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In the case of Alex McLeish’s appointment as Scotland manager, it seems - if one may plunder an immortal line from Casablanca – that destiny has taken a hand. The Tartan Army remain to be persuaded, to judge by the predominantly negative social media reaction to the 59-year-old’s return to the job he quit in 2007 to move to Birmingham City, but McLeish does not see himself as third choice, although Michael O’Neill and Walter Smith rejected advances by the Scottish Football Association before the governing body turned to him. “It feels a bit surreal but I believe I’m the guy for the job,” McLeish said. “When I looked at other guys who have gone back to take charge of their national teams for a second time - like Dick Advocaat and Louis Van Gaal - I thought ‘Yeah, that could be on for me some time’. “The opportunity arose and I felt I had to go for it, because I believe it was my destiny.” Asked how he had reacted to the invitations extended to O’Neill and Smith in the aftermath of Gordon Strachan’s departure, along with their subsequent rejections, McLeish said: “One was ‘Ya beauty!’, the next one was ‘Oh, Walter is getting it.’ “When Walter abdicated I thought, ‘I’m in again’ but, honestly, I felt it was fate. It was meant to happen. Michael was the first choice, let’s not make any bones about that, but I have always felt I was the right guy to be the next Scotland coach.” Scotland’s first outing under McLeish will be the home friendly with Costa Rica on March 23 but he faces formidable opposition from Tartan Army supporters who have expressed disapproval of his decision to move to the Premier League in England 11 years ago, in the aftermath of the Scots’ narrow failure to qualify for Euro 2008. “Listen, of course I can understand it,” he said. “You get divided opinion. The only way to change it is by performing well and getting good results. That is the cure for dissent. “I had seven months to wait before the next tournament started. I would have been a professional supporter, watching all the games, watching all the players up and do the country, but I really missed the day to day stuff. “There was an element of thinking that I was still young enough to go and take that challenge on. To be asked to go to the Premier League is an ambition that a lot of managers would have taken, probably the majority. “If we had just qualified there is no way that I would have left. I would have seen us right through to the finals, ambition or not. “I would probably have been offered something after the finals. I was so gutted that we missed it by a whisker. Faddy (James McFadden) had a wee chance at 1-1 in the final qualifier against Italy, when the ball came across the box and he slid at it. Your life flashes in front of your eyes.” With no active interest in this summer’s World Cup finals and the Euro 2020 qualifiers not scheduled to begin until March next year, McLeish will have to get the best from a programme of six friendlies and two home-and-away Nations League meetings with Albania and Israel. His political skills will be tested by the demands of two challenge matches arranged for the close season, one against Peru in Lima on May 29 and the other against Mexico in the Azteca Stadium on June 2. Celtic provided the core of Scotland’s strength during Strachan’s unbeaten run of seven games last year, with Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths all named for the final World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and Slovenia. Celtic, however, completed a clean sweep of the domestic honours last season and are on course to repeat the feat but must negotiate four round of Champions League qualifiers if they win the Scottish title again this time around. McLeish was unveiled on Friday at Hampden Park Credit: Getty Images The prospect of sending players to South America after another draining club season has not enchanted Brendan Rodgers, the Celtic manager. McLeish acknowledged the concerns, while comparing current circumstances with his own career as a central defender with Aberdeen. “Back in my day if we had been promised a trip to Peru and Mexico in the summer we’d have been ecstatic,” he said. “It would have been, ‘Hallelujah, brilliant’ but, yeah, I can understand the clubs’ stance with the way European football is now mapped out. “I do understand that they maybe feel it wasn’t appropriate timing, but it’s there, we are going to go and it may be a good opportunity for other players. We are borrowing their players to turn out for the national team. “We have to address that nearer the time. I have to have a rapport with the clubs. We will talk, we’ll communicate and see what kind of answers we get.” McLeish has already begun the task of assembling a backroom staff – “I’ve made some phone calls and I’m hopeful of announcing that maybe some time next week” – before he returned to his opening theme. “I feel I’m a better manager now. The common-sense factor grows and you see things from a different way. In terms of destiny, I just feel it’s the right time for me.”
Eleven years after quitting, returning Scotland boss Alex McLeish aims to quieten Tartan Army dissent
In the case of Alex McLeish’s appointment as Scotland manager, it seems - if one may plunder an immortal line from Casablanca – that destiny has taken a hand. The Tartan Army remain to be persuaded, to judge by the predominantly negative social media reaction to the 59-year-old’s return to the job he quit in 2007 to move to Birmingham City, but McLeish does not see himself as third choice, although Michael O’Neill and Walter Smith rejected advances by the Scottish Football Association before the governing body turned to him. “It feels a bit surreal but I believe I’m the guy for the job,” McLeish said. “When I looked at other guys who have gone back to take charge of their national teams for a second time - like Dick Advocaat and Louis Van Gaal - I thought ‘Yeah, that could be on for me some time’. “The opportunity arose and I felt I had to go for it, because I believe it was my destiny.” Asked how he had reacted to the invitations extended to O’Neill and Smith in the aftermath of Gordon Strachan’s departure, along with their subsequent rejections, McLeish said: “One was ‘Ya beauty!’, the next one was ‘Oh, Walter is getting it.’ “When Walter abdicated I thought, ‘I’m in again’ but, honestly, I felt it was fate. It was meant to happen. Michael was the first choice, let’s not make any bones about that, but I have always felt I was the right guy to be the next Scotland coach.” Scotland’s first outing under McLeish will be the home friendly with Costa Rica on March 23 but he faces formidable opposition from Tartan Army supporters who have expressed disapproval of his decision to move to the Premier League in England 11 years ago, in the aftermath of the Scots’ narrow failure to qualify for Euro 2008. “Listen, of course I can understand it,” he said. “You get divided opinion. The only way to change it is by performing well and getting good results. That is the cure for dissent. “I had seven months to wait before the next tournament started. I would have been a professional supporter, watching all the games, watching all the players up and do the country, but I really missed the day to day stuff. “There was an element of thinking that I was still young enough to go and take that challenge on. To be asked to go to the Premier League is an ambition that a lot of managers would have taken, probably the majority. “If we had just qualified there is no way that I would have left. I would have seen us right through to the finals, ambition or not. “I would probably have been offered something after the finals. I was so gutted that we missed it by a whisker. Faddy (James McFadden) had a wee chance at 1-1 in the final qualifier against Italy, when the ball came across the box and he slid at it. Your life flashes in front of your eyes.” With no active interest in this summer’s World Cup finals and the Euro 2020 qualifiers not scheduled to begin until March next year, McLeish will have to get the best from a programme of six friendlies and two home-and-away Nations League meetings with Albania and Israel. His political skills will be tested by the demands of two challenge matches arranged for the close season, one against Peru in Lima on May 29 and the other against Mexico in the Azteca Stadium on June 2. Celtic provided the core of Scotland’s strength during Strachan’s unbeaten run of seven games last year, with Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths all named for the final World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and Slovenia. Celtic, however, completed a clean sweep of the domestic honours last season and are on course to repeat the feat but must negotiate four round of Champions League qualifiers if they win the Scottish title again this time around. McLeish was unveiled on Friday at Hampden Park Credit: Getty Images The prospect of sending players to South America after another draining club season has not enchanted Brendan Rodgers, the Celtic manager. McLeish acknowledged the concerns, while comparing current circumstances with his own career as a central defender with Aberdeen. “Back in my day if we had been promised a trip to Peru and Mexico in the summer we’d have been ecstatic,” he said. “It would have been, ‘Hallelujah, brilliant’ but, yeah, I can understand the clubs’ stance with the way European football is now mapped out. “I do understand that they maybe feel it wasn’t appropriate timing, but it’s there, we are going to go and it may be a good opportunity for other players. We are borrowing their players to turn out for the national team. “We have to address that nearer the time. I have to have a rapport with the clubs. We will talk, we’ll communicate and see what kind of answers we get.” McLeish has already begun the task of assembling a backroom staff – “I’ve made some phone calls and I’m hopeful of announcing that maybe some time next week” – before he returned to his opening theme. “I feel I’m a better manager now. The common-sense factor grows and you see things from a different way. In terms of destiny, I just feel it’s the right time for me.”
In the case of Alex McLeish’s appointment as Scotland manager, it seems - if one may plunder an immortal line from Casablanca – that destiny has taken a hand. The Tartan Army remain to be persuaded, to judge by the predominantly negative social media reaction to the 59-year-old’s return to the job he quit in 2007 to move to Birmingham City, but McLeish does not see himself as third choice, although Michael O’Neill and Walter Smith rejected advances by the Scottish Football Association before the governing body turned to him. “It feels a bit surreal but I believe I’m the guy for the job,” McLeish said. “When I looked at other guys who have gone back to take charge of their national teams for a second time - like Dick Advocaat and Louis Van Gaal - I thought ‘Yeah, that could be on for me some time’. “The opportunity arose and I felt I had to go for it, because I believe it was my destiny.” Asked how he had reacted to the invitations extended to O’Neill and Smith in the aftermath of Gordon Strachan’s departure, along with their subsequent rejections, McLeish said: “One was ‘Ya beauty!’, the next one was ‘Oh, Walter is getting it.’ “When Walter abdicated I thought, ‘I’m in again’ but, honestly, I felt it was fate. It was meant to happen. Michael was the first choice, let’s not make any bones about that, but I have always felt I was the right guy to be the next Scotland coach.” Scotland’s first outing under McLeish will be the home friendly with Costa Rica on March 23 but he faces formidable opposition from Tartan Army supporters who have expressed disapproval of his decision to move to the Premier League in England 11 years ago, in the aftermath of the Scots’ narrow failure to qualify for Euro 2008. “Listen, of course I can understand it,” he said. “You get divided opinion. The only way to change it is by performing well and getting good results. That is the cure for dissent. “I had seven months to wait before the next tournament started. I would have been a professional supporter, watching all the games, watching all the players up and do the country, but I really missed the day to day stuff. “There was an element of thinking that I was still young enough to go and take that challenge on. To be asked to go to the Premier League is an ambition that a lot of managers would have taken, probably the majority. “If we had just qualified there is no way that I would have left. I would have seen us right through to the finals, ambition or not. “I would probably have been offered something after the finals. I was so gutted that we missed it by a whisker. Faddy (James McFadden) had a wee chance at 1-1 in the final qualifier against Italy, when the ball came across the box and he slid at it. Your life flashes in front of your eyes.” With no active interest in this summer’s World Cup finals and the Euro 2020 qualifiers not scheduled to begin until March next year, McLeish will have to get the best from a programme of six friendlies and two home-and-away Nations League meetings with Albania and Israel. His political skills will be tested by the demands of two challenge matches arranged for the close season, one against Peru in Lima on May 29 and the other against Mexico in the Azteca Stadium on June 2. Celtic provided the core of Scotland’s strength during Strachan’s unbeaten run of seven games last year, with Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths all named for the final World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and Slovenia. Celtic, however, completed a clean sweep of the domestic honours last season and are on course to repeat the feat but must negotiate four round of Champions League qualifiers if they win the Scottish title again this time around. McLeish was unveiled on Friday at Hampden Park Credit: Getty Images The prospect of sending players to South America after another draining club season has not enchanted Brendan Rodgers, the Celtic manager. McLeish acknowledged the concerns, while comparing current circumstances with his own career as a central defender with Aberdeen. “Back in my day if we had been promised a trip to Peru and Mexico in the summer we’d have been ecstatic,” he said. “It would have been, ‘Hallelujah, brilliant’ but, yeah, I can understand the clubs’ stance with the way European football is now mapped out. “I do understand that they maybe feel it wasn’t appropriate timing, but it’s there, we are going to go and it may be a good opportunity for other players. We are borrowing their players to turn out for the national team. “We have to address that nearer the time. I have to have a rapport with the clubs. We will talk, we’ll communicate and see what kind of answers we get.” McLeish has already begun the task of assembling a backroom staff – “I’ve made some phone calls and I’m hopeful of announcing that maybe some time next week” – before he returned to his opening theme. “I feel I’m a better manager now. The common-sense factor grows and you see things from a different way. In terms of destiny, I just feel it’s the right time for me.”
