Nasri signing bolsters Hammers

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is hopeful that attacking midfielder Samir Nasri will make a positive impact for the Hammers in the second half of the season.

The 31-year-old France international has been training with the Premier League club for some time in a bid to earn a contract, having been forced to take time away from the game due to off-field issues.

And his efforts have paid off, with Pellegrini happy to work with Nasri again, having previously been in charge of the player at Manchester City.

The Chilean told his club's official website: "He is a player I obviously know well from our time together at Manchester City.

"He has been working very hard here in recent weeks to build up his fitness and condition after a long period without playing and he is now very determined to return to his best.

"Samir will give us another dimension in our attacking play. He already has very good experience of the Premier League and we hope that he will have a positive impact on the team between now and the end of the season."

Nasri started his career with Marseille, before enjoying spells with Arsenal and the Citizens, while he has also featured for Sevilla and Antalyspor.

He has won 41 caps for his country, while in his time in Manchester he helped City to two Premier League titles and a League Cup success.

West Ham can be backed at 4/6 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season and are 40/1 to claim a top-six finish.

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Leno: Gunners need a victory

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno says his side need a victory at home to Fulham on New Year's Day to help them get over their recent 5-1 thrashing at Liverpool.

The Gunners have won only one of their last five games in all competitions, having previously gone on a run of 22 games unbeaten prior to a 3-2 Premier League reverse at Southampton.

And former Bayer Leverkusen keeper Leno says it is imperative that the visitors are beaten at the Emirates Stadium on Tueday to ensure that morale is not further damaged.

The German told his club's official website: "It's good that we've got a game so soon, because we are very disappointed.

"Football can change quickly and we hope that we can win again on Tuesday. We have to look forward because we have another important game.

"It's the first game of the (new) year and we want to beat Fulham at home. We need to win."

The Gunners have a number of players rated as doubts for the clash with the Cottagers, with Hector Bellerin (calf), Mesut Ozil (knee) and Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal (both hamstring) all being closely monitored.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 12 top-flight meetings with Fulham, having powered to a 5-1 win at Craven Cottage earlier this season – a game in which both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette scored twice.

The Gunners are available at 1/3 to defeat Fulham, with Aubameyang 4/9 to score at any time in the game and 7/4 to score two or more goals.

The Cottagers won 1-0 at home to rock-bottom Huddersfield Town last time out to end a run of six league games without a win.

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Warnock boosted by City upturn

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock says his job of trying to recruit new players in the January transfer window has been helped by recent positive results.

The Bluebirds have picked up seven points from their last five Premier League games to move clear of the relegation zone, with the Bluebirds currently three points above the safety mark.

And that position has made life a little easier for Warnock, who remains realistic about being able to add to his squad over the next month.

He told reporters: "I'm not confident at all (of signing new players) as it is so difficult in January, but it's better for me when we have had a couple of results that we have had.

"It is easier talking to players when you are not bottom of the league. We can try and convince them we have a chance of staying up and ask them to come and help us out.

"It is far better for me to talk to players in that situation and if you look at the club and the crowds that are following us, it is an appealing place to come to."

City are back in action on New Year's Day when they play host to high-flying Tottenham Hotspur, with Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino warning his players that they are in for a hard time in South Wales.

He told his club's official website: "It's going to be tough, Cardiff are a tough team to play against. We need to be prepared for a big battle and were looking forward to it."

Tottenham are 9/20 to claim victory at the Cardiff City Stadium and are 8/1 to win by a 2-1 scoreline, with Christian Eriksen available at 21/10 to score at any time in the game.

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Mendy calling for Foxes focus

Leicester City midfielder Nampalys Mendy has urged his team-mates to stay calm and focus fully on trying to get back on track against Everton at Goodison Park.

The Foxes lost 1-0 at home to Cardiff City last time out, having previously claimed superb victories over Manchester City and Chelsea in their previous two Premier League games.

And Mendy says it is not the time to get too carried away by the setback at the hands of the Bluebirds, but instead refocus on the task in hand against the Toffees.

