however also needing to cast an eye to the midweek Champions League trip to Barcelona and may possibly rest some players, but given that Palace remain so depleted in terms of personnel, I fancy Chelsea to get all three points from this game, though it won't be easy. Score prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Palace Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  15. Sam Allardyce has admitted that he wants to stay at Everton beyond the end of the current season. The 63-year-old signed a contract until June 2019 when he joined the Toffees in November as Ronald Koeman's replacement. Everton have won just two of their last 12 games but Allardyce was adamant when asked if he sees his future with the Premier League club. "Of course," he told BBC Sport. "I know all about Everton and what you have to achieve. I want it to be a long-term appointment." "There are tough times and there are times when you have to draw in and close the doors and stay focused on what you want to try to achieve. "I came out of retirement because there's a long-term plan that I was excited to be a part of. I am having talks with [Everton owner] Farhad Moshiri, but those talks are confidential." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  16. The big freeze hasn't stopped the Premier League fixtures this weekend from being cancelled, so here is Football Manics with a preview of Saturday's action. Burnley vs. Everton Two out-of-form sides clash at Turf Moor in Saturday's early PL kickoff, with Burnley winless in 11 Premier League games including their last five home games. Everton have been okay at home but have picked up just one win from their last 22 league away games, losing the last four in a row. That said, I think they will have enough to break their away duck and get the better of a side that has long since been exiled from Proudsville. Score prediction: 0-2 away win Leicester City vs. Bournemouth Leicester have only managed two victories in the last 11 league games and have gone four without a win, conceding nine goals in that run. Bournemouth, meanwhile, have lost only one of their last nine Premier League fixtures and have found the net in nine consecutive league games, scoring 18 goals. However, the Cherries have only kept one clean sheet in their last 15 Premier League games, and away at a side that can be dangerous, I think this will see them defeated. Score prediction: 2-0 home win Southampton vs. Stoke City Another game between two out-of-form sides, with Southampton having picked up just one win in their last 15 league games and winless in their last seven at St Mary's since beating Everton 4-1 in November. As for Stoke, they have won just once in nine Premier League games, conceded a league-high 54 goals this season, and have the joint-worst away record, alongside West Brom, with seven points and only one victory. So we're unlikely to see much quality here but I think it would be too easy to dismiss this as a draw, so I'm going to back the hosts to claim victory. Score prediction: 2-1 home win Swansea City vs. West Ham The Swans' upsurge in form under Carlos Carvalhal came to an end last time out against Brighton but they could earn seven victories in a row at the Liberty Stadium in all competitions for the first time since November 2004. As for the Hammers, they have earned 20 points in their last 13 league games - twice as many as in their first 15 fixtures this season - but have only won once in five league games and are in danger of suffering three straight away defeats. For all their efforts, Swansea remain in the drop zone and I think it'll be a close call in this game, with points split. Score prediction: 0-0 draw Tottenham Hotspur vs. Huddersfield Town Spurs are unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions, undefeated in 13 league games at Wembley and have not lost in 33 Premier League games against promoted sides, winning the last 15 in a row. Huddersfield, meanwhile have put their recent downturn behind them and could win three consecutive top-flight games for the first time since April 1956, as well as scoring 10 goals in 14 away league games this season. However, the Terriers continue to ship goals and away against an attacking side boasting Harry Kane, this could prove their downfall. Score prediction: 3-0 home win Watford vs. West Bromwich Albion Watford are looking to win three successive Premier League home games for the first time since