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Manchester United set to renew Pau Torres interest ahead of summer rebuild

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Manchester United set to renew Pau Torres interest ahead of summer rebuild

Manchester United are ready to renew their interest in Villareal defender Pau Torres as they look to strengthen their defence ahead of the arrival of new boss Erik ten Hag this summer.

The Red Devils have been shambolic in defence this campaign, despite adding World Cup winner Raphael Varane to their squad in the summer, with the Frenchman rarely fit for the biggest games and Harry Maguire struggling significantly under Ralf Rangnick.

As a result, defensive reinforcements are expected to be targetted this summer as part of a major rebuild at the club to make them competitive again, with their beginning of the season title charge having floundered into a fight to even finish in the Champions League spots, despite the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo.

And one of those targetted is Pau Torres, who turned down a move away from Villareal last summer after helping his side defeat the Red Devils in the Europa League final courtesy of a penalty shoot out.

Manchester United set to renew Pau Torres interest ahead of summer rebuild

GDANSK, POLAND – MAY 26: Pau Torres of Villarreal CF celebrates with the UEFA Europa League Trophy following the UEFA Europa League Final between Villarreal CF and Manchester United at Gdansk Arena on May 26, 2021 in Gdansk, Poland. (Photo by Michael Sohn – Pool/Getty Images)

As per the Manchester Evening news, however, ‘Torres would be open to offers at the end of the season, although he is in no rush to leave Villarreal as his main focus is on a strong end to the season with his boyhood club.’

And Manchester United have once again expressed their interest in the Spaniard, though should they be unable to offer Champions League football it is unclear how attractive a proposition the club will be to the Spaniard.

Akanji an alternative?

Meanwhile, an alternative option in defence may have emerged for the Red Devils, with Manuel Akanji about to fall down the pecking order as Borussia Dortmund have reportedly agreed a deal with SC Freiburg for defender Nico Schlotterbeck.

With Niklas Sule also joining the Black and Yellow this summer, and Mats Hummels still at the club, Akanji’s chances of gametime are now looking slim, and Manchester United could offer him a way out.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 31 52 74
2 Liverpool FC 31 57 73
3 Chelsea FC 30 41 62
4 Tottenham Hotspur 32 18 57
5 Manchester United 32 8 54
6 Arsenal FC 31 8 54
7 West Ham United 33 9 52
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 32 5 49
9 Leicester City 30 -4 40
10 Brighton & Hove Albion 32 -8 40
11 Brentford FC 33 -8 39
12 Southampton FC 32 -14 39
13 Crystal Palace 31 3 37
14 Newcastle United 32 -19 37
15 Aston Villa 31 -4 36
16 Leeds United 32 -30 33
17 Everton FC 30 -19 28
18 Burnley FC 31 -19 25
19 Watford FC 32 -32 22
20 Norwich City 32 -44 21
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 20
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 17
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 15
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 15
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 13
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur 12
Toney, Ivan Brentford FC 12
De Bruyne, Kevin Manchester City 11
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace 11
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 10
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 10
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 10
Pukki, Teemu Norwich City 10
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 10
Raphinha Leeds United 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 10
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 9
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 9
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 9
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 9



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What is still up for grabs on the Premier League final day?

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What is still up for grabs on the Premier League final day?

The end of one of the most intense and exciting Premier League seasons is on the horizon, with the final day fixtures all kicking off at 4 pm on Sunday. And, for the first time in the history of the division, all of the title race, relegation scrap and chase for European spots are up for grabs in the last round of fixtures.

Better yet, only three clubs have nothing still to play for this season (Norwich, Watford and Chelsea), with every other club still able to change positions should results go one way or another on the final day.

Here’s everything that still needs to be decided on the final day.

The title race

Both Manchester City and Liverpool can still have their name etched onto the Premier League trophy for this season with favourable results.

It has caused something of a logistical nightmare too, with the actual Premier League trophy set to be in Manchester while a replica is being taken to Liverpool in case the Reds manage to overturn the deficit.

So, what is needed? Manchester City sit a point clear, and have a superior goal difference, meaning that if they win, the title will be theirs no matter what Liverpool do.

Therefore, Liverpool need to win against Wolves and hope that Guardiola’s side are held to a draw or are beaten by Aston Villa. A draw will not be good enough for Klopp’s side, regardless of the result at the Etihad Stadium.

European hopefuls

Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are all assured of their Champions League berths next season, but beyond that, which competition Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and West Ham play in next season is still to be decided.

Tottenham head to Carrow Road knowing that a draw will be enough against bottom of the league and already-relegated Norwich to ensure they take the fourth Champions League spot.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are relying on Spurs to lose, while they themselves need to beat Everton. Should those results occur, they will leapfrog their north London rivals into the final Champions League spot. In all likelihood, however, they will be playing Europa League football next season.

But who will join them in Europe’s second-tier competition is as of yet unknown. Manchester United are in the driving seat, but their poor goal difference means that should they not pick up three points against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, West Ham could leapfrog them with a win against Brighton.

Should West Ham not win, or Manchester United grab all three points, it will be the Red Devils in the Europa League next season, while the Hammers will have to make do with Conference League football.

Waving the Premier League goodbye

Norwich and Watford have already seen their relegation from the Premier League confirmed, but the third relegation spot is still up in the air.