He told the club's official website: "Now we have to stay focused because we have a big game against Everton.

"It's a chance to recover quickly and to stay calm, because we have a lot of games. We must stay calm, not panic and (be) confident for the next game."

Meanwhile, Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has called on his side to be at their best against Leicester, with the Toffees having only won one of their last seven league games.

The England international told his club's official website: "I think we are playing well, we're gelling well – we just need to start getting that consistency.

"Leicester are a tough side. We won at their place, so they'll be trying to get a bit of revenge, but we've just got to bring our A-game, recover well and hopefully get three points."

Everton can be backed at 21/20 to secure a victory over the Foxes on New Year's Day, with a 1-1 draw available at 6/1, while the Toffees are 13/8 to keep a clean sheet for the first time in eight games.

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Moore happy to secure Holgate

West Bromwich Albion boss Darren Moore expects loan signing Mason Holgate to be a more than useful addition for the second half of the Championship season.

The 22-year-old defender has moved to The Hawthorns until the end of the current campaign, having not featured for parent club Everton since mid-September.

However, Moore is in no doubt that Holgate will prove himself to be decent signing for the Baggies, who are currently in third place in the Championship standings after mounting a nine-game unbeaten run.

He told the club's official website: "I tried to bring Mason into the squad in the summer, but at that stage Everton were not willing to release him.

"I want to get our business done as early as possible and this is a good start. First and foremost he is a good, good player. He is quick, agile, athletic and comfortable on the ball.

"He will compete for the right-back and central defensive positions. His enthusiasm to come also impressed me – he wants to play and I believe he is going to be a good addition for us."

Meanwhile, the Baggies have also extended the stay of veteran defender Tyrone Mears until the end of January.

The 35-year-old joined the Baggies in late August, having spent the last two and a half years in the United States and has since made appearances for Albion.

West Brom are 10/11 to gain promotion this season, while they are 4/1 to claim the Championship title.

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De Bruyne may miss crunch clash

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is unsure whether Belgium international Kevin de Bruyne will be fit enough to face Liverpool on Thursday.

De Bruyne, who has had two medial knee ligament injuries this season, played in the Boxing Day defeat at Leicester City but did not feature on Sunday in the 3-1 win at Southampton.

"I don't know how Kevin de Bruyne is," Guardiola admitted. "I know it's not serious, but I don't know if he can play on Thursday."

Oleksandr Zinchenko was at fault for Southampton's goal against City, but Guardiola said of the 22-year-old Ukrainian: "Zinchenko was the best player on the pitch today. Do you know why? Because after the mistake he didn't hide.

"I said to the guys at half-time, 'Learn from Zinchenko'. Everybody can make mistakes, everybody. But look at him for the reaction.

"It could have been 1-6 or 1-7, you have to score the chances. I'm pretty sure Liverpool won't give us that many chances."

David Silva and Sergio Aguero were on target for City while Raheem Sterling's shot deflected off James Ward-Prowse to make it 2-1 after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had grabbed Saints' goal.

Manchester City, 13/8 to win the Premier League title, are available at 21/20 to beat Liverpool on Thursday and 3/1 to edge the top-of-the-table clash by a one-goal margin.

Ake’s injury concerns Howe

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is unsure as to the severity of the injury Nathan Ake sustained during the 4-1 defeat at Manchester United.

The Dutch defender, who scored the Cherries goal at Old Trafford on Sunday, had to be substituted in the closing stages of the game with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.

The Bournemouth squad has been decimated by a string of serious injuries recently with Simon Francis, Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling and Adam Smith all currently sidelined by knee problems.

When asked about Ake's injury, Howe replied: "I don't know, I need to speak to Nathan and the medical team but it looked like a hamstring concern."

After watching his side slip to an eighth defeat in their last 10 league games. Howe added: "It was a tough day and a disappointing performance.

"Defensively, we weren't great and we weren't great with the ball which is a very bad mix when you come to Old Trafford.