April 2017 - one of those matches was against West Brom - and have won four of their last six home games in all competitions The Baggies' season, meanwhile, lurches from bad to worse, currently seven points adrift of safety, having won hust three times in 37 league matches dating back to March last year, and with yet another off-pitch issue besetting the club, this time in the form of a dressing room leak. So for me this is a foregone conclusion - Watford to claim all three points and potentially getting Alan Pardew the sack. Score prediction: 3-0 home win Liverpool vs. Newcastle United Liverpool are the division's form team with 22 points from the past nine games, are unbeaten in 16 league matches at Anfield, and their only league defeat in 19 games came at Swansea City in January. They will be visited by their former manager Rafael Benitez, who takes his Newcastle United outfit to Merseyside in good form, their only defeat in eight coming at Manchester City. That said, I still think Liverpool, with their world-class attacking setup, will have too much for a Magpies side only really punching above their weight because of their inspirational manager. Score prediction: 4-1 home win Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  17. Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye has signed a new long-term contract at the club until June 2022. The 28-year-old joined the Toffees from Aston Villa in August 2016 and has made 64 appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals. Gueye has made 221 tackles in the Premier League since his Everton debut in August 2016 - 13 more than any other player in the competition. "Everton is the right place for me and this is why I have signed my new deal," the Senegal international told the club's official website. "I love the fans here. They have been great to me. They made it easy for me to sign this contract. "Of course, I spoke with my family and my agent, but the love of the fans was really important and this is a really good thing for me. "I have enjoyed immensely my time so far at the club, I enjoy working with the manager, his staff and the players here and we are really determined to finish the season strongly." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  18. Everton boss Sam Allardyce has admitted that new signing Cenk Tosun is struggling to adapt to life in the Premier League. The Turkish striker has so far failed to break into the Everton side, starting just two games since arriving from Besiktas. The £27m recruit was an unused substitute against Crystal Palace on Saturday with injuries forcing Allardyce into using all three of his replacements. Allardyce said: "He is struggling with the pace of the Premier League which happens to more players than it doesn't who come in in January. It will be important for him to train really, really hard. "When it is chucking it down with rain, it is not that he is not used to it, he is, but it's freezing. "There is no doubting his goal-scoring ability but you have to have the capabilities to get in those positions to score those goals and that is the hard bit. "It is not unusual to see a centre-forward struggle when they first come we have seen many, many over the years do that. "We have got to try and be patient and because the team is winning without him we can be patient at the moment. "When we are safe and moving forward we will still try and finish as high up as we can but we will have an opportunity to put him on the pitch, the most important thing for me at the moment is securing our Premier League status and going from there." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  19. Another weekend is upon us which means another Premier League matchday and another Football Manics preview! Let's begin with Saturday's games, featuring the North London derby plus the "Riyad Mahrez derby" as Manchester City face Leicester City. Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal The Premier League weekend action kicks off with a huge North London derby which sees Arsenal head to Wembley Stadium sixth in the table, four points and one place adrift of bitter rivals Spurs. Tottenham are unbeaten in eight league games, drawing three of the last five, and have gone 12 home matches without defeat in the Premier League, winning eight of the past 10. Also, talismanic striker Harry Kane has scored six goals in six league games against Arsenal. The Gunners, meanwhile, could suffer three straight away defeats in the Premier League for the first time since a run of four losses ended last April, and are winless in 15 top-flight away games against the current top five clubs since a 2-0 victory at Manchester City in January 2015. On the plus side for Arsenal, their record at Wembley is superb - winning each of their previous nine visits - and in derbies the form book always goes out the window, so I'm tipping this game to finish as a draw - let's call it a high-scoring one. Score prediction: 3-3 Everton vs. Crystal Palace Everton have won just one of their last eight league games, earning six points from a possible 24, and have conceded 15 goals in their last six league matches. Palace, meanwhile, have lost only twice in their last 15 league fixtures, both against Arsenal, and are also impressive on the road, but they have gone three games without a win - drawing 1-1 in each of their last two games. The Eagles' injury list continues to mount, however with Wilfried Zaha, Julian Speroni and Martin Kelly now sidelined, and I think this will have a big bearing in the game, not to mention Sam Allardyce wanting to bounce back from a "pathetic" defeat by Arsenal. Score prediction: 2-0 Stoke City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion Stoke have lost seven of their last 11 games and taken only eight points from a possible 33 during this period, which leaves them just inside the relegation zone, but they have been beaten in only one of their last four home games, winning twice and drawing the other match. As for Brighton, they are unbeaten in three games in all competitions, winning twice and drawing once, but are without an away league win in seven games since November's 1-0 victory at Swansea City, with a miserly tally of six away goals. Paul Lambert has overseen a slight upturn in form at Stoke, with two clean sheets in his first two home games, so I think they'll do well against a Brighton side which isn't too hot on the road. Score prediction: 3-1 Swansea City vs. Burnley Carlos Carvalhal has turned a Swansea side tumbling out of the league into one unbeaten in nine games in all competitions, including wins over Liverpool and Arsenal, plus an 8-1 destruction of Notts County in the FA Cup last time out. In contrast, Burnley are without a Premier League win in nine games, the longest current winless run in the division, and could remain winless in their opening six league matches of a calendar year for the first time since 2007. It's a stark contract from the Proudsville form in the first half of the season but they're still a strong side and I fancy them to get a draw at the Liberty Stadium against a side that was busy in midweek. Score prediction: 1-1 West Ham United vs. Watford West Ham's current form is lukewarm, with wins over struggling West Brom and Huddersfield plus a draw at Tottenham this calendar year, though defeats to Brighton and Bournemouth show there's still work to be done. Watford, meanwhile, are looking to win back-to-back league games for the first time since November, following their 4-1 win against Chelsea on Monday, although they were their first three points since December 26. The Hornets also boast a lengthy injury list and, taking on a side in good form at home, I see them slumping to defeat at the London Stadium. Score prediction: 2-0 Manchester City vs. Leicester City This season's champions-elect against the title winners from two years ago, the narrative around this game will revolve around Riyad Mahrez, who did not train since the end of January following interest from Man City but is expected to play for Leicester this weekend. The Citizens dropped two points against Burnley last time out but with the players rested following several days off, they should be well rested and fully focused once again - not to mention their home form is absolutely superb, unbeaten in 25 league games at the Etihad and gunning for a 13th straight league win there. As for the Foxes, they are much improved under Claude Puel but their last two league victories in nine attempts came at home to Huddersfield and Watford, and they have taken just one point from their last four league games on the road. Leicester are more than capable of springing a shock from time to time but with how superb Man City have been this season, I can see them back to form and claiming victory. Score prediction: 3-0 Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  