Eleven years after quitting, returning Scotland boss Alex McLeish aims to quieten Tartan Army dissent
In the case of Alex McLeish’s appointment as Scotland manager, it seems - if one may plunder an immortal line from Casablanca – that destiny has taken a hand. The Tartan Army remain to be persuaded, to judge by the predominantly negative social media reaction to the 59-year-old’s return to the job he quit in 2007 to move to Birmingham City, but McLeish does not see himself as third choice, although Michael O’Neill and Walter Smith rejected advances by the Scottish Football Association before the governing body turned to him. “It feels a bit surreal but I believe I’m the guy for the job,” McLeish said. “When I looked at other guys who have gone back to take charge of their national teams for a second time - like Dick Advocaat and Louis Van Gaal - I thought ‘Yeah, that could be on for me some time’. “The opportunity arose and I felt I had to go for it, because I believe it was my destiny.” Asked how he had reacted to the invitations extended to O’Neill and Smith in the aftermath of Gordon Strachan’s departure, along with their subsequent rejections, McLeish said: “One was ‘Ya beauty!’, the next one was ‘Oh, Walter is getting it.’ “When Walter abdicated I thought, ‘I’m in again’ but, honestly, I felt it was fate. It was meant to happen. Michael was the first choice, let’s not make any bones about that, but I have always felt I was the right guy to be the next Scotland coach.” Scotland’s first outing under McLeish will be the home friendly with Costa Rica on March 23 but he faces formidable opposition from Tartan Army supporters who have expressed disapproval of his decision to move to the Premier League in England 11 years ago, in the aftermath of the Scots’ narrow failure to qualify for Euro 2008. “Listen, of course I can understand it,” he said. “You get divided opinion. The only way to change it is by performing well and getting good results. That is the cure for dissent. “I had seven months to wait before the next tournament started. I would have been a professional supporter, watching all the games, watching all the players up and do the country, but I really missed the day to day stuff. “There was an element of thinking that I was still young enough to go and take that challenge on. To be asked to go to the Premier League is an ambition that a lot of managers would have taken, probably the majority. “If we had just qualified there is no way that I would have left. I would have seen us right through to the finals, ambition or not. “I would probably have been offered something after the finals. I was so gutted that we missed it by a whisker. Faddy (James McFadden) had a wee chance at 1-1 in the final qualifier against Italy, when the ball came across the box and he slid at it. Your life flashes in front of your eyes.” With no active interest in this summer’s World Cup finals and the Euro 2020 qualifiers not scheduled to begin until March next year, McLeish will have to get the best from a programme of six friendlies and two home-and-away Nations League meetings with Albania and Israel. His political skills will be tested by the demands of two challenge matches arranged for the close season, one against Peru in Lima on May 29 and the other against Mexico in the Azteca Stadium on June 2. Celtic provided the core of Scotland’s strength during Strachan’s unbeaten run of seven games last year, with Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths all named for the final World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and Slovenia. Celtic, however, completed a clean sweep of the domestic honours last season and are on course to repeat the feat but must negotiate four round of Champions League qualifiers if they win the Scottish title again this time around. McLeish was unveiled on Friday at Hampden Park Credit: Getty Images The prospect of sending players to South America after another draining club season has not enchanted Brendan Rodgers, the Celtic manager. McLeish acknowledged the concerns, while comparing current circumstances with his own career as a central defender with Aberdeen. “Back in my day if we had been promised a trip to Peru and Mexico in the summer we’d have been ecstatic,” he said. “It would have been, ‘Hallelujah, brilliant’ but, yeah, I can understand the clubs’ stance with the way European football is now mapped out. “I do understand that they maybe feel it wasn’t appropriate timing, but it’s there, we are going to go and it may be a good opportunity for other players. We are borrowing their players to turn out for the national team. “We have to address that nearer the time. I have to have a rapport with the clubs. We will talk, we’ll communicate and see what kind of answers we get.” McLeish has already begun the task of assembling a backroom staff – “I’ve made some phone calls and I’m hopeful of announcing that maybe some time next week” – before he returned to his opening theme. “I feel I’m a better manager now. The common-sense factor grows and you see things from a different way. In terms of destiny, I just feel it’s the right time for me.”
Krystian Bielik claims he hit glass ceiling in Arsenal youth setup as he eyes Birmingham City return
Krystian Bielik claims he hit glass ceiling in Arsenal youth setup as he eyes Birmingham City return
Krystian Bielik claims he hit glass ceiling in Arsenal youth setup as he eyes Birmingham City return
Krystian Bielik claims he hit glass ceiling in Arsenal youth setup as he eyes Birmingham City return
Krystian Bielik claims he hit glass ceiling in Arsenal youth setup as he eyes Birmingham City return
Krystian Bielik claims he hit glass ceiling in Arsenal youth setup as he eyes Birmingham City return
Krystian Bielik claims he hit glass ceiling in Arsenal youth setup as he eyes Birmingham City return
Krystian Bielik claims he hit glass ceiling in Arsenal youth setup as he eyes Birmingham City return
Krystian Bielik claims he hit glass ceiling in Arsenal youth setup as he eyes Birmingham City return
Driven by a fervent atmosphere in a packed stadium, Villa extended their hot streak to seven straight Championship wins to maintain their dominance over their Second City rivals and move into an automatic promotion place for the first time under Steve Bruce, whose emotions bubbled over on the touchline after a tough few days off the field. The 57-year-old Villa manager had until Saturday been on compassionate leave following the death of his father last Tuesday, the pain of that experience compounded by fears for his mother, who has herself been battling serious illness. Villa, loaded with experience, were the better side and goals by Albert Adomah and Conor Hourihane in the second half made for an appropriate scoreline. Bruce stood in his own space on the edge of the technical area throughout, as if striving for privacy amid the hullabaloo. After initially celebrating the opening goal, he turned away and his face visibly creased. “He is a hard-working, experienced manager and he controlled everything terrifically well,” his assistant, Colin Calderwood, said. “But he is a very family-orientated man and when you have that joy of the moment as a professional it seems to bring a reflection on your personal circumstances at the same time. “It has been a tough week for him but he picked the team and spoke to the players in the way he always does before the game and this win will be a shaft of light, a moment of happiness for him.” Bruce had been on compassionate leave this week following the death of his father Credit: pa Birmingham, who have looked lately like a team capable of finishing the season out of danger after a poor start, put up some fight and had Cheikh Ndoye sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card. They should have sneaked a half-time lead, striker Sam Gallagher hitting the woodwork and then lofting the rebound over the bar after a stumble by John Terry left him clean through. But overall, Villa made the better chances. Scott Hogan hit the bar in the first half and there were other close calls before the in-form Adomah, given time to set himself and shoot in low off a post, gave Villa the lead on the hour with his 14th goal of the season. Jack Grealish, excellent throughout in the No10 role, supplied the pass. Captain John Terry celebrates the win Credit: Getty images Nine minutes from time, after chesting down a poor headed clearance by Harlee Dean, Hourihane hit a dipping left-foot volley over the head of David Stockdale to ensure the points were won and extend their unbeaten sequence in Second City league derbies to 12 matches, including eight wins. “I think the difference was quality, experience and belief,” the Birmingham manager, Steve Cotterill, said. “Villa had more of all of those.”
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Driven by a fervent atmosphere in a packed stadium, Villa extended their hot streak to seven straight Championship wins to maintain their dominance over their Second City rivals and move into an automatic promotion place for the first time under Steve Bruce, whose emotions bubbled over on the touchline after a tough few days off the field. The 57-year-old Villa manager had until Saturday been on compassionate leave following the death of his father last Tuesday, the pain of that experience compounded by fears for his mother, who has herself been battling serious illness. Villa, loaded with experience, were the better side and goals by Albert Adomah and Conor Hourihane in the second half made for an appropriate scoreline. Bruce stood in his own space on the edge of the technical area throughout, as if striving for privacy amid the hullabaloo. After initially celebrating the opening goal, he turned away and his face visibly creased. “He is a hard-working, experienced manager and he controlled everything terrifically well,” his assistant, Colin Calderwood, said. “But he is a very family-orientated man and when you have that joy of the moment as a professional it seems to bring a reflection on your personal circumstances at the same time. “It has been a tough week for him but he picked the team and spoke to the players in the way he always does before the game and this win will be a shaft of light, a moment of happiness for him.” Bruce had been on compassionate leave this week following the death of his father Credit: pa Birmingham, who have looked lately like a team capable of finishing the season out of danger after a poor start, put up some fight and had Cheikh Ndoye sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card. They should have sneaked a half-time lead, striker Sam Gallagher hitting the woodwork and then lofting the rebound over the bar after a stumble by John Terry left him clean through. But overall, Villa made the better chances. Scott Hogan hit the bar in the first half and there were other close calls before the in-form Adomah, given time to set himself and shoot in low off a post, gave Villa the lead on the hour with his 14th goal of the season. Jack Grealish, excellent throughout in the No10 role, supplied the pass. Captain John Terry celebrates the win Credit: Getty images Nine minutes from time, after chesting down a poor headed clearance by Harlee Dean, Hourihane hit a dipping left-foot volley over the head of David Stockdale to ensure the points were won and extend their unbeaten sequence in Second City league derbies to 12 matches, including eight wins. “I think the difference was quality, experience and belief,” the Birmingham manager, Steve Cotterill, said. “Villa had more of all of those.”
