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Ferran Torres given first full Barcelona run out against Real Madrid

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Ferran Torres set for first Barcelona start against Real Madrid in El Clasico

Torres given El Clasico nod

New Barcelona signing Ferran Torres has been given the nod by Xavi to make his full club debut against bitter rivals Real Madrid tonight in their Supercopa de España clash in Saudi Arabia.

The Spanish international starlet will have a chance to endear himself to the Blaugrana faithful for the first time after being named ahead of La Masia graduate Ansu Fati and Dutch international star Memphis Depay as Xavi looks to orchestrate a crucial win over Carlo Ancelotti’s outfit.

Expectations around Torres continue to swirl after the former Manchester City forward left the Etihad and opted for a return home to join Xavi’s budding youth revolution at Barcelona this season in the wake of Ronald Koeman’s departure.

Also included in tonight’s XI are Uruguayan centre-back Ronald Araujo and Spanish midfield starlet Gavi, both of whom are part of the fifteen-player cadre of players that ate 22-years-old or younger in the Barcelona setup currently being stockpiled in Catalunya.

Barcelona preparing for further January deals

Barcelona look set to remain busy for much of the remainder of the January window after the club has been linked with multiple moves at the Camp Nou as the squad rebuild continues.

Ferran Torres set for first Barcelona start against Real Madrid in El Clasico

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 07: Ferran Torres of Manchester City in action during the The FA Community Shield between Manchester City and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium on August 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

With Samuel Umtiti extending his contract on reduced wages, Barça was able to register Ferran Torres but will look to add to the squad further if they are able.

Philippe Coutinho’s completed loan move to Aston Villa gives the club additional latitude to maneuver, and the club has been linked with interest in Rayo Vallecano keeper Stole Dimitrievski as well as Juventus forward Álvaro Morata with Austrian starlet Yusuf Demir also looking set to leave the club on the back of his loan deal from parent club Rapid Wien scheduled for termination.


This article was edited by
Ben Browning.





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Premier League relegation race: Odds and tips 2021/22

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Sean Dyche's Burnley have flirted with relegation all season

The race is on for survival in the Premier League, with teams desperate to avoid the ignominy of relegation to the Championship next season.

Following promotion under Daniel Farke, Norwich have been favourites all season long to drop back down to the second tier and continue their recent history of yo-yoing between the two divisions, while several Premier League regulars have joined them this year.

Survival is worth upwards of £100 million per year, and here 101 Great Goals looks at relegation odds for 2021/22 from the Premier League and which teams are favourites to go down.

Relegation favourites

Norwich secured a massive victory on Friday evening as they defeated relegation rivals, Watford. The Canaries have now completed back to back wins in the league in a huge boost for their survival bid, climbing out of the bottom three for the first time this season in the meantime. They will be looking nervously over their shoulder however, with all three teams below them with games in hand, meaning they are 1/4 favourites to be relegated straight back down. The Canaries were written off at the start of the season but their recent form suggests they’re ready to put up a strong fight.

Burnley are currently rock bottom of the table with 12 points after 18 matches, but have four games in hand on Norwich due to a succession of postponed matches in recent weeks. Sean Dyche’s side have a history of clawing their way out of trouble at this time of year and gained a point away at Arsenal on Sunday, but with just one win to their name all season they face an uphill battle to do it once again, and are 1/2 to finally end their Premier League stay. To make things even more difficult, they will have to do it without Chris Wood who left for Newcastle earlier in the transfer window and thus depriving Burnley of their main source of goals.

Watford are reportedly set for yet another managerial change following an embarrassing defeat to Norwich on Friday, losing 3-0 to the side favourites to go down this year. Claudio Ranieri is already their second manager this season and the Pozzos could be tempted into another change following a winless run since their win over Manchester United in November. With a tricky fixture list to come, they must get something from a trip to Turf Moor and with relegation odds of 2/7 to go down they face a tough ask.

Josh Sargent scored in the vital win over Watford

Josh Sargent scored in the vital win over Watford (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Relegation outsiders

Following their recent major takeover, Newcastle will be desperate to avoid the drop. The transfer budget available to them has encouraged hopes of survival despite just two wins so far this season, but with Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier on board they have already claimed five points from their last three games. The latest match – a surprise win away at Leeds on Saturday – has reignited hopes of a miraculous escape, but their will need to be more additions for them to escape the bottom three but at 11/8 should fancy themselves to have the quality to get out of it.

Leeds have been badly hit by injuries this season and their form has taken a hit because of it. With key players such as Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips missing large chunks of the season, it is no surprise that a thin squad has struggled on the pitch and defeat to Newcastle threatens to pull them back into the dog-fight after successive wins looked to have eased fears. They remain seven points clear of the bottom three and are expected to welcome back key players in the coming weeks, but a bad run of form could see 6/1 odds for relegation prove good value.

After a bright start to the season, Everton subsided quickly under Rafael Benitez and gradually slid towards the bottom of the league. There is plenty of unrest around Goodison, with fans protesting against the board during Saturday’s defeat to Aston Villa in the midst of a run that has seen just one win in their last 13. Duncan Ferguson has taken the reigns as caretaker manager although he is likely to soon be replaced by a permanent manager as they seek to prove odds of 9/2 to be relegated wrong.