Everton ensured that they no longer need to concern themselves, winning against Crystal Palace in midweek to ensure that they will be a Premier League club next season. However, one of either Burnley or Leeds will be relegated come the end of Sunday’s fixtures, with both currently tied on 35 points.

Leeds face a tricky trip to Brentford, knowing that their awful goal difference has left their destiny out of their hands. They need to better Burnley’s result, with the Clarets at home to a resurgent Newcastle United.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 37 72 90
2 Liverpool FC 37 66 89
3 Chelsea FC 37 42 71
4 Tottenham Hotspur 37 24 68
5 Arsenal FC 37 9 66
6 Manchester United 37 1 58
7 West Ham United 37 11 56
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 37 -3 51
9 Leicester City 37 0 49
10 Brighton & Hove Albion 37 -4 48
11 Brentford FC 37 -7 46
12 Newcastle United 37 -19 46
13 Crystal Palace 37 3 45
14 Aston Villa 37 -1 45
15 Southampton FC 37 -21 40
16 Everton FC 37 -19 39
17 Burnley FC 37 -18 35
18 Leeds United 37 -38 35
19 Watford FC 37 -42 23
20 Norwich City 37 -56 22
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 22
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 21
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 18
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur 16
De Bruyne, Kevin Manchester City 15
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 15
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 15
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 14
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 13
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace 13
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 12
Toney, Ivan Brentford FC 12
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 11
Maddison, James Leicester City 11
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 11
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 11
Richarlison Everton FC 11
Pukki, Teemu Norwich City 11
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa 11
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 10





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Reece James equalled Hazard benchmark in Chelsea’s draw with Leicester

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How Reece James equalled an Eden Hazard benchmark in Chelsea’s meeting with Leicester

 

Chelsea star Reece James secured for himself an altogether impressive benchmark during the club’s meeting with Leicester City on Thursday.

Thomas Tuchel’s troops were of course back in action just shy of 24 hours ago.

Fresh off the back of finale heartbreak, on this occasion in the FA Cup, the Blues welcomed the aforementioned Leicester to Stamford Bridge, with sights set firmly on a bounce-back result.

When all was said and done, however, Chelsea were forced to make do with a share of the spoils, owing to a 1-1 stalemate.

It was Leicester who opened the scoring on the day, courtesy of James Maddison, before Marcos Alonso’s latest strike ensured that the evening’s hosts would not come away empty-handed.

As alluded to above, though, it was Chelsea’s other starting wing-back on Thursday who in fact went on to turn heads post-match.

This came owing to a statistic coming to the fore online, highlighting Reece James’ stellar production in the attacking third across the campaign to date.

As per statisticians Opta, after teeing up Alonso’s equaliser, James became the first Chelsea player aged 22 or younger to rack up eight or more Premier League assists in a single season since Eden Hazard in 2012/13.

Hornets up next

Turning attentions back towards the road ahead, Chelsea will of course close out what has proven an altogether disappointing campaign this weekend, when they welcome Championship-bound Watford to west London.

After surrendering their status as European champions, as well as slipping to defeat in the finals of both the League Cup and FA Cup, Tuchel’s troops are primed to finish 3rd in the Premier League table, potentially as many as 22 points adrift of the eventual champions.

 

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5 talking points ahead of the latest Premier League action

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Gameweek 38: 5 talking points ahead of the latest Premier League action

Gameweek 38 of the 2021/22 Premier League season is set to play out over the course of the upcoming weekend.

The action starts and ends on Sunday afternoon with every single side in action at 4 pm UK time.

Ahead of the chaos getting underway, 101 have picked out five key talking points.

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Who will win the Premier League?

As proved the case in 2018/19, the Premier League title race will go down to the final day.

Manchester City are the current leaders, sitting one point clear of Liverpool with a +6 goal difference.

As a result, City will be crowned Premier League champions for a 4th time under Pep Guardiola if they beat Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, or even if they lose and Liverpool fail to beat Wolves.

Arsenal to miss out on Champions League

This season’s race for the top-four has been one of the most entertaining in many years. Both Arsenal and Tottenham have shown their quality at points in the campaign. However, both clubs have also experienced some rather embarrassing spells of form.

And it was Arsenal’s latest dip that looks set to cost them a Champions League place. Mikel Arteta’s side are two points off Spurs with a much worse goal difference.

This means that the only way Arsenal can clinch a top-four place now is by beating Everton and hoping that Spurs somehow lose to Norwich on Sunday.

West Ham back in Europa League?

The hunt for the final Europa League place will go down to the final day.

Manchester United are currently 6th, but are in dismal form and face a tough meeting with Crystal Palace to round out their campaign.

West Ham, meanwhile, are just two points adrift of United with a much better goal difference, meaning they can secure 6th by beating Brighton, whilst the Red Devils fail to get the better of Palace.

Relegation battle continues

Everton secured their Premier League survival on Thursday evening, but the battle to avoid the drop will go down to the final day.

Burnley and Leeds United are currently locked on 35 points, though the former sit 17th due to their +20 goal difference.

This means that Leeds need to better Burnley’s result if they hope to stay up. Jesse Marsch’s side will take on Brentford whilst the Clarets face Newcastle on Sunday.

A top-10 finish

Finally, though not exactly the most exciting achievement, the fight to finish in the top half of the Premier League is too going down to the final day.

Brighton currently sit in 10th place with 48 points. However, any of Brentford, Newcastle, Crystal Palace or Aston Villa could end up in that spot come Sunday evening.

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This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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