Category Archives: Crystal Palace

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Romelu Lukaku is weighing in with some key contributions, Christian Benteke is not and Tottenham are showing how much weaker they are without Christian Eriksen

Sergio Agüero has had a curiosity of a campaign. He has been injured, benched and below par at times. He has been outscored by Raheem Sterling for much of the season. Yet his hat-trick on Saturday meant he has scored 20 goals for a fifth successive campaign. Further milestones await: Agüero is nine away from becoming the first man to score 200 for City. He is 11 behind his career-best tally of 33 and, with successive cup ties against Championship opponents, Bristol City and Cardiff, he has the chance to make further inroads before Gabriel Jesus is fit again. Besides the numbers, the encouraging element for City is that, after an autumnal slump, Agüero looks to have regained his sharpness. He produced purposeful, elusive dribbling, often a sign he is at his best. The sense is that he is relishing the responsibility of being the only available striker while Jesus is out. Richard Jolly

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Nacho Monreal ignites quickfire Arsenal to blow away Crystal Palace

The noise levels around Arsenal continue to be pumped up. It was not without good reason that Arsène Wenger described the January transfer window as the “most destabilising”he has known. There was no Alexis Sánchez here, as the Arsenal forward closed in on his switch to Manchester United, while Hendrikh Mkhitaryan is primed to move in the opposite direction.

Before kick-off it emerged that Arsenal had bid 50m euros for the Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Olivier Giroud could go from Arsenal to Dortmund. Every day brings fresh intrigue.

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Roy Hodgson: ‘Coaching is a sadistic pleasure – the suffering never stops’

Palace manager has revived the Eagles and his reputation, while his appetite is as keen as ever at 70 – despite the torment the job brings

Roy Hodgson is not one for sentimental reflection. Looking back has never really been his thing. If it were, as he admits, he might linger on his life going full circle in restoring him to the club he supported as a boy, “walking with my dad to watch the reserves one week, the first team the next” from their regular vantage point on the bleak concrete of the Holmesdale Road terrace. Or hoarding programmes, a youngster craving an audience with Johnny Byrne or Terry Long “and waiting to collect autographs by the changing rooms”.

It had been a sense of Crystal Palace’s underlying ambition, and a desire to fling himself back into work 14 months after leaving his role with England, that convinced him to return to the club where a career spanning more than half a century had begun with evening sessions in the youth team. Yet, when Hodgson allows himself a second to contemplate, he can acknowledge some would spy romance in last autumn’s return.

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Roy Hodgson changes tune on Brighton winner after ‘spiteful’ outburst at referee

Despite initial suspicions Crystal Palace manager eventually accepts verdict of new video review system that striker’s goal did not involve any handball

Roy Hodgson admitted he had directed “spiteful” words at the referee, Andre Marriner, after watching the Brighton striker Glenn Murray put his Crystal Palace team out of the FA Cup with a potentially controversial late winner for 2-1. But Hodgson changed his tune entirely after being assured that Murray had not used his hand to ease the ball over the line. The assurances came via the Video Assistant Referee, which had been used for the first time in an English club match.

Related: Glenn Murray leaves it late as Brighton knock Crystal Palace out of FA Cup

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Transfer window: club-by-club guide for the Premier League in January

The winter window opens on 1 January with most clubs desperate to make signings. Here we look at the 20 clubs and the players they hope will arrive

Arsène Wenger anticipates that he will be busier fielding enquires about fringe players in his squad – he would be open to moving a few out – but he would be interested in an addition if the opportunity presented itself. The want-away Alexis Sánchez will draw the focus. He might prefer to wait for a Bosman move in the summer but an offer from Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain would change the dynamic. Arsenal would be compelled to consider it.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Carvalhal needs immediate impact at Swansea, Schmeichel seeks redemption and Chelsea’s Azpilicueta-Morata combination threatens Stoke

The wisdom of appointing Carlos Carvalhal as Swansea’s new manager is, to say the least, questionable: a man who was dismissed on Christmas Eve for underachieving with Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship does not inspire confidence. Still, he may prove successful: many doubted him when he arrived at Wednesday in 2015, and he started well there, reaching the play-offs in his first two seasons. But if he is to change things at the Liberty Stadium, he needs to do it immediately. After Saturday’s game at Watford, three of Swansea’s next four league games are against Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Liverpool. If they do not beat the Hornets, they could soon be staring down the barrel of being shy of safety by double figures and of relegation looking even more inevitable than it does now. That new manager bounce needs to be pretty high. NM

Carvalhal says he is a ‘football romantic’ as he aims to keep Swansea up

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Resurgent Jack Wilshere’s discipline and craft give Arsenal rare balance | Jacob Steinberg

The performance of the Arsenal midfielder against Crystal Palace was a reminder of why he has inspired managerial leaps of faith in the past – and may do so again

Jack Wilshere was not short of admirers during Arsenal’s 3-2 victory at Selhurst Park. His first touch was a beautiful piece of velcro control as the ball dropped on to his left boot in the first minute, making everyone in the away end go weak at the knees, and the Arsenal midfielder even had a fan in the opposition’s technical area. It was Roy Hodgson, of course, who sent eyebrows rocketing skywards when he named Wilshere in England’s Euro 2016 squad.

Wilshere had only just returned from one of his many injuries, but that misguided show of faith from Hodgson was easier to understand after watching him help Arsenal recover from a sticky spell in the second half to take Palace apart. Like Arsène Wenger, Hodgson is a believer, even though the 25-year-old has not produced much of note since that wonderful performance against Pep Guardiola’s great Barcelona side.

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