Daily Archives: December 23, 2016

Crystal Palace dismisses manager Alan Pardew

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Crystal Palace dismissed manager Alan Pardew after almost two years in charge following a string of disastrous results.

Sam “Big Sam” Allardyce is the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Pardew; his representative was understood to have talks with Palace’s chairman, Steve Parish, on Thursday evening.

Pardew was appointed on a three-and-a-half-year deal in January 2015, but the 55-year-old has been dismissed after a run of one victory in 11 games.

Crystal Palace also lost eight of their past 10 league games, and 22 over the calendar year, to slump to within a point of the Premier League relegation zone.

“I would just like to take the opportunity to thank everybody at Crystal Palace for their fantastic support,” Pardew said in a statement following his dismissal. “In particular a big thanks to the players who gave me absolutely everything and Steve Parish and his board.”

“Personally I have a lot of good feelings for this football club and am sad that my time there has ended. I feel that I have a special bond with the club and hope that hasn’t been affected.”

“Relegation is so costly and I feel, with no blame attached, we got ourselves in a rut and need a change,” Parish said.

“We hope a change will change things. We all bought into the decision to play a more expansive style of football. We all believed in it. That hasn’t worked. It’s no one’s fault. The players have been running their socks off for Alan, the spirit is good. But now we’re going to wind the dial back the other way.”

Meanwhile, Palace is yet to confirm who will take charge of the team for their league fixture at Watford on Boxing Day.

PSG and Wolfsburg reaches agreement for Julian Draxler

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Paris Saint-Germain have reached an agreement with VfL Wolfsburg for the transfer of Julian Draxler during the upcoming January transfer window.

Both parties are understood to have struck a deal of €35 million with the potential to rise by another €10 million in bonuses for the man from Gladbeck, which both parties find acceptable.

Draxler, 23, has also already spoken with PSG’s director of football Patrick Kluivert, and sources claimed that only the finishing touches are missing from a three or four-and-a-half-year contract at Parc des Princes for the 2014 FIFA World Cup winner.

PSG is also reportedly keen to try and sign Draxler’s team-mate Ricardo Rodriguez, but any deal would see Rodriguez first loaned back to Wolfsburg for the final six months of the season.

Draxler started his career with Schalke 04 and enjoyed four promising years at Veltins-Arena before making the move to Wolfsburg’s Volkswagen Arena. But as the club faltered partly due to the financial impact of VW’s emissions scandal, they find themselves fighting relegation.

The versatile attacker has also been criticised for his attitude with Wolfsburg this season after failing to secure a move away this summer. But he did assist Mario Gomez’s goal in the 2-1 away win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday – in what is now expected to be his final action for Die Wolfe.

Meanwhile, the likely arrival of Draxler could opened the door for Jese Rodriguez to leave Paris in January, as PSG enter talks with the Spaniard’s hometown club of UD Las Palmas over a loan deal until the end of the season.

Jese has already agreed to the temporary switch and it is now up to the two clubs to find an agreement.

Bayern strikes three past Leipzig for empathic title claim

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Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich swept aside second-placed RB Leipzig in the Allianz Arena with three first-half goals to place a strong title claim.

Thiago Alcantara and Xabi Alonso got Bayern off to a flying start with two goals in a seven-minute spell midway through the first half, while striker Robert Lewandowski added a third from a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Bayern moved three points clear of promoted Leipzig, who had previously lost only one game, at the top as the Bundesliga reached its winter break.

“I’m very satisfied. We were very aggressive and quickly got the game under control,” Bayern’s manager Carlo Ancelotti said after the game.

His Leipzig counterpart, Ralph Hasenhuttl, also recognised Bayern’s superiority.

“That was a lesson for us and a top performance from Bayern. Our system only works when everyone is in synchrony and that wasn’t the case today. I’m still proud of what the team has achieved until now. You don’t get a point deducted for losing 3-0.”

Leipzig had started well, but Bayern managed to get their crucial first goal after 17 minutes which also set the tone for the rest of the game. Philipp Lahm sent in a low cross from the right which Lewandowski fired against the post, but Thiago managed to force the ball over the line with his thigh.

Eight minutes later, Naby Keita was dispossessed by Arturo Vidal in midfield and the ball was quickly worked to Alonso who scored with an angled shot.

Things got worse for Leipzig when Emil Forsberg halted a Lahm breakaway with a studs-up challenge from behind. The referee got out a yellow card but changed to it red amid Bayern protests and after consulting with his linesman – and Leipzig was left to play for an hour with just 10-men from then on.

Another Leipzig error led to the third goal when Douglas Costa was clumsily sent flying by the goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi and Lewandowski converted the penalty.