"We didn't stop crosses well enough, didn't defend the crosses well enough and they have players that can hurt you in every position. We allowed those players too much time. It's certainly a game we will learn from."

Bournemouth are 8/5 to bounce back on Wednesday by beating Watford while they are 10/1 to record a 2-1 victory against the Hornets.

Villa rocked by Nyland blow

Aston Villa's promotion push has been dealt a major blow after Orjan Nyland suffered a serious Achilles injury in training.

The 28-year-old Norway international, who joined the club in the summer from FC Ingolstadt, looks set to be sidelined for the rest of the season.

He had been a regular in the Villa first team this season but now looks set to be replaced by Lovre Kalinic, who has agreed to join the club in January.

The 28-year-old Croatian will officially join Villa from Gent on Tuesday on a deal that does not expire until 2023.

Head coach Dean Smith said when announcing the signing earlier this month: "We are delighted to be signing someone of Lovre's experience and quality.

"He is an outstanding goalkeeper and we are looking forward to welcoming him when he joins at the beginning of January."

Meanwhile, Smith has recalled Tommy Elphick from his loan spell at Hull City.

Elphick said: "The chance to come back and work with the new gaffer and push for another promotion was a huge draw for me. There were no second thoughts. I am delighted to be back and get going as soon as possible.

"I see this as a fresh start. When I signed here two-and-a-half years ago, I came here to do something and we haven't done it yet. That's what's burning inside me – the desire to get the job done for this football club."

Villa, 7/2 to be promoted this season, can be backed at 17/20 to beat QPR on Tuesday.

Hodgson defends his approach

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson insists he was right to adopt a defensive approach to Sunday's clash against Chelsea at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles failed to create a clear-cut opening in the London derby as Maurizio Sarri's side edged to a 1-0 victory courtesy of N'Golo Kante's second-half strike.

Chelsea also hit the woodwork twice while Olivier Giroud had two goals disallowed.

Palace had won 3-2 at Manchester City earlier this month so it was something of a surprise to see them play so negatively against their fourth-placed opponents.

Hodgson's side are 14th after the defeat and only four points above the relegation zone, with the veteran former England and Liverpool manager saying: "We couldn't be more adventurous unless we wanted to get beaten 4-0 or 5-0.

"It wasn't one of our better days technically so we could have opened ourselves up for 40 minutes and see them exploit the spaces, or we could try and do what we did and keep things tight and the keep the game under some sort of control until 20 minutes from the end and try to take our chances.

"That's what we did but it didn't work as we didn't score. It was the sort of game where we could have played better on the ball, and they were very, very good in terms of their organisation and structure, so it was going to be a tight game if we could keep it tight. That's why we lost the game 1-0 and not by a lot of goals."

Palace are available at 10/3 to beat Wolves at Molineux on Wednesday and 14/1 to win the match from behind.

Pellegrini: We lacked energy

Manuel Pellegrini blamed tiredness for his West Ham United side's poor performance in Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Burnley.

Goals from Chris Wood and Dwight McNeil secured victory for Sean Dyche's side who could easily have won the match by a much wider margin.

The Hammers had been in a run of good form and a victory at Turf Moor would have lifted them up to seventh in the table but they produced a lack-lustre display against the Clarets, 4/11 to be relegated this season.

West Ham had played on Thursday at Southampton, 24 hours after Burnley had been thrashed 5-1 at home by Everton.

Pellegrini thought that had been a factor in his side's limp display, with the Chilean saying: "It's frustrating because we wanted to win this game.

"It was a good opportunity to go to seventh position in the table but I think we lacked the energy to win it. We arrived back from Southampton at 2am on Friday, and then 48 hours later I am sure that affected the recovery because that's the only reason why we played the way we did.

"It wasn't only that we didn't create many chances, they also created a lot of chances. 2-0 was not the score that they deserved – they deserved at least a couple more."

West Ham are 19/20 to defeat Brighton on Wednesday and 7/1 to beat the Seagulls 1-0.