Driven by a fervent atmosphere in a packed stadium, Villa extended their hot streak to seven straight Championship wins to maintain their dominance over their Second City rivals and move into an automatic promotion place for the first time under Steve Bruce, whose emotions bubbled over on the touchline after a tough few days off the field. The 57-year-old Villa manager had until Saturday been on compassionate leave following the death of his father last Tuesday, the pain of that experience compounded by fears for his mother, who has herself been battling serious illness. Villa, loaded with experience, were the better side and goals by Albert Adomah and Conor Hourihane in the second half made for an appropriate scoreline. Bruce stood in his own space on the edge of the technical area throughout, as if striving for privacy amid the hullabaloo. After initially celebrating the opening goal, he turned away and his face visibly creased. “He is a hard-working, experienced manager and he controlled everything terrifically well,” his assistant, Colin Calderwood, said. “But he is a very family-orientated man and when you have that joy of the moment as a professional it seems to bring a reflection on your personal circumstances at the same time. “It has been a tough week for him but he picked the team and spoke to the players in the way he always does before the game and this win will be a shaft of light, a moment of happiness for him.” Bruce had been on compassionate leave this week following the death of his father Credit: pa Birmingham, who have looked lately like a team capable of finishing the season out of danger after a poor start, put up some fight and had Cheikh Ndoye sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card. They should have sneaked a half-time lead, striker Sam Gallagher hitting the woodwork and then lofting the rebound over the bar after a stumble by John Terry left him clean through. But overall, Villa made the better chances. Scott Hogan hit the bar in the first half and there were other close calls before the in-form Adomah, given time to set himself and shoot in low off a post, gave Villa the lead on the hour with his 14th goal of the season. Jack Grealish, excellent throughout in the No10 role, supplied the pass. Captain John Terry celebrates the win Credit: Getty images Nine minutes from time, after chesting down a poor headed clearance by Harlee Dean, Hourihane hit a dipping left-foot volley over the head of David Stockdale to ensure the points were won and extend their unbeaten sequence in Second City league derbies to 12 matches, including eight wins. “I think the difference was quality, experience and belief,” the Birmingham manager, Steve Cotterill, said. “Villa had more of all of those.”
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Driven by a fervent atmosphere in a packed stadium, Villa extended their hot streak to seven straight Championship wins to maintain their dominance over their Second City rivals and move into an automatic promotion place for the first time under Steve Bruce, whose emotions bubbled over on the touchline after a tough few days off the field. The 57-year-old Villa manager had until Saturday been on compassionate leave following the death of his father last Tuesday, the pain of that experience compounded by fears for his mother, who has herself been battling serious illness. Villa, loaded with experience, were the better side and goals by Albert Adomah and Conor Hourihane in the second half made for an appropriate scoreline. Bruce stood in his own space on the edge of the technical area throughout, as if striving for privacy amid the hullabaloo. After initially celebrating the opening goal, he turned away and his face visibly creased. “He is a hard-working, experienced manager and he controlled everything terrifically well,” his assistant, Colin Calderwood, said. “But he is a very family-orientated man and when you have that joy of the moment as a professional it seems to bring a reflection on your personal circumstances at the same time. “It has been a tough week for him but he picked the team and spoke to the players in the way he always does before the game and this win will be a shaft of light, a moment of happiness for him.” Bruce had been on compassionate leave this week following the death of his father Credit: pa Birmingham, who have looked lately like a team capable of finishing the season out of danger after a poor start, put up some fight and had Cheikh Ndoye sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card. They should have sneaked a half-time lead, striker Sam Gallagher hitting the woodwork and then lofting the rebound over the bar after a stumble by John Terry left him clean through. But overall, Villa made the better chances. Scott Hogan hit the bar in the first half and there were other close calls before the in-form Adomah, given time to set himself and shoot in low off a post, gave Villa the lead on the hour with his 14th goal of the season. Jack Grealish, excellent throughout in the No10 role, supplied the pass. Captain John Terry celebrates the win Credit: Getty images Nine minutes from time, after chesting down a poor headed clearance by Harlee Dean, Hourihane hit a dipping left-foot volley over the head of David Stockdale to ensure the points were won and extend their unbeaten sequence in Second City league derbies to 12 matches, including eight wins. “I think the difference was quality, experience and belief,” the Birmingham manager, Steve Cotterill, said. “Villa had more of all of those.”
Driven by a fervent atmosphere in a packed stadium, Villa extended their hot streak to seven straight Championship wins to maintain their dominance over their Second City rivals and move into an automatic promotion place for the first time under Steve Bruce, whose emotions bubbled over on the touchline after a tough few days off the field. The 57-year-old Villa manager had until Saturday been on compassionate leave following the death of his father last Tuesday, the pain of that experience compounded by fears for his mother, who has herself been battling serious illness. Villa, loaded with experience, were the better side and goals by Albert Adomah and Conor Hourihane in the second half made for an appropriate scoreline. Bruce stood in his own space on the edge of the technical area throughout, as if striving for privacy amid the hullabaloo. After initially celebrating the opening goal, he turned away and his face visibly creased. “He is a hard-working, experienced manager and he controlled everything terrifically well,” his assistant, Colin Calderwood, said. “But he is a very family-orientated man and when you have that joy of the moment as a professional it seems to bring a reflection on your personal circumstances at the same time. “It has been a tough week for him but he picked the team and spoke to the players in the way he always does before the game and this win will be a shaft of light, a moment of happiness for him.” Bruce had been on compassionate leave this week following the death of his father Credit: pa Birmingham, who have looked lately like a team capable of finishing the season out of danger after a poor start, put up some fight and had Cheikh Ndoye sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card. They should have sneaked a half-time lead, striker Sam Gallagher hitting the woodwork and then lofting the rebound over the bar after a stumble by John Terry left him clean through. But overall, Villa made the better chances. Scott Hogan hit the bar in the first half and there were other close calls before the in-form Adomah, given time to set himself and shoot in low off a post, gave Villa the lead on the hour with his 14th goal of the season. Jack Grealish, excellent throughout in the No10 role, supplied the pass. Captain John Terry celebrates the win Credit: Getty images Nine minutes from time, after chesting down a poor headed clearance by Harlee Dean, Hourihane hit a dipping left-foot volley over the head of David Stockdale to ensure the points were won and extend their unbeaten sequence in Second City league derbies to 12 matches, including eight wins. “I think the difference was quality, experience and belief,” the Birmingham manager, Steve Cotterill, said. “Villa had more of all of those.”
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Driven by a fervent atmosphere in a packed stadium, Villa extended their hot streak to seven straight Championship wins to maintain their dominance over their Second City rivals and move into an automatic promotion place for the first time under Steve Bruce, whose emotions bubbled over on the touchline after a tough few days off the field. The 57-year-old Villa manager had until Saturday been on compassionate leave following the death of his father last Tuesday, the pain of that experience compounded by fears for his mother, who has herself been battling serious illness. Villa, loaded with experience, were the better side and goals by Albert Adomah and Conor Hourihane in the second half made for an appropriate scoreline. Bruce stood in his own space on the edge of the technical area throughout, as if striving for privacy amid the hullabaloo. After initially celebrating the opening goal, he turned away and his face visibly creased. “He is a hard-working, experienced manager and he controlled everything terrifically well,” his assistant, Colin Calderwood, said. “But he is a very family-orientated man and when you have that joy of the moment as a professional it seems to bring a reflection on your personal circumstances at the same time. “It has been a tough week for him but he picked the team and spoke to the players in the way he always does before the game and this win will be a shaft of light, a moment of happiness for him.” Bruce had been on compassionate leave this week following the death of his father Credit: pa Birmingham, who have looked lately like a team capable of finishing the season out of danger after a poor start, put up some fight and had Cheikh Ndoye sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card. They should have sneaked a half-time lead, striker Sam Gallagher hitting the woodwork and then lofting the rebound over the bar after a stumble by John Terry left him clean through. But overall, Villa made the better chances. Scott Hogan hit the bar in the first half and there were other close calls before the in-form Adomah, given time to set himself and shoot in low off a post, gave Villa the lead on the hour with his 14th goal of the season. Jack Grealish, excellent throughout in the No10 role, supplied the pass. Captain John Terry celebrates the win Credit: Getty images Nine minutes from time, after chesting down a poor headed clearance by Harlee Dean, Hourihane hit a dipping left-foot volley over the head of David Stockdale to ensure the points were won and extend their unbeaten sequence in Second City league derbies to 12 matches, including eight wins. “I think the difference was quality, experience and belief,” the Birmingham manager, Steve Cotterill, said. “Villa had more of all of those.”
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Birmingham City's Cheick Ndoye clashes with Aston Villa's John Terry as he is sent off Action Images/Matthew Childs
Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Birmingham City's Cheick Ndoye clashes with Aston Villa's John Terry as he is sent off Action Images/Matthew Childs
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - VIlla Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Aston Villa's John Terry applauds the fans after the match Action Images/Matthew Childs
Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - VIlla Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Aston Villa's John Terry applauds the fans after the match Action Images/Matthew Childs
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - VIlla Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane celebrates with Robert Snodgrass and Ahmed Elmohamady after scoring their second goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - VIlla Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane celebrates with Robert Snodgrass and Ahmed Elmohamady after scoring their second goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Aston Villa's Albert Adomah in action with Birmingham City's Carl Jenkinson Action Images/Matthew Childs
Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Aston Villa's Albert Adomah in action with Birmingham City's Carl Jenkinson Action Images/Matthew Childs
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - VIlla Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Birmingham's Cheikh NDoye is shown a second yellow card and then a red card by referee Peter Bankes Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - VIlla Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Birmingham's Cheikh NDoye is shown a second yellow card and then a red card by referee Peter Bankes Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - VIlla Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Aston Villa's John Terry in action with Birmingham's Jermie Boga Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - VIlla Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Aston Villa's John Terry in action with Birmingham's Jermie Boga Action Images/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - VIlla Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Birmingham City's Cheick Ndoye (L) walks off dejected after being sent off Action Images/Matthew Childs
Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa vs Birmingham City - VIlla Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 11, 2018 Birmingham City's Cheick Ndoye (L) walks off dejected after being sent off Action Images/Matthew Childs
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Emotional Steve Bruce ends tough week with Second City Derby victory
Jack Grealish produced the star performance as Aston Villa saw off rivals Birmingham City at Villa Park.
Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Grealish stars as Bruce's men go second
Jack Grealish produced the star performance as Aston Villa saw off rivals Birmingham City at Villa Park.
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa extend unbeaten league run against arch-rivals Birmingham City to move up to second
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City and the story of a football rivalry characterised by its glorious, gleeful pettiness
Villa Park is the venue for the Birmingham derby clash as Steve Bruce's men lock horn with Steve Cotterill's cross-town rivals
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview
Villa Park is the venue for the Birmingham derby clash as Steve Bruce's men lock horn with Steve Cotterill's cross-town rivals
Villa Park is the venue for the Birmingham derby clash as Steve Bruce's men lock horn with Steve Cotterill's cross-town rivals
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview
Villa Park is the venue for the Birmingham derby clash as Steve Bruce's men lock horn with Steve Cotterill's cross-town rivals
Villa Park is the venue for the Birmingham derby clash as Steve Bruce's men lock horn with Steve Cotterill's cross-town rivals
Aston Villa vs Birmingham City: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview
Villa Park is the venue for the Birmingham derby clash as Steve Bruce's men lock horn with Steve Cotterill's cross-town rivals
This June, it will have been 50 years since sewing machinists at Ford’s Dagenham plant halted production, walked out and transformed the lives of working women forever. Led by Rose Boland, Eileen Pullen, Vera Sime, Gwen Davis and Sheila Douglass, the 1968 strike began when the machinists – who predominantly made car seat covers – were informed their jobs were considered ‘less skilled’, while men at the plant were considered skilled workers. That inequality was reflected in pay: women were receiving 15% less than the rate given to men. As anybody who has seen the film or musical Made In Dagenham will know, the actions of those women eventually led to Barbara Castle’s creation of the Equal Pay Act in 1970. It was a landmark moment for industry, but as is becoming clearer and clearer by the day in 2018, it didn’t get close to consigning salary sexism to history. Red sky at night, inequality in plain sight Credit: Reuters This morning, Tesco is the latest industry goliath shamed for mistreating its female workforce. Britain’s largest private sector employer is facing a potential equal pay claim of £4bn. On behalf of nearly 100 shop assistants who claim they are paid up to £3 an hour less than their male warehouse workers, law firm Leigh Day has lodged what would be Britain’s largest ever claim. Leigh Day said the most common rate for women was £8 an hour whereas for men the hourly rate can be as high as £11 an hour. If successful, up to 200,000 staff could be paid up to £20,000 in back pay over six years. From actors to sportspeople to BBC presenters, equal pay disputes have dominated the news over the past few weeks, and they won’t go away. By April, all UK companies with more than 250 employees are legally required to publish their gender pay gap data, making the matter a talking point in workplaces around the country. What has happened so far? Tesco is not the first major supermarket to find itself accused of rife salary sexism. Building over the last four years, Leigh Day has brought a claim against Asda on behalf of 17,000 former and current employees, arguing that work in stores is of equal value with jobs carried out by men in distribution centres, and should therefore be paid equally. The case has been dubbed “Made In Dagenham for the 21st Century”. In Asda’s owner, Walmart, the women involved in the case are taking on the world’s largest company, one with unlimited legal funds, and it isn’t proving easy. Walmart’s prestigious team of lawyers (which has included Lord Falconer QC) is appealing every single win by an Asda employee, delaying an overall result by months. An appeal hearing is due for the Asda women in October. Should they win, female workers at Sainsbury’s will feel better about their own case. Originally lodged in 2015 by three Sainsbury’s workers, nearly 1000 employees have now joined the action – also lodged by Leigh Day – that demands the same thing: for shopfloor jobs (mainly held by women) to be judged as of equal value to distribution centre jobs (mainly held by men). Equal Pay Day shows slow progress for the gender pay gap Away from the retail sector, in 2013 Birmingham City Councilsettled an equal pay claim from women employed as cleaners, cooks and carers, who were paid far below men working as bin collectors and road workers. The council, which is the largest local authority in England, is liable for over £1 billion. As a result it was forced to sell the National Exhibition Centre and make dramatic cuts across the authority. Further north, last month that Glasgow City Council confirmed it would negotiate and settle around 6,000 equal pay claims from female workers, potentially concluding more a decade of legal battles. Female carers, cleaners, catering staff, classroom assistants and clerical workers were among the employees who said they were paid £3 per hour less than their male colleagues. Councils across Scotland were ordered in 1999 to “harmonise pay for employees and address historic inequalities,” though all but one of the 32 authorities missed the imposed 2004 deadline. In 2017, 13 years on, The Accounts Commission said around £750m had been spent settling claims, but more than 27,000 remained active. Edinburgh sold off land and spent £20 million of reserves to meet its bill, while South and North Lanarkshire both settled claims worth more than £70 million respectively. In Berkshire, it was reported last month that Reading Borough Council has spent more than £3 million on payouts for women – mainly care workers, admin staff and cooks – working in their authority, after claims dating back to 2003. More are expected. And, in the most high-profile case so far, the BBC has reportedly received around 230 individual pay claims in recent months, though it is not known how many grievances were related to sexism. An independent audit of on-air talent published earlier this month revealed a 6.3% pay gap but “no evidence of gender bias.” Off-air, a report in October found the gap was 9.3%. In January, BBC journalist Carrie Gracie resigned from her role as China editor after discovering she was earning 50% less than two male counterparts. She told a parliamentary select committee that bosses justified the discrepancy by telling her she was “in development”, belittling the work of one of the corporation’s longest-serving reporters.
Equal pay disputes: which employers have been forced to pay up so far?
This June, it will have been 50 years since sewing machinists at Ford’s Dagenham plant halted production, walked out and transformed the lives of working women forever. Led by Rose Boland, Eileen Pullen, Vera Sime, Gwen Davis and Sheila Douglass, the 1968 strike began when the machinists – who predominantly made car seat covers – were informed their jobs were considered ‘less skilled’, while men at the plant were considered skilled workers. That inequality was reflected in pay: women were receiving 15% less than the rate given to men. As anybody who has seen the film or musical Made In Dagenham will know, the actions of those women eventually led to Barbara Castle’s creation of the Equal Pay Act in 1970. It was a landmark moment for industry, but as is becoming clearer and clearer by the day in 2018, it didn’t get close to consigning salary sexism to history. Red sky at night, inequality in plain sight Credit: Reuters This morning, Tesco is the latest industry goliath shamed for mistreating its female workforce. Britain’s largest private sector employer is facing a potential equal pay claim of £4bn. On behalf of nearly 100 shop assistants who claim they are paid up to £3 an hour less than their male warehouse workers, law firm Leigh Day has lodged what would be Britain’s largest ever claim. Leigh Day said the most common rate for women was £8 an hour whereas for men the hourly rate can be as high as £11 an hour. If successful, up to 200,000 staff could be paid up to £20,000 in back pay over six years. From actors to sportspeople to BBC presenters, equal pay disputes have dominated the news over the past few weeks, and they won’t go away. By April, all UK companies with more than 250 employees are legally required to publish their gender pay gap data, making the matter a talking point in workplaces around the country. What has happened so far? Tesco is not the first major supermarket to find itself accused of rife salary sexism. Building over the last four years, Leigh Day has brought a claim against Asda on behalf of 17,000 former and current employees, arguing that work in stores is of equal value with jobs carried out by men in distribution centres, and should therefore be paid equally. The case has been dubbed “Made In Dagenham for the 21st Century”. In Asda’s owner, Walmart, the women involved in the case are taking on the world’s largest company, one with unlimited legal funds, and it isn’t proving easy. Walmart’s prestigious team of lawyers (which has included Lord Falconer QC) is appealing every single win by an Asda employee, delaying an overall result by months. An appeal hearing is due for the Asda women in October. Should they win, female workers at Sainsbury’s will feel better about their own case. Originally lodged in 2015 by three Sainsbury’s workers, nearly 1000 employees have now joined the action – also lodged by Leigh Day – that demands the same thing: for shopfloor jobs (mainly held by women) to be judged as of equal value to distribution centre jobs (mainly held by men). Equal Pay Day shows slow progress for the gender pay gap Away from the retail sector, in 2013 Birmingham City Councilsettled an equal pay claim from women employed as cleaners, cooks and carers, who were paid far below men working as bin collectors and road workers. The council, which is the largest local authority in England, is liable for over £1 billion. As a result it was forced to sell the National Exhibition Centre and make dramatic cuts across the authority. Further north, last month that Glasgow City Council confirmed it would negotiate and settle around 6,000 equal pay claims from female workers, potentially concluding more a decade of legal battles. Female carers, cleaners, catering staff, classroom assistants and clerical workers were among the employees who said they were paid £3 per hour less than their male colleagues. Councils across Scotland were ordered in 1999 to “harmonise pay for employees and address historic inequalities,” though all but one of the 32 authorities missed the imposed 2004 deadline. In 2017, 13 years on, The Accounts Commission said around £750m had been spent settling claims, but more than 27,000 remained active. Edinburgh sold off land and spent £20 million of reserves to meet its bill, while South and North Lanarkshire both settled claims worth more than £70 million respectively. In Berkshire, it was reported last month that Reading Borough Council has spent more than £3 million on payouts for women – mainly care workers, admin staff and cooks – working in their authority, after claims dating back to 2003. More are expected. And, in the most high-profile case so far, the BBC has reportedly received around 230 individual pay claims in recent months, though it is not known how many grievances were related to sexism. An independent audit of on-air talent published earlier this month revealed a 6.3% pay gap but “no evidence of gender bias.” Off-air, a report in October found the gap was 9.3%. In January, BBC journalist Carrie Gracie resigned from her role as China editor after discovering she was earning 50% less than two male counterparts. She told a parliamentary select committee that bosses justified the discrepancy by telling her she was “in development”, belittling the work of one of the corporation’s longest-serving reporters.