20. Former Everton manager Ronald Koeman has been appointed as head coach of the Netherlands national team on a four-and-a-half-year contract. The 54-year-old, who has been out of work since being sacked by the Toffees in October, will take charge for the first time for the Oranje friendlty against England on 23 March. The Dutch football federation - the KNVB - announced on its website that Koeman has signed a contract that runs through to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Koeman, who has also managed Southampton, replaces Dick Advocaat at the helm, who resigned after failing to guide the Netherlands to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The KNVB have also appointed Nico-Jan Hoogma, who was general manager at Eredivisie side Heracles Almelo, as director of football. Holland have endured a topsy-turvy decade, finishing second in the 2010 World Cup and third in the 2014 edition, but failing to get a single point in their group stage at Euro 2016 and failing to qualify for Euro 2016 and WC2018. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  21. Everton manager Sam Allardyce has hit out at a "pathetic" and "unacceptable" display as his side lost 5-1 at Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday. The Toffees were outplayed in the first half at the Emirates and found themselves 4-0 down after 37 minutes. They improved after the break and pulled a goal back through substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but Allardyce was not impressed and accused his players of not following instructions. "Any tactics and any system you pick is worthless if the players don't play to their best," he told reporters after the game. "None of our first XI in the first half played anywhere near their best and that is why we were tumbling goals left, right and centre with our pathetic performance. "None of it was any good. We got better in the second half but far too late...all the team played c**p. "I was angry. I'm still angry. I think accepting an instruction is part of a player's responsibility at the level required. We tried to give the most instruction in the time we had available. "There were clear instructions because there was a good performance by Swansea against Arsenal [on Tuesday] that gave them a good victory and we based our plan on that. "Unfortunately, Swansea played at the top of their game and we played at the bottom of our game. "If you play at the Emirates, you've got to play at your best and our 11 didn't play anywhere near our best, that's why we were tumbling goals in a pathetic performance." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  22. The Premier League returns to action for the second time this week following the Tuesday and Wednesday games. So without further ado, let Football Manics guide you through Saturday's fixtures. Burnley vs. Manchester City First up in the league this weekend is the surprise package of the first half of the season against the all-conquering runaway leaders - and Burnley, who are winless in eight league games, have a difficult task ahead to avoid losing a fourth consecutive home match. Man City have stuttered away from home in the league, however, dropping points in their last two away games when they won their previous 10 this season. In reality though, that will just make them even more determined to come away with all three points now, so I'm expecting Pep Guardiola to stamp out all complacency and guide them to victory at Turf Moor. Score prediction: 0-3 Bournemouth vs. Stoke City Bournemouth will go into this game buzzing with confidence after a superb 3-0 win away at reigning champions Chelsea in midweek, and are seeking a seventh game without defeat. Stoke appear to have turned a corner too, picking up another point against Watford in midweek, making it four points in two games for new manager Paul Lambert. With both sides on good form but at the same time looking over their shoulders given this season's Royal Rumble of a relegation battle, I expect a conservative game and a share of the spoils. Score prediction: 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion vs. West Ham United This is an absolute must-win game for Brighton, who have won only one of their last 14 league fixtures, but with captain Bruno back from a back injury and on-loan Leonardo Ulloa ready to be slotted back in, there is cause for optimism. West Ham, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches