Category Archives: English Premier League

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Southampton signs Wesley Hoedt from Lazio for £15m

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Southampton has announced the arrival of Lazio centre-back Wesley Hoedt for a reported £15m.

Hoedt, a Dutch international, is the second centre-back signed by Mauricio Pellegrino this summer following the arrival of Jan Bednarek for £5.7m in July.

“I’m really happy to be here,” said Hoedt after his official unveiling. “I think Southampton is a really big club, so it’s a good next step for me to come here and to play in the Premier League and try to help the best I can.”

The arrival of both players had increased speculation over Virgil Van Dijk’s future, despite Southampton’s football vice-chairman, Les Reed, reinforcing the chairman Ralph Kreuger’s claim that the defender will stay at St. Mary’s and will “develop alongside” Hoedt, his compatriot.

“Wesley is one of the most promising young defenders in Europe and represents a significant addition to our squad,” Reed said in an official statement.

“We believe he can develop even further here at Southampton, alongside his international team-mate Virgil van Dijk, as well as the likes of Jack Stephens, Maya Yoshida, Jan Bednarek and Florin Gardos. With Wesley joining those players, we believe we have the right amount of quality, depth and flexibility to help us achieve our aims this season.”

However, although he had took part in training with the Saints’ under-23s squad on Monday, Van Dijk is still unavailable for selection after being heavily linked with a summer transfer to bigger clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City and submitting a transfer request earlier this month.

Marcos Alonso strikes twice for Chelsea victory over Tottenham

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Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso struck twice to help the Blues rebound from their opening-day defeat to Burnley with a 2-1 derby victory over Tottenham.

Despite missing key players in Eden Hazard, Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas through either injuries or suspension, the defending Premier League Champions nonetheless grabbed the lead through a perfectly driven free-kick by Alonso in the first half.

However, Spurs responded and, despite missed chances looked to have at least earn a point when Blues substitute Michy Batshuayi headed Christian Eriksen’s free-kick into his own net with eight minutes left.

When it looked as if Tottenham would be able to finish the game with a point, Alonso struck once more with a powerfully struck shot inside the near post that slid underneath Hugo Lloris to earn Chelsea the full three points.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who had to endure a week of scrutiny after their opening day defeat to Burnley and a difficult summer transfer window thanked and praised his depleted team’s response in the face of incredible adversity.

“I want to thank every one of my players,” Conte said. “They showed me great desire, great spirit, great will, great heart, great will to fight.

“I saw fighters in a moment that’s not easy for us with the suspensions and the injuries. We suffered during the game, but we were always dangerous in every moment.”

““I must be satisfied because my players gave me everything today,” Conte added. “They did the same last season. There will be more great difficulties in this season, but the only way we can get through these difficulties is to work.”

Defeat for Tottenham also meant that their 19-game home Premier League unbeaten run — a streak maintained since Southampton in May 2016 — ended, and their Wembley curse continues in that the London club have lost their past four games against Chelsea at Wembley.

Tottenham closing in on first signing of the transfer window

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Tottenham are currently on the verge of completing their first deal of this summer transfer window, with Ajax centre-half Davinson Sanchez set to join the London Club for a club record fee of up to £42m.

Spurs, who saw the departure of Federico Fazio to Roma and Kyle Walker to Premier League rivals Manchester City, had remarkably lacked any links or made no approach to sign new players into their fold — a fact lamented by club coach Mauricio Pochettino.

However, Pochettino has made known his interest in signing 21-year old Sanchez, after an impressive debut season in European football alongside Ajax where the Dutch side reached the Europa League final.

Tottenham officials had already travelled to Amsterdam earlier in the week in an attempt to negotiate a deal, with the Dutch side initially adamant that they would not sell for less than €50m.

It was reported that their first bid, worth an initial £25m, was rejected but a new offer that will see Spurs pay £28m up front with up to £14m in performance-related bonuses has been agreed in principle.

Tottenham will also have a boost in that Sanchez has already indicated his desire to move to north London despite interest from Chelsea, making it expected that he will sign a five-year contract with Pochettino’s side.

Meanwhile, Tottenham and Pochettino retain their interest in the Celta Vigo midfielder Pape Cheikh but have yet to negotiate a fee for the Spain youth international, as well as in the Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, although Spurs are unwilling to pay his £30m asking price.

Premier League Champions Chelsea loses opening day game to Burnley

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Premier League Champions Chelsea suffered a stuttering start to their new Premier League season after a 2-3 defeat to Burnley and having two players sent off in the match.

Blues Captain Gary Cahill was quickly removed from the pitch on 13 minutes for a late studs up challenge on Steven Defour.

With numerical advantage, Burnley quickly exploited the newfound space With Sam Vokes netting twice — a header and a volley — on either side of a lashing angled drive from Stephen Ward.

However, Chelsea did came back into the game in the second half, with summer signing Alvaro Morata scoring his first goal for the club before Cesc Fabregas was also sent off after being shown a second yellow card.

David Luiz then fired home for Chelsea from inside the box after being set up by a Morata header to set up a frantic final few minutes, during which Burnley struck the post through Robbie Brady before holding on to take the three points.

However, as title defenses go the Blues were off to their worst start — it was their first opening-day league defeat since 1998 and they have now had four men sent off in their last three competitive games, dating back to last season’s FA Cup final.

For Burnley, it was a rare away win from Turf Moor — they had only one playing away from home last season in their battle against relegation — a 2-0 win against fellow survivors Crystal Palace on 29 April.

Their survival then had also heavily depended on their form at Turf Moor. Although they picked up 33 points at home, they mustered just seven away — and just one between the start of the season and the end of February, with a goalless draw at Manchester United on 29 October.