Birmingham City 1 Huddersfield Town 1; aet 1-4: Premier League side survive scare to set up FA Cup tie with Man Utd
Birmingham City 1 Huddersfield Town 1; aet 1-4: Premier League side survive scare to set up FA Cup tie with Man Utd
Birmingham City 1 Huddersfield Town 1; aet 1-4: Premier League side survive scare to set up FA Cup tie with Man Utd
Huddersfield manager David Wagner is hoping that another FA Cup victory over Championship opponents can spark a revival in the Premier League after eight games without a win. Extra-time goals by Steve Mounie, Rajiv van La Parra and Tom Ince earned Huddersfield Town a fifth-round tie at home to Manchester United after coming from behind to end Birmingham City’s hopes. The Yorkshire side, who overcome Bolton in the fourth round, have slipped into the bottom three after five straight defeats, but Wagner said: “It is good to have the feeling of winning again, which we needed to build up momentum for the Premier League. “We are very happy to be at home to Manchester United in the next round but our first focus is to take the momentum of this win into the game against Bournemouth on Sunday.” Mounie headed in an Aaron Mooy cross four minutes into the additional half-hour before Van La Parra ensured they would progress by driving home the rebound after Birmingham goalkeeper David Stockdale had kept out a strike by Ince, who rifled home his side’s fourth goal in the second period of extra time. FA Cup fifth round draw Birmingham had gone ahead through Che Adams after 52 minutes before a powerful shot by Ince, parried by Stockdale, brought an equaliser nine minutes later, helped over the line by Marc Roberts’s attempted clearance. Huddersfield lost at Old Trafford last Saturday, but can look back for inspiration on their win over Jose Mourinho’s team at the John Smith’s Stadium in October, ending United’s unbeaten start to the season. Match details Birmingham City (3-5-2): Stockdale; Morrison, Roberts, Dean; Jenkinson (Dacres-Cogley 71), J Lowe (Lakin 101), Gardner, Ndoye (Jota h-t), Bramall; Jutkiewicz (Boga 85), Adams. Substitutes: Trueman (g), Colin, Seddon. Huddersfield Town (4-4-2): Lossl; Smith (Hadergjonaj h-t), Jorgensen, Kongolo, Malone; Sabiri (Van La Parra 56), Billing, Mooy, Ince; Quaner (Scannell 99), Mounie. Substitutes: Coleman (g), Whitehead, Hefele. Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire). Attendance: 13,175.
Birmingham City 1 Huddersfield Town 1; aet 1-4: Premier League side survive scare to set up FA Cup tie with Man Utd
Huddersfield manager David Wagner is hoping that another FA Cup victory over Championship opponents can spark a revival in the Premier League after eight games without a win. Extra-time goals by Steve Mounie, Rajiv van La Parra and Tom Ince earned Huddersfield Town a fifth-round tie at home to Manchester United after coming from behind to end Birmingham City’s hopes. The Yorkshire side, who overcome Bolton in the fourth round, have slipped into the bottom three after five straight defeats, but Wagner said: “It is good to have the feeling of winning again, which we needed to build up momentum for the Premier League. “We are very happy to be at home to Manchester United in the next round but our first focus is to take the momentum of this win into the game against Bournemouth on Sunday.” Mounie headed in an Aaron Mooy cross four minutes into the additional half-hour before Van La Parra ensured they would progress by driving home the rebound after Birmingham goalkeeper David Stockdale had kept out a strike by Ince, who rifled home his side’s fourth goal in the second period of extra time. FA Cup fifth round draw Birmingham had gone ahead through Che Adams after 52 minutes before a powerful shot by Ince, parried by Stockdale, brought an equaliser nine minutes later, helped over the line by Marc Roberts’s attempted clearance. Huddersfield lost at Old Trafford last Saturday, but can look back for inspiration on their win over Jose Mourinho’s team at the John Smith’s Stadium in October, ending United’s unbeaten start to the season. Match details Birmingham City (3-5-2): Stockdale; Morrison, Roberts, Dean; Jenkinson (Dacres-Cogley 71), J Lowe (Lakin 101), Gardner, Ndoye (Jota h-t), Bramall; Jutkiewicz (Boga 85), Adams. Substitutes: Trueman (g), Colin, Seddon. Huddersfield Town (4-4-2): Lossl; Smith (Hadergjonaj h-t), Jorgensen, Kongolo, Malone; Sabiri (Van La Parra 56), Billing, Mooy, Ince; Quaner (Scannell 99), Mounie. Substitutes: Coleman (g), Whitehead, Hefele. Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire). Attendance: 13,175.
Rajiv van La Parra ensures Huddersfield’s victory with their third goal against Birmingham City.
Tom Ince makes Huddersfield’s Premier League pedigree count at Birmingham
Rajiv van La Parra ensures Huddersfield’s victory with their third goal against Birmingham City.
Leeds United are on the verge of appointing Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom as the club's new head coach to replace Thomas Christiansen who was sacked on Sunday. The 40-year-old, from the South Yorkshire coalfield village of Royston, played for and managed his boyhood club, steering them to promotion from League One in 2016 having taken over in February with the club in 18th place. He also won the Football League Trophy with a 3-2 victory over Oxford United during that spell as caretaker manager before signing a one-year rolling contract in the summer. Heckingbottom took Barnsley up to eighth in the Championship but had to sell Conor Hourihane, Sam Winnall and James Bree during the January window, having already parted with Alfie Mawson at the end of August which contributed significantly to Barnsley's slide down to 14th. At the start of this season Heckingbottom was also forced to sell his captain, Marc Roberts, to Birmingham City but his reputation has not been damaged by Barnsley's flirtation with relegation this season. He was strongly linked to vacancies at Sunderland and Nottingham Forest because of admiration for his work in trying financial circumstances. The former Sunderland trainee signed a new contract with Barnsley only last Friday but it is understood that a release clause of about £500,000 was included and that Leeds triggered it on Monday afternoon less than 24 hours after Christiansen's departure. Thomas Christiansen was sacked after the 4-1 defeat by Cardiff Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images Leeds sources suggest Heckingbottom will agree a contract on Monday night in time to take training to on Tuesday for his first match in charge against Sheffield United on Saturday. It is not the first time that Leeds have turned to Oakwell for a new manager, luring their former striker Allan Clarke back to Elland Road in 1980. Leeds were relegated from the First Division under his charge two years later.
Leeds United poised to appoint Barnsley's Paul Heckingbottom as head coach
Leeds United are on the verge of appointing Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom as the club's new head coach to replace Thomas Christiansen who was sacked on Sunday. The 40-year-old, from the South Yorkshire coalfield village of Royston, played for and managed his boyhood club, steering them to promotion from League One in 2016 having taken over in February with the club in 18th place. He also won the Football League Trophy with a 3-2 victory over Oxford United during that spell as caretaker manager before signing a one-year rolling contract in the summer. Heckingbottom took Barnsley up to eighth in the Championship but had to sell Conor Hourihane, Sam Winnall and James Bree during the January window, having already parted with Alfie Mawson at the end of August which contributed significantly to Barnsley's slide down to 14th. At the start of this season Heckingbottom was also forced to sell his captain, Marc Roberts, to Birmingham City but his reputation has not been damaged by Barnsley's flirtation with relegation this season. He was strongly linked to vacancies at Sunderland and Nottingham Forest because of admiration for his work in trying financial circumstances. The former Sunderland trainee signed a new contract with Barnsley only last Friday but it is understood that a release clause of about £500,000 was included and that Leeds triggered it on Monday afternoon less than 24 hours after Christiansen's departure. Thomas Christiansen was sacked after the 4-1 defeat by Cardiff Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images Leeds sources suggest Heckingbottom will agree a contract on Monday night in time to take training to on Tuesday for his first match in charge against Sheffield United on Saturday. It is not the first time that Leeds have turned to Oakwell for a new manager, luring their former striker Allan Clarke back to Elland Road in 1980. Leeds were relegated from the First Division under his charge two years later.
Leeds United are on the verge of appointing Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom as the club's new head coach to replace Thomas Christiansen who was sacked on Sunday. The 40-year-old, from the South Yorkshire coalfield village of Royston, played for and managed his boyhood club, steering them to promotion from League One in 2016 having taken over in February with the club in 18th place. He also won the Football League Trophy with a 3-2 victory over Oxford United during that spell as caretaker manager before signing a one-year rolling contract in the summer. Heckingbottom took Barnsley up to eighth in the Championship but had to sell Conor Hourihane, Sam Winnall and James Bree during the January window, having already parted with Alfie Mawson at the end of August which contributed significantly to Barnsley's slide down to 14th. At the start of this season Heckingbottom was also forced to sell his captain, Marc Roberts, to Birmingham City but his reputation has not been damaged by Barnsley's flirtation with relegation this season. He was strongly linked to vacancies at Sunderland and Nottingham Forest because of admiration for his work in trying financial circumstances. The former Sunderland trainee signed a new contract with Barnsley only last Friday but it is understood that a release clause of about £500,000 was included and that Leeds triggered it on Monday afternoon less than 24 hours after Christiansen's departure. Thomas Christiansen was sacked after the 4-1 defeat by Cardiff Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images Leeds sources suggest Heckingbottom will agree a contract on Monday night in time to take training to on Tuesday for his first match in charge against Sheffield United on Saturday. It is not the first time that Leeds have turned to Oakwell for a new manager, luring their former striker Allan Clarke back to Elland Road in 1980. Leeds were relegated from the First Division under his charge two years later.
Leeds United poised to appoint Barnsley's Paul Heckingbottom as head coach
Leeds United are on the verge of appointing Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom as the club's new head coach to replace Thomas Christiansen who was sacked on Sunday. The 40-year-old, from the South Yorkshire coalfield village of Royston, played for and managed his boyhood club, steering them to promotion from League One in 2016 having taken over in February with the club in 18th place. He also won the Football League Trophy with a 3-2 victory over Oxford United during that spell as caretaker manager before signing a one-year rolling contract in the summer. Heckingbottom took Barnsley up to eighth in the Championship but had to sell Conor Hourihane, Sam Winnall and James Bree during the January window, having already parted with Alfie Mawson at the end of August which contributed significantly to Barnsley's slide down to 14th. At the start of this season Heckingbottom was also forced to sell his captain, Marc Roberts, to Birmingham City but his reputation has not been damaged by Barnsley's flirtation with relegation this season. He was strongly linked to vacancies at Sunderland and Nottingham Forest because of admiration for his work in trying financial circumstances. The former Sunderland trainee signed a new contract with Barnsley only last Friday but it is understood that a release clause of about £500,000 was included and that Leeds triggered it on Monday afternoon less than 24 hours after Christiansen's departure. Thomas Christiansen was sacked after the 4-1 defeat by Cardiff Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images Leeds sources suggest Heckingbottom will agree a contract on Monday night in time to take training to on Tuesday for his first match in charge against Sheffield United on Saturday. It is not the first time that Leeds have turned to Oakwell for a new manager, luring their former striker Allan Clarke back to Elland Road in 1980. Leeds were relegated from the First Division under his charge two years later.