and could remain unbeaten in their opening six top-flight games of the calendar year for the first time since 1974. Hard to call, this one, but I think it'll be more of the same - Brighton winless, West Ham unbeaten - at full time. Score prediction: 1-1 Leicester City vs. Swansea City A fleeting glance at the table would suggest an easy win for the Foxes but their camp is unsettled at present, with Riyad Mahrez - who did not report for training on Thursday and Friday - not available for the game, and Wes Morgan is also still recovering from a thigh injury. That said, they are unbeaten at the King Power Stadium since mid-December and could win their opening three top-flight home fixtures of a calendar year for the first time since 1977. But Swansea have been on the up since Carlos Carvalhal took charge, picking up 10 from a possible 15 points and beating both Arsenal and Liverpool, so I fancy them to continue this form and beat a Leicester missing one of their star men. Score prediction: 1-2 Manchester United vs. Huddersfield Town The Red Devils' title race is now surely all but over, given their loss at Tottenham in midweek, so Jose Mourinho will likely be refocusing his attentions simply on keeping the chasing pack of Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs at bay. The midweek defeat at Wembley ended United's eight-game unbeaten league run and also brought to an end a sequence of four successive league clean sheets, while the matchday opponent has already beaten them once in the top flight this season, winning 2-1 at the John Smith's Stadium. Huddersfield were a different beast earlier in the season though, with the wear and tear of the campaign now starting to show on the promoted side, who have lost their last four league matches and conceded 12 goals in the process - so it's an easy United win for me. Score prediction: 0-4 West Bromwich Albion vs. Southampton With just eight points separating 10th from 20th, it seems like every gameweek will have two or three "relegation six-pointers", but the Hawthorns sees two of the bottom three face off this weekend. The Baggies have lost just one of their last six Premier League home games, but four of those have ended in a draws, and a tally of eight points in 11 league matches since Alan Pardew took the reins points to a side unlikely to survive this season. Southampton, meanwhile, are without a win in 12 Premier League games since beating Everton in November, but have made a name for themselves as draw merchants, which is how I see this game ending. Score prediction: 0-0 Arsenal vs. Everton Arsenal have had an impressive January transfer window and will be up against a side who purchased one of their previous stalwarts, who in turn has been sensational so far for his new side. The Gunners are in desperate need of a return to form, having won only three of their last 11 league matches and losing at Swansea last time out, but may not even be able to call on record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he is a doubt with illness. Everton's topsy-turvy season is currently on the up again as victory over Leicester in midweek ended a seven-match winless run, and former Gunner Theo Walcott was instrumental with his brace. It's on the cards isn't it? Arsenal to take the lead, Everton to draw level and Walcott to score an injury-time winner which will not be celebrated by the player who spent over a decade at the Emirates Stadium. Score prediction: 1-2 Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  23. The January 2018 transfer window is now officially shut, and what a frantic, breathless affair it's been at times. From the striker merry-go-round involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund to the swap deal involving Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Philippe Coutinho's departure to Barcelona, it's really been a whirlwind month. In fact, the whole Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool story, making the Dutchman the most expensive defender in history, feels like ancient news, so manic has the window been. Indeed, from a Premier League perspective it's been not only the January window with the highest outlay, but transfer deadline day also saw the most money spent, both trumping the records set by the 2011 window. So, where does each Premier League team stand in terms of incomings and outgoings? Here is a comprehensive list. ARSENAL In