Brentford have been dragged into the relegation battle following four consecutive defeats. Having made a strong start to life in the top flight, Thomas Frank’s side look to be running out of steam, but are eight points above the bottom three in 14th place. Every team below them has games in hand and table could start to look at lot worse for them in a few weeks time, and on current form, relegation odds of 6/1 could prove very good value.

The signing of Kieran Trippier is expected to be crucial for Newcastle's survival hopes

The signing of Kieran Trippier is expected to be crucial for Newcastle’s survival hopes (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

For our latest betting tips and previews, visit our Football Betting Tips page.




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Arteta provides Tomiyasu fitness update & speaks out over transfer plans

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Arsenal fans look away: Mikel Arteta provides Tomiyasu fitness update & speaks out over transfer plans

 

The post-game comments made by Mikel Arteta on the back of Arsenal’s meeting with Burnley this afternoon are unlikely to ease the collective concerns of the Gunners faithful.

Arteta of course guided his side back into action a short time ago, welcoming Sean Dyche’s bottom-of-the-table Burnley to the Emirates for a crunch Premier League clash.

When all was said and done in north London, however, the Gunners saw their top-4 hopes dealt an altogether considerable blow, courtesy of an alarming 0-0 stalemate.

Those of an Arsenal persuasion, in turn, have since made their frustrations clear, amid widespread calls for fresh additions to the club’s ranks before the January transfer window slams shut in just eight days’ time.

The latest comments on the part of boss Arteta regarding such efforts, however, are unlikely to fill fans of the capital club with much confidence.

“The market is difficult, it’s complicated. New signings? Yes, we are certainly trying. I don’t know if we’ll be able to do it, but let’s see”, the Spaniard explained.

And the concerning news from an Arsenal perspective did not end there, with Arteta having also provided an update on the wellbeing of defender Takehiro Tomiyasu.

Summer arrival Tomiyasu was forced to sit out the action at the Emirates on Sunday, owing to what was described pre-match as a ‘tight calf’.

When pressed on the Japanese international’s situation on the back of the action coming to a close at the Emirates, though, Mikel Arteta certainly appeared to hint that Tomiyasu’s issue is more serious than simple tightness: “Tomi had an injury and we didn’t have anybody to play in that position against Liverpool.

“He needs to recover and look after himself, to try and be available as quick as he can. He will be out for a few weeks.”

North Londoners stuttering

Arsenal’s latest disappointing result this afternoon has since given rise to a series of concerning statistics surrounding the form of Mikel Arteta’s men.

The Gunners have now managed just a solitary goal since the turn of the year, amid concerns that the club’s push for Champions League football may soon go completely up in smoke.

No stat, however, is likely to raise more widespread alarm on the part of the club’s fanbase than the fact that, across five outings in 2022, Arsenal are yet to secure a single victory:

 

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This article was edited by
Josh Barker.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 23 41 57
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 23 28 44
4 Manchester United 22 6 38
5 West Ham United 23 10 37
6 Tottenham Hotspur 19 4 36
7 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 3 34
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 21 0 29
10 Aston Villa 21 -4 26
11 Leicester City 19 -3 25
12 Southampton FC 22 -8 25
13 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
14 Brentford FC 23 -12 23
15 Leeds United 21 -16 22
16 Everton FC 20 -11 19
17 Norwich City 22 -32 16
18 Newcastle United 21 -22 15
19 Watford FC 20 -17 14
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6





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Tottenham fans mock Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku at Stamford Bridge

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Tottenham fans mock Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku at Stamford Bridge

Tottenham fans at Chelsea’s ground on Sunday have moved to mock Romelu Lukaku, courtesy of a new chant.

The chant in question, directed at the Belgian following his start for the Blues on Sunday, went as follows: “Romelu Lukaku, he’s Inter Milan.”

This, of course, comes on the back of that Romelu Lukaku interview.

For those not aware, the hitman last year held a pretty controversial interview which was released at the back end of December.

The discussion, conducted by Sky Italia, caused quite a stir amongst the Chelsea faithful, not all that surprising when taking into account Lukaku’s comments:

In the same interview, the 28-year-old expressed his desire to play for Inter again, whilst reiterating that he still loves the Italian club: “I don’t think any of it should have happened the way it did. The way I left Inter and the way I communicated with the Inter fans.

“I’m annoyed about that because it’s not the right time now but it wasn’t the right time when I left either. “I always said that I love Inter and I’ll play for them again. I really hope so. I fell in love with Italy.”

Chelsea vs Tottenham

Chelsea fans, though, will be hopeful that Lukaku can put his poor form behind him on Sunday, to fire their side past Spurs.

The score is currently locked at 0-0, but Chelsea have had the better of the game so far.

As has become a common occurrence of late, however, the west Londoners have not taken any of the chances created.

 

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This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 23 41 57
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 23 28 44
4 Manchester United 22 6 38
5 West Ham United 23 10 37
6 Tottenham Hotspur 19 4 36
7 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 3 34
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 21 0 29
10 Aston Villa 21 -4 26
11 Leicester City 19 -3 25
12 Southampton FC 22 -8 25
13 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
14 Brentford FC 23 -12 23
15 Leeds United 21 -16 22
16 Everton FC 20 -11 19
17 Norwich City 22 -32 16
18 Newcastle United 21 -22 15
19 Watford FC 20 -17 14
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6





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