Virgil van Dijk - Southampton to Liverpool (£75m) The most expensive Premier League purchase of the January window was completed on New Year's Day, as Liverpool landed the high-class centre back they were chasing all summer. Jurgen Klopp's decision to wait for Virgil van Dijk rather than moving down a list of alternatives was questioned but his patience eventually rewarded, as Liverpool kept negotiations under wraps in the final days of December. Few would deny Liverpool overpaid for the Dutch defender, perhaps to smooth things over with Southampton who they angered with their public courtship of the player, but he is a significant upgrade on their previous options. Comfortable in possession, van Dijk also has the mobility to cope in isolation which is critical given the aggressive defensive strategy employed by Klopp. The former Celtic man also gives Liverpool added presence in both penalty boxes particularly at set-pieces. Things started well with a Merseyside derby winner on his debut, but a rueful defeat to Swansea and three goals conceded against West Brom suggests he is no magic bullet. Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United/Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Arsenal Who got the better of the deal? That is the question you will hear repeatedly over the next few months, and plenty of tedious social media one-upmanship between both sets of fans. Put simply, Man Utd have the better player. Alexis Sanchez was involved in nearly a third of Arsenal's goals since the 2014/15 season, scored 30 and provided 15 assists last season and is world-class talent capable of playing in all attacking positions. At times, his slightly bombastic and unpredictable style can make it hard for him to fit into a system but that will suit Jose Mourinho just fine. His speciality is coaching teams to play without the ball, relying on moments of individual brilliance from his attackers to win him the game. Sanchez will produce plenty of those, and will be left to get on with his job by Mourinho who wanted to add some creative spark and genius to his team. Arsenal were backed into a corner after mismanaging the situation last summer but gained a fine player in return who they were close to signing in 2016. Mkhitaryan is in the mould of the wide-playmaker Arsene Wenger's best teams have always had: Robert Pires, Alex Hleb, Tomas Rosisky and Samir Nasri to name a few. Reasons to be cheerful for all parties. How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool to Barcelona (£142m) A deal that divides opinion among Liverpool fans, with some arguing the club should have kept Coutinho to ensure Champions League qualification while for others the astronomical transfer fee was irresistible. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Salah and van Dijk have arrived in the last two windows with prized midfielder Naby Keita due to arrive this summer. Liverpool could well emerge as a stronger unit post-Coutinho, particularly if they find a solution to their long-standing goalkeeping problem. Nevertheless, Klopp has lost a player capable of spontaneous moments of brilliance, something Liverpool lacked in defeat against a stubborn Swansea rearguard. It puts added pressure of the club to maintain the form and fitness of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino with Mane's diminished productivity a concern. For Barcelona, it is an expensive step towards replacing Neymar though as a creative midfielder player who likes to start from the left and dribble, Coutinho could prove a capable heir to Andres Iniesta. Ross Barkley - Everton to Chelsea (£15m) Sent to Coventry by Ronald Koeman and sidelined for months through injury, Barkley has a chance for a fresh start after things turned sour at Everton. At £15 million, this is a gamble Chelsea can afford to take and Barkley has enough talent to ensure there could be a significant upside. The challenge for Barkley is to define the type of player he is: a goalscoring No.10 judged on his end product or a central midfielder who starts moves with driving runs from deep? His decision making must improve and future managers will address his tendency to take too many touches. Barkley is reportedly part of Chelsea's wider strategy to recruit more British talent, but in the short-term he will give Antonio Conte more squad depth as the games stack up. Expect to see him in one of the two roles behind the centre forward in Chelsea's 3-4-2-1. Ross Barkley has a chance to re-establish himself at Chelsea Credit: Getty Images Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal (£55.4m) Putting aside what this deal says about Arsenal's 'ambition' and intent', they have signed one of the best goalscorers in European football and ultimately it's what happens on the pitch that counts. Alexandre Lacazette's goalscoring has tailed off, not helped by the wider dysfunction throughout the team, but there is a feeling he struggles to absorb the physical demands of a full season as lone striker. The Frenchman's touch and link-up play has impressed, but he is not as fast as many imagined and Aubameyang will stretch defences and offer more counter-attacking potency. One of the reasons the limited Theo Walcott lasted so long at Arsenal is that pace in the final third is essential for their football to function. Where will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fit in at Arsenal? Teams drop deeper instinctively, giving Arsenal more time to build play from the back and space for their array of attacking midfielders. Without that threat, teams can press the life out of them with impunity. Arsenal's away form has been dreadful, and Aubameyang will re-instate some of the fear factor previous Arsene Wenger attacks have carried. They will need to improve the quality of supply however to get the best from their record signing, and look for the ball over the top more often. Olivier Giroud - Arsenal to Chelsea (£19m) An emotional one for Arsenal fans, who were sad to see the player who bore the brunt of their anger for so many seasons leave. His late goals from the bench saw him gain something approaching cult hero status at the Emirates, and Chelsea have undoubtedly acquired one of the best 'Plan B' forwards in the division. Selling to their London rivals might have been necessary evil to push the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang deal over the line, but seeing Giroud in a Chelsea shirt could sting. Giroud is significantly better than the bizarre list of mis-fits Chelsea were linked with earlier in the window and is a proven goalscorer with an astounding conversion rate. Antonio Conte never fully trusted previous deputy Michy Batshuayi and has had precious few attacking options to change the course of a match. Giroud will not transform Chelsea's fortunes, but expect him to salvage a few points for them with late goals. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool to West Brom (loan) Relegation-threatened clubs always look for a goalscorer in January, and it is hard to recall a club in West Brom's position signing a player of Sturridge's calibre. Midlands rivals Birmingham City signing Christophe Duggary in 2003 is one contender, perhaps. Alan Pardew expressed his intention to make West Brom a more progressive and exciting team, but you need a certain amount of ammunition to make that a reality. West Brom have always been capable of damage limitation exercises, but have struggled to record enough wins against the teams around them particularly at the Hawthorns. Clubs at the bottom can look lost when asked to take the initiative in matches but the former Chelsea striker will help them do just that. Sturridge has a wide variety of finishes in his locker and quick feet in tight spaces. Theo Walcott - Arsenal to Everton (£20m) The former Arsenal man has continued to under-achieve at Goodison Park, with two goals and an assist in his first two league starts... Everton desperately required some pace and goal-threat in a squad over-populated by attacking midfielders and No.10s. Fans are well aware of Walcott's limitations by now: he has no left foot, struggles to play with his back to goal and possesses no tricks to dribble past a full-back from a standing start. There are two skills he brings to the table: the quality of his off-the-ball movement behind defences and his finishing, and he has made a career by truly excelling in these narrow parameters. Sam Allardyce will employ him on the right of a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, the role Walcott knows so well he could play it blindfolded. His bumbling manner on the ball and loose touches can frustrate, but his efficiency in the last third has never been in question. Theo Walcott has started well at Everton Credit: Getty Images Lucas Moura - Paris Saint-Germain to Tottenham Hotspur (£25m) Spurs have dropped points against Burnley, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham at Wembley this season, struggling to break down deep-lying defences in each of those draws. The signing of Brazilian winger Lucas Moura is intended to give Tottenham's attack more speed and unpredictability in these types of fixture. Mauricio Pochettino's team are built upon organisation and collective strength rather than the quality of individual parts. However, when teams sit back and ask them to create they can look a little bit too organised, co-ordinated and rehearsed. It risks becoming a little predictable, and Moura is a player who will bring intuition and the ability to produce something from nothing. Aymeric Laporte - Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City (£57m) Pep Guardiola can longer rely on the fitness of Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala was deemed surplus to requirements while John Stones has been error-prone since his return from injury. So Man City reached for the cheque-book and signed highly-regarded French centre-back Laporte who looks an ideal fit for a Guardiola team. At six-foot three, the former Bilbao man will bring mobility and physical presence to the City back-line. As a natural left-footer he will balance the back half of City's team and give them more angles and avenues to build-up from the goalkeeper. The transfer fee is hefty, but at 23 he could be City's centre back for the next decade if the move works as well as all parties hope.