Konstantinos Mavropanos - PAS Giannina, £1.8m Henrikh Mkhitaryan - Manchester United, swap deal Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Borussia Dortmund, £60m Out Olivier Giroud - Chelsea, £15.3m plus £2.2m add-ons Alexis Sanchez - Manchester United, swap deal Theo Walcott - Everton, £20m Francis Coquelin - Valencia, undisclosed Tafari Moore - Wycombe Wanderers, loan Ben Sheaf - Stevenage, loan Jeff Reine-Adelaide - Angers, loan Mathieu Debuchy - St Etienne, undisclosed Stephy Mavididi - Charlton, loan Marcus McGuane - Barcelona, undisclosed Chuba Akpom - Sint-Truidense, loan Krystian Bielik - Walsall, loan Julio Pleguezuelo - Gimnastic, loan BOURNEMOUTH In None Out Connor Mahoney - Barnsley, loan Mihai Dobre - Rochdale, loan Lewis Grabban - Aston Villa, loan Benik Afobe - Wolves, loan Aaron Ramsdale - Chesterfield, loan Shaun Hobson - Chester, loan Ryan Allsop - Lincoln, loan BRIGHTON In Leonardo Ulloa - Leicester, loan Warren O'Hara - Bohemians, undisclosed fee Jurgen Locadia - PSV, £14.1m Viktor Gyokeres - Brommapojkarna, undisclosed Out Jamie Murphy - Rangers, loan Kazenga LuaLua - Sunderland, free Ben Hall - Notts County, loan Jordan Maguire-Drew - Coventry, loan BURNLEY In Georges-Kevin N'Koudou - Tottenham, loan Aaron Lennon - Everton, undisclosed Out Dan Agyei - Blackpool, loan Alex Whitmore - Chesterfield, free Tom Anderson - Doncaster, loan Jimmy Dunne - Accrington, loan Luke Hendrie - Shrewsbury, undisclosed CHELSEA In Olivier Giroud - Arsenal, £15.3m plus £2.2m add-ons Ross Barkley - Everton, £15m plus add-ons Emerson Palmieri - Roma, £17.6m Out Michy Batshuayi - Dortmund, loan Jake Clarke-Salter - Sunderland, loan Kenedy - Newcastle, loan Baba Rahman - Schalke, loan Charly Musonda - Celtic, loan Todd Kane - Oxford, loan Kasey Palmer - Derby, loan Ike Ugbo - MK Dons, loan CRYSTAL PALACE In Alexander Sorloth - FC Midtjylland, undisclosed Jaroslaw Jach - Zagłebie Lubin, undisclosed Erdal Rakip - Benfica, loan Out Noor Husin - Notts County, undisclosed fee Keshi Anderson - Swindon, undisclosed Sully Kaikai - Charlton, loan Freddie Ladapo - Southend, undisclosed Andre Coker - Maidstone, loan EVERTON In Cenk Tosun - Besiktas, £27m Theo Walcott - Everton, £20m Eliaquim Mangala - Manchester City, loan Out Ross Barkley - Chelsea, £15m plus add-ons Liam Walsh - Bristol City, undisclosed Kevin Mirallas - Olympiakos, loan Harry Charsley - Bolton, loan Aaron Lennon - Burnley, undisclosed Sandro Ramirez - Sevilla, loan Ademola Lookman - RB Leipzig, loan Mo Besic - Middlesbrough, loan Gethin Jones - Fleetwood, free Boris Mathis - Northampton, loan Louis Gray - Carlisle, loan HUDDERSFIELD In Terence Kongolo - Monaco, loan Alex Pritchard - Norwich, £11m Out Jack Payne - Blackburn, loan Joe Lolley - Nottingham Forest, undisclosed Martin Crainie - Middlesbrough, undisclosed Jack Boyle - Clyde, loan Dylan Cogill - Clyde, loan Cedwyn Scott - Dundee, undisclosed LEICESTER CITY In Adrien Silva - Sporting Lisbon, £22m Fousseni Diabate - Gazelec Ajaccio, undisclosed Callum Wright - Blackburn, undisclosed Out Raul Uche - Real Betis, loan Leonardo Ulloa - Brighton, loan Ahmed Musa - CSKA Moscow, loan Islam Slimani - Newcastle, loan Andy King - Swansea, loan LIVERPOOL In Virgil van Dijk - Southampton, £75m Tony Gallagher - Falkirk, £200,000 Out Philippe Coutinho - Barcelona, £146m Daniel Sturridge - West Brom, loan Cameron Brannagan - Oxford United, undisclosed Ryan Kent - Bristol City, loan Marko Grujic - Cardiff, loan Lloyd Jones - Luton, undisclosed Ovie Ejaria - Sunderland, loan Harry Wilson - Hull, loan Lazar Markovic - Anderlecht, loan Jon Flanagan - Bolton, loan Corey Whelan - Yeovil, loan Matty Virtue - Notts County, loan MANCHESTER CITY In Aymeric Laporte - Athletic Bilbao, £57m Jack Harrison - New York City, undisclosed Out Eliaquim Mangala - Everton, loan Isaac Buckley-Ricketts - Oxford United, loan Kean Bryan - Oldham, loan Marlos Moreno - Flamengo, loan Ashley Smith-Brown - Oxford, loan Jack Harrison - Middlesbrough, loan Jacob Davenport - Burton, loan Charlie Oliver - Fleetwood, loan Shay Facey - Northampton, undisclosed Chidi Nwakali - Aberdeen, loan MANCHESTER UNITED In Alexis Sanchez - Arsenal, swap deal Matej Kovar - FC Slovacko, undisclosed Out Henrikh Mkhitaryan - Arsenal, swap deal James Wilson - Sheffield United, loan Demetri Mitchell - Hearts, loan Axel Tuanzebe - Aston Villa, loan Charlie Scott- Hamilton, loan Matty Willock - St Johnstone, loan NEWCASTLE UNITED