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Man City forward beats out stiff competition for Premier League award

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Man City star beats out Ødegaard and more to clinch Premier League award

Sterling bags Player of the Month for December

Manchester City is running away with the Premier League with little surprise as Pep Guardiola’s outfit has pulled ahead to a 10-point lead over Chelsea on the back of an eleven-match-winning run, and much of their recent form can be attributed to England international Raheem Sterling.

Sterling has been scintillating form since coming back into prominence halfway through November, and his five goals and one assist in five Premier League outings during December were justly rewarded with winning the Player of the Month award for December ahead of the likes of Arsenal’s Martin Ødegaard.

The England winger directly contributed on the scoresheet for Guardiola’s City in all five of his appearances during the hectic month, which included a brace in the 6-3 shootout against Leicester City at the Etihad on Boxing Day. Goals against Newcastle, Wolves, and Watford rounded out the end of the year.

Redemption arc at Manchester City

It was not long ago that rumors were rife regarding Raheem Sterling leaving Manchester City to test himself abroad amid interest from Spanish giants Barcelona.

But while Sterling may very well indeed wish to play abroad at some point in what has been a stellar career in the Premier League, ESPN has said that the jury is still out regarding what his future holds for his next contract. That keeps the door open just enough should Sterling opt for an extension at City.

Man City star beats out Ødegaard and more to clinch Premier League award

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 02: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Etihad Stadium on March 2, 2021 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

The sale of Spanish starlet Ferran Torres to Barcelona certainly goes a long way in providing a continuous pathway to minutes for Sterling at City for this season at the very least.

Of course, there is no telling what City will do in the summer especially after the club have been linked with a potential move for Erling Haaland, but for the time being, if 2021-22 is to be Raheem Sterling’s swansong at the Etihad Stadium, he is certainly on course for endearing himself to the blue half of Manchester for years to come.


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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 21 40 53
2 Chelsea FC 21 29 43
3 Liverpool FC 20 34 42
4 West Ham United 21 12 37
5 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 19 3 31
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 19 0 28
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 19 0 27
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Southampton FC 20 -6 24
12 Crystal Palace 20 -1 23
13 Brentford FC 20 -6 23
14 Aston Villa 19 -5 22
15 Everton FC 18 -9 19
16 Leeds United 19 -16 19
17 Watford FC 18 -14 13
18 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
19 Newcastle United 19 -23 11
20 Norwich City 20 -36 10
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 6
Jorginho Chelsea FC 6
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 6
Cornet, Maxwel Burnley FC 6





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Benitez’s Liverpool allegiance too big an obstacle to overcome

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Rafa Benitez lost his job at Everton on Sunday night

Rafa Benitez at Everton always seemed destined to end this way.

The Spanish coach took over from the popular Carlo Ancelotti last summer despite his obvious connections to the red side of Liverpool, and it’s fair to say he only underwhelmed from there.

First of all he was hamstrung in the transfer market with Demarai Gray the only player to join for a fee, and despite an initial good start on the pitch, things went downhill rapidly.

Benitez faced an uphill task to convince Evertonians that he was the right person for the job at Goodison right from the start, and a haul of 19 points from 19 games – along with a miserable style of play – did nothing to convince the Toffees faithful that he could turn things around.

Inevitably, the latest chapter in what has been a glittering managerial career came to an end on Sunday as Benitez lost his job, and former midfielder Olivier Dacourt admitted it was always a bridge too far.

Speaking to 101 Great Goals, Dacourt said: “When you speak about Rafa Benitez, you think of Liverpool. He won them the biggest trophy in club football! [The Champions League]

“What do you expect from the Everton fans? Even though he came here years after being at Liverpool, it’s still Liverpool and the success that he brought them that he’s known for.”

The Frenchman knows all about the inner-city rivalry having scored in the Merseyside Derby, and admits he could never have braved the trip across the river.

“It reminds me of the situation I had at Everton,” he said. “Gerard Houllier asked me: ‘Would I sign for Liverpool? I said, ‘No way!! It’s not possible, I cannot’, because even though it’s a job, you cannot cross that boundary – it’s not right.”

“Maybe I’m too romantic, but my point of view is, him being at Everton after managing Liverpool is too big an obstacle to overcome for the fans.”

The Frenchman was also quick to make his opinion on Lucas Digne’s public spat with Benitez known, with his compatriot now having joined Aston Villa.