The ten most significant Premier League deals of the January transfer window
Virgil van Dijk - Southampton to Liverpool (£75m) The most expensive Premier League purchase of the January window was completed on New Year's Day, as Liverpool landed the high-class centre back they were chasing all summer. Jurgen Klopp's decision to wait for Virgil van Dijk rather than moving down a list of alternatives was questioned but his patience eventually rewarded, as Liverpool kept negotiations under wraps in the final days of December. Few would deny Liverpool overpaid for the Dutch defender, perhaps to smooth things over with Southampton who they angered with their public courtship of the player, but he is a significant upgrade on their previous options. Comfortable in possession, van Dijk also has the mobility to cope in isolation which is critical given the aggressive defensive strategy employed by Klopp. The former Celtic man also gives Liverpool added presence in both penalty boxes particularly at set-pieces. Things started well with a Merseyside derby winner on his debut, but a rueful defeat to Swansea and three goals conceded against West Brom suggests he is no magic bullet. Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United/Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Arsenal Who got the better of the deal? That is the question you will hear repeatedly over the next few months, and plenty of tedious social media one-upmanship between both sets of fans. Put simply, Man Utd have the better player. Alexis Sanchez was involved in nearly a third of Arsenal's goals since the 2014/15 season, scored 30 and provided 15 assists last season and is world-class talent capable of playing in all attacking positions. At times, his slightly bombastic and unpredictable style can make it hard for him to fit into a system but that will suit Jose Mourinho just fine. His speciality is coaching teams to play without the ball, relying on moments of individual brilliance from his attackers to win him the game. Sanchez will produce plenty of those, and will be left to get on with his job by Mourinho who wanted to add some creative spark and genius to his team. Arsenal were backed into a corner after mismanaging the situation last summer but gained a fine player in return who they were close to signing in 2016. Mkhitaryan is in the mould of the wide-playmaker Arsene Wenger's best teams have always had: Robert Pires, Alex Hleb, Tomas Rosisky and Samir Nasri to name a few. Reasons to be cheerful for all parties. How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool to Barcelona (£142m) A deal that divides opinion among Liverpool fans, with some arguing the club should have kept Coutinho to ensure Champions League qualification while for others the astronomical transfer fee was irresistible. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Salah and van Dijk have arrived in the last two windows with prized midfielder Naby Keita due to arrive this summer. Liverpool could well emerge as a stronger unit post-Coutinho, particularly if they find a solution to their long-standing goalkeeping problem. Nevertheless, Klopp has lost a player capable of spontaneous moments of brilliance, something Liverpool lacked in defeat against a stubborn Swansea rearguard. It puts added pressure of the club to maintain the form and fitness of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino with Mane's diminished productivity a concern. For Barcelona, it is an expensive step towards replacing Neymar though as a creative midfielder player who likes to start from the left and dribble, Coutinho could prove a capable heir to Andres Iniesta. Ross Barkley - Everton to Chelsea (£15m) Sent to Coventry by Ronald Koeman and sidelined for months through injury, Barkley has a chance for a fresh start after things turned sour at Everton. At £15 million, this is a gamble Chelsea can afford to take and Barkley has enough talent to ensure there could be a significant upside. The challenge for Barkley is to define the type of player he is: a goalscoring No.10 judged on his end product or a central midfielder who starts moves with driving runs from deep? His decision making must improve and future managers will address his tendency to take too many touches. Barkley is reportedly part of Chelsea's wider strategy to recruit more British talent, but in the short-term he will give Antonio Conte more squad depth as the games stack up. Expect to see him in one of the two roles behind the centre forward in Chelsea's 3-4-2-1. Ross Barkley has a chance to re-establish himself at Chelsea Credit: Getty Images Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal (£55.4m) Putting aside what this deal says about Arsenal's 'ambition' and intent', they have signed one of the best goalscorers in European football and ultimately it's what happens on the pitch that counts. Alexandre Lacazette's goalscoring has tailed off, not helped by the wider dysfunction throughout the team, but there is a feeling he struggles to absorb the physical demands of a full season as lone striker. The Frenchman's touch and link-up play has impressed, but he is not as fast as many imagined and Aubameyang will stretch defences and offer more counter-attacking potency. One of the reasons the limited Theo Walcott lasted so long at Arsenal is that pace in the final third is essential for their football to function. Where will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fit in at Arsenal? Teams drop deeper instinctively, giving Arsenal more time to build play from the back and space for their array of attacking midfielders. Without that threat, teams can press the life out of them with impunity. Arsenal's away form has been dreadful, and Aubameyang will re-instate some of the fear factor previous Arsene Wenger attacks have carried. They will need to improve the quality of supply however to get the best from their record signing, and look for the ball over the top more often. Olivier Giroud - Arsenal to Chelsea (£19m) An emotional one for Arsenal fans, who were sad to see the player who bore the brunt of their anger for so many seasons leave. His late goals from the bench saw him gain something approaching cult hero status at the Emirates, and Chelsea have undoubtedly acquired one of the best 'Plan B' forwards in the division. Selling to their London rivals might have been necessary evil to push the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang deal over the line, but seeing Giroud in a Chelsea shirt could sting. Giroud is significantly better than the bizarre list of mis-fits Chelsea were linked with earlier in the window and is a proven goalscorer with an astounding conversion rate. Antonio Conte never fully trusted previous deputy Michy Batshuayi and has had precious few attacking options to change the course of a match. Giroud will not transform Chelsea's fortunes, but expect him to salvage a few points for them with late goals. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool to West Brom (loan) Relegation-threatened clubs always look for a goalscorer in January, and it is hard to recall a club in West Brom's position signing a player of Sturridge's calibre. Midlands rivals Birmingham City signing Christophe Duggary in 2003 is one contender, perhaps. Alan Pardew expressed his intention to make West Brom a more progressive and exciting team, but you need a certain amount of ammunition to make that a reality. West Brom have always been capable of damage limitation exercises, but have struggled to record enough wins against the teams around them particularly at the Hawthorns. Clubs at the bottom can look lost when asked to take the initiative in matches but the former Chelsea striker will help them do just that. Sturridge has a wide variety of finishes in his locker and quick feet in tight spaces. Theo Walcott - Arsenal to Everton (£20m) The former Arsenal man has continued to under-achieve at Goodison Park, with two goals and an assist in his first two league starts... Everton desperately required some pace and goal-threat in a squad over-populated by attacking midfielders and No.10s. Fans are well aware of Walcott's limitations by now: he has no left foot, struggles to play with his back to goal and possesses no tricks to dribble past a full-back from a standing start. There are two skills he brings to the table: the quality of his off-the-ball movement behind defences and his finishing, and he has made a career by truly excelling in these narrow parameters. Sam Allardyce will employ him on the right of a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, the role Walcott knows so well he could play it blindfolded. His bumbling manner on the ball and loose touches can frustrate, but his efficiency in the last third has never been in question. Theo Walcott has started well at Everton Credit: Getty Images Lucas Moura - Paris Saint-Germain to Tottenham Hotspur (£25m) Spurs have dropped points against Burnley, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham at Wembley this season, struggling to break down deep-lying defences in each of those draws. The signing of Brazilian winger Lucas Moura is intended to give Tottenham's attack more speed and unpredictability in these types of fixture. Mauricio Pochettino's team are built upon organisation and collective strength rather than the quality of individual parts. However, when teams sit back and ask them to create they can look a little bit too organised, co-ordinated and rehearsed. It risks becoming a little predictable, and Moura is a player who will bring intuition and the ability to produce something from nothing. Aymeric Laporte - Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City (£57m) Pep Guardiola can longer rely on the fitness of Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala was deemed surplus to requirements while John Stones has been error-prone since his return from injury. So Man City reached for the cheque-book and signed highly-regarded French centre-back Laporte who looks an ideal fit for a Guardiola team. At six-foot three, the former Bilbao man will bring mobility and physical presence to the City back-line. As a natural left-footer he will balance the back half of City's team and give them more angles and avenues to build-up from the goalkeeper. The transfer fee is hefty, but at 23 he could be City's centre back for the next decade if the move works as well as all parties hope.
Virgil van Dijk - Southampton to Liverpool (£75m) The most expensive Premier League purchase of the January window was completed on New Year's Day, as Liverpool landed the high-class centre back they were chasing all summer. Jurgen Klopp's decision to wait for Virgil van Dijk rather than moving down a list of alternatives was questioned but his patience eventually rewarded, as Liverpool kept negotiations under wraps in the final days of December. Few would deny Liverpool overpaid for the Dutch defender, perhaps to smooth things over with Southampton who they angered with their public courtship of the player, but he is a significant upgrade on their previous options. Comfortable in possession, van Dijk also has the mobility to cope in isolation which is critical given the aggressive defensive strategy employed by Klopp. The former Celtic man also gives Liverpool added presence in both penalty boxes particularly at set-pieces. Things started well with a Merseyside derby winner on his debut, but a rueful defeat to Swansea and three goals conceded against West Brom suggests he is no magic bullet. Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United/Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Arsenal Who got the better of the deal? That is the question you will hear repeatedly over the next few months, and plenty of tedious social media one-upmanship between both sets of fans. Put simply, Man Utd have the better player. Alexis Sanchez was involved in nearly a third of Arsenal's goals since the 2014/15 season, scored 30 and provided 15 assists last season and is world-class talent capable of playing in all attacking positions. At times, his slightly bombastic and unpredictable style can make it hard for him to fit into a system but that will suit Jose Mourinho just fine. His speciality is coaching teams to play without the ball, relying on moments of individual brilliance from his attackers to win him the game. Sanchez will produce plenty of those, and will be left to get on with his job by Mourinho who wanted to add some creative spark and genius to his team. Arsenal were backed into a corner after mismanaging the situation last summer but gained a fine player in return who they were close to signing in 2016. Mkhitaryan is in the mould of the wide-playmaker Arsene Wenger's best teams have always had: Robert Pires, Alex Hleb, Tomas Rosisky and Samir Nasri to name a few. Reasons to be cheerful for all parties. How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool to Barcelona (£142m) A deal that divides opinion among Liverpool fans, with some arguing the club should have kept Coutinho to ensure Champions League qualification while for others the astronomical transfer fee was irresistible. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Salah and van Dijk have arrived in the last two windows with prized midfielder Naby Keita due to arrive this summer. Liverpool could well emerge as a stronger unit post-Coutinho, particularly if they find a solution to their long-standing goalkeeping problem. Nevertheless, Klopp has lost a player capable of spontaneous moments of brilliance, something Liverpool lacked in defeat against a stubborn Swansea rearguard. It puts added pressure of the club to maintain the form and fitness of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino with Mane's diminished productivity a concern. For Barcelona, it is an expensive step towards replacing Neymar though as a creative midfielder player who likes to start from the left and dribble, Coutinho could prove a capable heir to Andres Iniesta. Ross Barkley - Everton to Chelsea (£15m) Sent to Coventry by Ronald Koeman and sidelined for months through injury, Barkley has a chance for a fresh start after things turned sour at Everton. At £15 million, this is a gamble Chelsea can afford to take and Barkley has enough talent to ensure there could be a significant upside. The challenge for Barkley is to define the type of player he is: a goalscoring No.10 judged on his end product or a central midfielder who starts moves with driving runs from deep? His decision making must improve and future managers will address his tendency to take too many touches. Barkley is reportedly part of Chelsea's wider strategy to recruit more British talent, but in the short-term he will give Antonio Conte more squad depth as the games stack up. Expect to see him in one of the two roles behind the centre forward in Chelsea's 3-4-2-1. Ross Barkley has a chance to re-establish himself at Chelsea Credit: Getty Images Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal (£55.4m) Putting aside what this deal says about Arsenal's 'ambition' and intent', they have signed one of the best goalscorers in European football and ultimately it's what happens on the pitch that counts. Alexandre Lacazette's goalscoring has tailed off, not helped by the wider dysfunction throughout the team, but there is a feeling he struggles to absorb the physical demands of a full season as lone striker. The Frenchman's touch and link-up play has impressed, but he is not as fast as many imagined and Aubameyang will stretch defences and offer more counter-attacking potency. One of the reasons the limited Theo Walcott lasted so long at Arsenal is that pace in the final third is essential for their football to function. Where will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fit in at Arsenal? Teams drop deeper instinctively, giving Arsenal more time to build play from the back and space for their array of attacking midfielders. Without that threat, teams can press the life out of them with impunity. Arsenal's away form has been dreadful, and Aubameyang will re-instate some of the fear factor previous Arsene Wenger attacks have carried. They will need to improve the quality of supply however to get the best from their record signing, and look for the ball over the top more often. Olivier Giroud - Arsenal to Chelsea (£19m) An emotional one for Arsenal fans, who were sad to see the player who bore the brunt of their anger for so many seasons leave. His late goals from the bench saw him gain something approaching cult hero status at the Emirates, and Chelsea have undoubtedly acquired one of the best 'Plan B' forwards in the division. Selling to their London rivals might have been necessary evil to push the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang deal over the line, but seeing Giroud in a Chelsea shirt could sting. Giroud is significantly better than the bizarre list of mis-fits Chelsea were linked with earlier in the window and is a proven goalscorer with an astounding conversion rate. Antonio Conte never fully trusted previous deputy Michy Batshuayi and has had precious few attacking options to change the course of a match. Giroud will not transform Chelsea's fortunes, but expect him to salvage a few points for them with late goals. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool to West Brom (loan) Relegation-threatened clubs always look for a goalscorer in January, and it is hard to recall a club in West Brom's position signing a player of Sturridge's calibre. Midlands rivals Birmingham City signing Christophe Duggary in 2003 is one contender, perhaps. Alan Pardew expressed his intention to make West Brom a more progressive and exciting team, but you need a certain amount of ammunition to make that a reality. West Brom have always been capable of damage limitation exercises, but have struggled to record enough wins against the teams around them particularly at the Hawthorns. Clubs at the bottom can look lost when asked to take the initiative in matches but the former Chelsea striker will help them do just that. Sturridge has a wide variety of finishes in his locker and quick feet in tight spaces. Theo Walcott - Arsenal to Everton (£20m) The former Arsenal man has continued to under-achieve at Goodison Park, with two goals and an assist in his first two league starts... Everton desperately required some pace and goal-threat in a squad over-populated by attacking midfielders and No.10s. Fans are well aware of Walcott's limitations by now: he has no left foot, struggles to play with his back to goal and possesses no tricks to dribble past a full-back from a standing start. There are two skills he brings to the table: the quality of his off-the-ball movement behind defences and his finishing, and he has made a career by truly excelling in these narrow parameters. Sam Allardyce will employ him on the right of a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, the role Walcott knows so well he could play it blindfolded. His bumbling manner on the ball and loose touches can frustrate, but his efficiency in the last third has never been in question. Theo Walcott has started well at Everton Credit: Getty Images Lucas Moura - Paris Saint-Germain to Tottenham Hotspur (£25m) Spurs have dropped points against Burnley, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham at Wembley this season, struggling to break down deep-lying defences in each of those draws. The signing of Brazilian winger Lucas Moura is intended to give Tottenham's attack more speed and unpredictability in these types of fixture. Mauricio Pochettino's team are built upon organisation and collective strength rather than the quality of individual parts. However, when teams sit back and ask them to create they can look a little bit too organised, co-ordinated and rehearsed. It risks becoming a little predictable, and Moura is a player who will bring intuition and the ability to produce something from nothing. Aymeric Laporte - Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City (£57m) Pep Guardiola can longer rely on the fitness of Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala was deemed surplus to requirements while John Stones has been error-prone since his return from injury. So Man City reached for the cheque-book and signed highly-regarded French centre-back Laporte who looks an ideal fit for a Guardiola team. At six-foot three, the former Bilbao man will bring mobility and physical presence to the City back-line. As a natural left-footer he will balance the back half of City's team and give them more angles and avenues to build-up from the goalkeeper. The transfer fee is hefty, but at 23 he could be City's centre back for the next decade if the move works as well as all parties hope.