In Kenedy - Chelsea, loan Islam Slimani - Leicester, loan Martin Dubravka - Sparta Prague, loan Out Adam Armstrong - Blackburn, loan Dan Barlaser - Crewe, loan Jamie Sterry - Crewe, loan Henri Saviet - Sivasspor, loan Rolando Aarons - Hellas Verona, loan Freddie Woodman - Aberdeen, loan Jack Colback - Nottingham Forest, loan Aleksandar Mitrovic - Fulham, loan Ivan Toney - Scunthorpe, loan SOUTHAMPTON In Guido Carrillo - Monaco, £19.1m Out Virgil van Dijk - Liverpool, £75m Marcus Barnes - Yeovil, loan Ryan Seager - Yeovil, loan Matt Targett - Fulham, loan STOKE CITY In Badou Ndiaye - Galatasaray, undisclosed Moussa Niakete - Paris FC, free Moritz Bauer - Rubin Kazan, undisclosed fee Kostas Stafylidis - Augsburg, loan Out Harry Souttar - Ross County, loan Josh Tymon - MK Dons, loan Julien Ngoy - Walsall, loan SWANSEA CITY In Andre Ayew - West Ham, £18m Andy King - Leicester, loan Jack Withers - Boston United, undisclosed Out Adam King - Mansfield, loan Jay Fulton, Wigan, loan Joe Rodon - Cheltenham, loan Oli McBurnie - Barnsley, loan Josh Sheehan - Newport, free Roque Mesa - Sevilla, loan TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR In Lucas Moura - PSG, £25m Out Georges-Kevin N'Koudou - Burnley, loan Marcus Edwards - Norwich, loan Anton Walkes - Portsmouth, loan Luke Amos - Stevenage, loan Ryan Loft - Exeter, loan Cameron Carter-Vickers - Ipswich, loan Shayon Harrison - Southend, loan WATFORD In Pontus Dahlberg - IFK Gothenburg, undisclosed Gerard Deulofeu - Barcelona, loan Dodi Lukebakio - Anderlecht, undisclosed Didier Ndong - Sunderland, loan Out Alex Jakubiak - Falkirk, loan Michael Folivi - Boreham Wood, loan Charlie Rowan - Accrington Stanley, loan Brice Dja Djedje - Lens, loan Randell Williams - Wycombe, loan Isaac Success - Malaga, loan Costel Pantilimon - Nottingham Forest, loan Pontus Dahlberg - IFK Gothenburg, loan WEST BROMWICH ALBION In Ahmed Hegazi - Al Ahly, undisclosed Ali Gabr - Zamalek FC, loan Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool, loan Out Kane Wilson - Exeter, loan Shaun Donnellan - Yeovil, freee Tahvon Campbell - Forest Green, loan Kyle Edwards - Exeter, loan Tyler Roberts - Leeds United, £2.5m Kyle Howkins - Port Vale, loan Max Melbourne - Ross County, loan WEST HAM UNITED In Jordan Hugill - Preston, undisclosed Joao Mario - Inter Milan, loan Out Andre Ayew - Swansea, £18m Martin Samuelsen - Burton, loan Diafra Sakho - Rennes, undisclosed Reece Burke - Bolton, loan Reece Oxford - Borussia Monchengladbach, loan Moses Makasi - Plymouth, loan Share your thoughts about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  24. Seven Premier League fixtures AND transfer deadline day - who says a popular Danish beer company doesn't do football days? Here is Football Manics' preview of Wednesday's top-flight games - see how they will pan out. Chelsea vs. Bournemouth Chelsea, who will be boosted by the return of Thibaut Courtois in goal, will be hoping to keep up the pressure on second-placed Manchester United and, given their good form and clean sheet streak at home, will fancy their chances against Bournemouth. The Cherries, however, are also boasting good form, with three draws and two wins in their last five league games, and Ryan Fraser has scored three goals in his last three league appearances. Bournemouth are also more than capable of beating the reigning champions on their own turf, having done so against Chelsea in 2015-16 and Leicester in 16-17, but on this occasion I think Antonio Conte's side will be fully focused and capable of victory. Score prediction: 3-1 Everton vs. Leicester City Everton have been boosted by Seamus Coleman's inclusion in the squad after recovering from a broken leg, but the truth is that the Toffees are in poor form once again, with four defeats in the last five. They'll be up against a side which, if not back to their 2015-16 best, are certainly the closest thing to it in the wobbly days since then, with Claude Puel - they are unbeaten in six league and cup games since the turn of the year and have only conceded one goal during that period. That said, Everton are more than capable of getting a result on their day, while Leicester are being distracted by the future of Riyad Mahrez, so I think this will end as a draw. Score prediction: 1-1 Newcastle United vs. Burnley Newcastle are winless in seven Premier League home games, losing five of them, have scored just three times during this run, and failed to score