Digne took to Instagram to confirm his move, as well as take a parting swipe at Rafa Benitez, in a heartfelt message to the Everton faithful.

And Dacourt, no stranger to player and manager spats himself, believes that the club should have backed their defender over Benitez.

Speaking before the transfer to Villa Park was confirmed, Dacourt said: “Lucas Digne has been at Everton for three/four years now? The fans know what he brings, he’s a good player, he’s professional and sometimes when a new manager joins, he’ll stay for just six months or one year and he’ll stop the career of someone who loves the club!

“In any work environment, you can make somebody or break somebody. I’m not saying the motive behind it is purely personal, but it could be so simple as they don’t like each other or have a connection.”

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 22 28 43
4 West Ham United 22 11 37
5 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 20 3 32
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 0 28
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 21 -9 23
15 Leeds United 20 -15 22
16 Everton FC 19 -10 19
17 Watford FC 19 -14 14
18 Norwich City 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
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
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6





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Why Manchester United or Newcastle are unlikely to land Amadou Haidara in January

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Why Manchester United or Newcastle are unlikely to land Amadou Haidara in January

Manchester United & Newcastle linked with Haidara

Manchester United have been pretty heavily linked with RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara of late.

After being appointed as Manchester United’s interim manager, it was reported that Ralf Rangnick informed club chiefs that they needed to strengthen in midfield, and should take a closer look at Haidara.

It was also claimed that Haidara was set to become the German’s first signing as Man United boss, provided the Red Devils coughed up his release clause, which was believed to stand at £32m.

Then, on Sunday, it was claimed that Manchester United and RB Leipzig had opened up a dialogue regarding Haidara:

A separate report over the weekend, meanwhile, suggested Newcastle were looking to muscle in on the Red Devils’ move for Haidara.

Haidara staying put?

All of this seemed to suggest that Haidara is a wanted man and could be on the move this month.

Now though, Sport 1’s Patrick Berger has provided some information that suggests the RB Leipzig man will not be moving anywhere this month.

Firstly, Berger does acknowledge that Newcastle and Manchester United are interested in Haidar, before adding that the latter was the 23-year-old’s favourite club as a child.

However, Berger goes on to explain that Leipzig have no interest in selling Haidara in the winter window and, most importantly of all, his release clause, which is put at €40m, does not activate until the summer.

So, with Leipzig not wanting to sell and no release clause in place, it does look as though Haidara will be staying put for the time being:

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 22 28 43
4 West Ham United 22 11 37
5 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 20 3 32
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 0 28
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 21 -9 23
15 Leeds United 20 -15 22
16 Everton FC 19 -10 19
17 Watford FC 19 -14 14
18 Norwich City 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
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
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6





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Arsenal eye potential January switch for Middlesbrough right-back

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Arsenal eye potential January switch for Middlesbrough right-back

Arsenal are interested in the services of Middlesbrough right-back Djed Spence, according to reports.

Djed Spence impressing on loan

Middlesbrough would sign Djed Spence from Fulham in July of 2018.

The young right-back would spend some time with Middlesbrough’s under-23s, before eventually being handed his senior debut in December of 2019.

Spence had fantastic start to life at the Riverside and would be named as the EFL Young Player of the Month for December of 2019.

However, Boro’s form then tailed off in the second half of that season, with Jonathan Woodgate eventually being replaced by Neil Warnock.

Warnock, a more defensive manager, was not too keen on Spence – who can be somewhat lackluster in his defensive duties – and would allow the 21-year-old to be loaned out to Nottingham Forest for the 2021/22 campaign.

Spence has since excelled with Nottingham Forest, including in the 3rd round of the FA Cup when he spent an afternoon terrorizing Arsenal’s left-flank.

Arsenal eye Djed Spence

Now, after seeing Spence up close, the Gunners appear to be keen on a move.

The Mirror report that Arsenal are eyeing a potential January move for Spence, with Italian giants AS Roma and Inter Milan also watching developments closely.

Given how impressive he has been this season, new Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder may not be too keen to let the wing-back go without getting a close look at him.

However, Wilder’s stance on keeping Spence could be more relaxed due to the starring displays Isaiah Jones has been putting in for Boro at right-wing-back of late, but that is not clear right now.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 22 28 43
4 West Ham United 22 11 37
5 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 20 3 32
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 0 28
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 21 -9 23
15 Leeds United 20 -15 22
16 Everton FC 19 -10 19
17 Watford FC 19 -14 14
18 Norwich City 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
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
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6



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