The ten most significant Premier League deals of the January transfer window
Virgil van Dijk - Southampton to Liverpool (£75m) The most expensive Premier League purchase of the January window was completed on New Year's Day, as Liverpool landed the high-class centre back they were chasing all summer. Jurgen Klopp's decision to wait for Virgil van Dijk rather than moving down a list of alternatives was questioned but his patience eventually rewarded, as Liverpool kept negotiations under wraps in the final days of December. Few would deny Liverpool overpaid for the Dutch defender, perhaps to smooth things over with Southampton who they angered with their public courtship of the player, but he is a significant upgrade on their previous options. Comfortable in possession, van Dijk also has the mobility to cope in isolation which is critical given the aggressive defensive strategy employed by Klopp. The former Celtic man also gives Liverpool added presence in both penalty boxes particularly at set-pieces. Things started well with a Merseyside derby winner on his debut, but a rueful defeat to Swansea and three goals conceded against West Brom suggests he is no magic bullet. Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United/Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Arsenal Who got the better of the deal? That is the question you will hear repeatedly over the next few months, and plenty of tedious social media one-upmanship between both sets of fans. Put simply, Man Utd have the better player. Alexis Sanchez was involved in nearly a third of Arsenal's goals since the 2014/15 season, scored 30 and provided 15 assists last season and is world-class talent capable of playing in all attacking positions. At times, his slightly bombastic and unpredictable style can make it hard for him to fit into a system but that will suit Jose Mourinho just fine. His speciality is coaching teams to play without the ball, relying on moments of individual brilliance from his attackers to win him the game. Sanchez will produce plenty of those, and will be left to get on with his job by Mourinho who wanted to add some creative spark and genius to his team. Arsenal were backed into a corner after mismanaging the situation last summer but gained a fine player in return who they were close to signing in 2016. Mkhitaryan is in the mould of the wide-playmaker Arsene Wenger's best teams have always had: Robert Pires, Alex Hleb, Tomas Rosisky and Samir Nasri to name a few. Reasons to be cheerful for all parties. How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool to Barcelona (£142m) A deal that divides opinion among Liverpool fans, with some arguing the club should have kept Coutinho to ensure Champions League qualification while for others the astronomical transfer fee was irresistible. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Salah and van Dijk have arrived in the last two windows with prized midfielder Naby Keita due to arrive this summer. Liverpool could well emerge as a stronger unit post-Coutinho, particularly if they find a solution to their long-standing goalkeeping problem. Nevertheless, Klopp has lost a player capable of spontaneous moments of brilliance, something Liverpool lacked in defeat against a stubborn Swansea rearguard. It puts added pressure of the club to maintain the form and fitness of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino with Mane's diminished productivity a concern. For Barcelona, it is an expensive step towards replacing Neymar though as a creative midfielder player who likes to start from the left and dribble, Coutinho could prove a capable heir to Andres Iniesta. Ross Barkley - Everton to Chelsea (£15m) Sent to Coventry by Ronald Koeman and sidelined for months through injury, Barkley has a chance for a fresh start after things turned sour at Everton. At £15 million, this is a gamble Chelsea can afford to take and Barkley has enough talent to ensure there could be a significant upside. The challenge for Barkley is to define the type of player he is: a goalscoring No.10 judged on his end product or a central midfielder who starts moves with driving runs from deep? His decision making must improve and future managers will address his tendency to take too many touches. Barkley is reportedly part of Chelsea's wider strategy to recruit more British talent, but in the short-term he will give Antonio Conte more squad depth as the games stack up. Expect to see him in one of the two roles behind the centre forward in Chelsea's 3-4-2-1. Ross Barkley has a chance to re-establish himself at Chelsea Credit: Getty Images Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal (£55.4m) Putting aside what this deal says about Arsenal's 'ambition' and intent', they have signed one of the best goalscorers in European football and ultimately it's what happens on the pitch that counts. Alexandre Lacazette's goalscoring has tailed off, not helped by the wider dysfunction throughout the team, but there is a feeling he struggles to absorb the physical demands of a full season as lone striker. The Frenchman's touch and link-up play has impressed, but he is not as fast as many imagined and Aubameyang will stretch defences and offer more counter-attacking potency. One of the reasons the limited Theo Walcott lasted so long at Arsenal is that pace in the final third is essential for their football to function. Where will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fit in at Arsenal? Teams drop deeper instinctively, giving Arsenal more time to build play from the back and space for their array of attacking midfielders. Without that threat, teams can press the life out of them with impunity. Arsenal's away form has been dreadful, and Aubameyang will re-instate some of the fear factor previous Arsene Wenger attacks have carried. They will need to improve the quality of supply however to get the best from their record signing, and look for the ball over the top more often. Olivier Giroud - Arsenal to Chelsea (£19m) An emotional one for Arsenal fans, who were sad to see the player who bore the brunt of their anger for so many seasons leave. His late goals from the bench saw him gain something approaching cult hero status at the Emirates, and Chelsea have undoubtedly acquired one of the best 'Plan B' forwards in the division. Selling to their London rivals might have been necessary evil to push the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang deal over the line, but seeing Giroud in a Chelsea shirt could sting. Giroud is significantly better than the bizarre list of mis-fits Chelsea were linked with earlier in the window and is a proven goalscorer with an astounding conversion rate. Antonio Conte never fully trusted previous deputy Michy Batshuayi and has had precious few attacking options to change the course of a match. Giroud will not transform Chelsea's fortunes, but expect him to salvage a few points for them with late goals. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool to West Brom (loan) Relegation-threatened clubs always look for a goalscorer in January, and it is hard to recall a club in West Brom's position signing a player of Sturridge's calibre. Midlands rivals Birmingham City signing Christophe Duggary in 2003 is one contender, perhaps. Alan Pardew expressed his intention to make West Brom a more progressive and exciting team, but you need a certain amount of ammunition to make that a reality. West Brom have always been capable of damage limitation exercises, but have struggled to record enough wins against the teams around them particularly at the Hawthorns. Clubs at the bottom can look lost when asked to take the initiative in matches but the former Chelsea striker will help them do just that. Sturridge has a wide variety of finishes in his locker and quick feet in tight spaces. Theo Walcott - Arsenal to Everton (£20m) The former Arsenal man has continued to under-achieve at Goodison Park, with two goals and an assist in his first two league starts... Everton desperately required some pace and goal-threat in a squad over-populated by attacking midfielders and No.10s. Fans are well aware of Walcott's limitations by now: he has no left foot, struggles to play with his back to goal and possesses no tricks to dribble past a full-back from a standing start. There are two skills he brings to the table: the quality of his off-the-ball movement behind defences and his finishing, and he has made a career by truly excelling in these narrow parameters. Sam Allardyce will employ him on the right of a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, the role Walcott knows so well he could play it blindfolded. His bumbling manner on the ball and loose touches can frustrate, but his efficiency in the last third has never been in question. Theo Walcott has started well at Everton Credit: Getty Images Lucas Moura - Paris Saint-Germain to Tottenham Hotspur (£25m) Spurs have dropped points against Burnley, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham at Wembley this season, struggling to break down deep-lying defences in each of those draws. The signing of Brazilian winger Lucas Moura is intended to give Tottenham's attack more speed and unpredictability in these types of fixture. Mauricio Pochettino's team are built upon organisation and collective strength rather than the quality of individual parts. However, when teams sit back and ask them to create they can look a little bit too organised, co-ordinated and rehearsed. It risks becoming a little predictable, and Moura is a player who will bring intuition and the ability to produce something from nothing. Aymeric Laporte - Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City (£57m) Pep Guardiola can longer rely on the fitness of Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala was deemed surplus to requirements while John Stones has been error-prone since his return from injury. So Man City reached for the cheque-book and signed highly-regarded French centre-back Laporte who looks an ideal fit for a Guardiola team. At six-foot three, the former Bilbao man will bring mobility and physical presence to the City back-line. As a natural left-footer he will balance the back half of City's team and give them more angles and avenues to build-up from the goalkeeper. The transfer fee is hefty, but at 23 he could be City's centre back for the next decade if the move works as well as all parties hope.

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