on five occasions. Needless to say, it's not going well on Tyneside. Burnley's early-season heroics have been tempered by a meek second-half of the campaign - indeed, they could lose their opening five competitive matches of a calendar year for the first time since 1932 and equal their Premier League club record of four consecutive defeats should they fail to prevail at St James' Park. With both sides down in the dumps, I would say that this has draw written all over it, but I have a sneaking feeling that the hosts, boasting Chelsea star Kenedy on loan, might just edge it. Score prediction: 1-0 Southampton vs. Brighton & Hove Albion Another game between two out-of-form teams, Southampton and Brighton both need an improvement in their Premier League form to move away from the danger zone. Mauricio Pellegrino's charges are without a league victory since the end of November, whilst the Seagulls have won only one league game since they took three points at Swansea in early November. That said, both teams won their respective FA Cup ties at the weekend, providing a little bit of a psychological boost, but I think this one will end as a draw. Score prediction: 0-0 Manchester City vs. West Bromwich Albion Sitting pretty 12 points clear at the top of the table and reinforced by the £57m signing of Aymeric Laporte, this would seem like a routine victory type of fixture for Man City. At the same time, West Brom not only beat the team that last beat the Citizens - Liverpool - in the FA Cup at the weekend, but they have also pulled off a coup with the loan signing of Daniel Sturridge, one of the best English strikers out there when fit. Top versus bottom, a seemingly foregone conclusion as a result, but how often have we seen David topple Goliath? I'll probably regret this come 10pm when City have won 5-0, but I'm going to call this a draw. Score prediction: 2-2 Stoke City vs. Watford It's a funny old Premier League season, this - more than half of the teams are either in the drop zone or nervously looking over their shoulder. You'd think the league's 11th-placed side would be fairly safe against 18th, but Watford are just three points off the bottom three. The Hornets have been in freefall for a while now and were not able to follow up their win over Leicester with a good run of form - indeed, they have lost three and drawn one in the league since. Despite sitting in the relegation zone, Stoke won their last league game, against Huddersfield, and have won a league-high 74% of their points in home games this season, so I think they'll come up trumps in this clash. Score prediction: 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United A side desperate to climb back into the top four against the last hope of catching up to Man City, this is the standout fixture of the matchday. Spurs are on an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions, but the Red Devils have kept six successive clean sheets and five wins on the spin. On the flipside for the hosts, they have earned just three points in five games this season against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, which is fewer than any other current top-six side in these fixtures. Jose Mourinho has a great record against Tottenham, having won 12 matches against them in all competitions, and I have the sneaking feeling that the Special One will make it 13. Score prediction: 0-2 Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  25. Watford have signed Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu on loan until the end of the season. The 23-year-old returns to the Premier League just seven months after Barca triggered their buy-back clause to sign him from Everton. Deulofeu previously played for the Toffees on loan during the 2013-14 season before making a permanent move to Goodison Park in 2015. He has struggled for game time over the last few months, playing just nine minutes since the end of November. Watford assistant coach Zigor Aranalde told reporters on Tuesday: "We know the qualities that he has got and he is a fantastic player coming from Barcelona. "He has not had minutes at Barcelona and he needs to play and this is a magnificent club to go forward. "We know what kind of player he is. He is a Spanish international, and a Barcelona player. I am sure he will help us to achieve the objective." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.

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