Clement axed by ailing Royals

Championship strugglers Reading have sacked head coach Paul Clement, with the Royals having won just one of their last seven league games.

The 46-year-old former Derby County and Swansea City boss only took charge at the Madejski Stadium in March, helping the club avoid relegation to League One.

However, the Royals find themselves entrenched in another relegation dogfight this season, with Reading currently outside the bottom three on goal difference only.

A club statement confirmed: "Reading Football Club can announce that Paul Clement has left his position as manager of the club with immediate effect.

"CEO Nigel Howe will seek to swiftly identify and appoint a new manager who will fit the Reading mould, build a team which can deliver performances and results that will help us climb the Championship table and lead the club towards promotion in the future."

Clement had struck a positive note following a 2-2 weekend draw with Stoke City, telling reporters: "The concern is the position in the league, we are still not clear of it. My view is that if you string performances together, results will follow.

"You can't say we've played poorly in the last two games against Stoke and Leeds. Yes, we picked up one point, but we haven't played poorly.

"If you continue to play well results will follow, I'm convinced of that. That will be the objective."

Reading are priced at 1/1 to be relegated this season, with Rotherham United 11/8 and Hull City 4/1.

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Clement seals Yiadom coup

Reading manager Paul Clement believes the capture of the former Barnsley defender Andy Yiadom is a major coup for the Royals.

The 26-year-old Ghana international has spent the last two seasons at Oakwell but his contract with the Tykes has expired.

He previously played more than 150 games for Barnet having starred for Hayes  & Yeading and Braintree earlier in his career.

"I am very happy that Andy is joining Reading as my first signing since I have been here," said former Derby County and Swansea City boss Clement, who succeeded Jaap Stam as Royals manager in March.

"He is someone that I have known for a while and whose progress I was tracking when I was at Swansea. So I am very happy that he has joined us on a long-term contract.

"He comes here with valuable experience of the Championship – he's a good age too, and he has the right desires and ambitions which will help us to move forward with this club. We're delighted to get this signing over the line so early."

Meanwhile, Fulham are 8/13 to be promoted to the Premier League this season and Aston Villa can be backed at 6/5.

Royals look to Clement for safety

Reading are confident they have got the right man for the job of ensuring Championship survival by appointing Paul Clement as their new manager.

The 46-year-old former Derby County and Swansea City boss takes charge of the Royals following the recent sacking of Jaap Stam, with Reading only three points clear of the relegation places after going nine league games without a win.

And chief executive Ron Gourlay believes that Clement can steer his new side to safety, with their next game a visit from Queens Park Rangers on Friday 30th March.

He told his club's official website: "I am delighted to have secured the services of a hugely experienced forward-thinking manager like Paul.

"Not only has he coached at some of the greatest clubs in Europe, winning trophies, league titles and European honours and working with some of the greatest players in the world, fundamentally he also has a rich understanding of English football, having managed in both the Championship and the Premier League in recent years.

"Everyone at Reading is fully behind Paul and his squad of players as, together, we initially set our sights on an eight-game battle and continue to strive to the take this club forward."

Reading can be backed at 5/1 to be relegated this season, with Birmingham City available at 10/11 and Barnsley 11/10.

Last season the Royals reached the Championship play-offs, seeing off Fulham in the semi-finals before losing out to Huddersfield Town on penalties in the Wembley final.

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Clement linked to Royals appointment

Paul Clement is one of the early frontrunners to become the next Reading manager after Jaap Stam departed on Wednesday.

The 46-year-old has been out of work since December when he was sacked by Premier League Swansea after a year in charge at the Liberty Stadium.

Clement also endured a disappointing spell in charge of Championship rivals Derby County before being shown the door by the Rams in February 2016 after 33 games at the helm.

However, he has enjoyed successful spells in assistant managerial roles under Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea respectively, while he did have an initial positive impact when taking over the Swans as he guided them to Premier League safety in the second half of last season.

Clement would be available to step straight into the position after the Royals decided to part company with Stam with the Berkshire side sitting just three points clear of the Championship relegation places with eight matches remaining.

The club acted following a run of one win in 18 matches which is a far cry from the Dutchman's first season at the Madejski Stadium last term when he guided the side to the Play-off final at Wembley and only missed out on promotion via a penalty shoot-out defeat against Hudderfsield.

In a statement from majority shareholders Mr Yongge Dai and Ms Xiu Li Dai, the club said it had "wanted to give Stam every opportunity to turn around what has been a difficult and challenging Championship campaign".

"After careful consideration, the decision has been made that a change is now necessary," it added.

"We will now focus on identifying and recruiting the right person to take the club forward."

Other names in the frame are Stam's former assistant Andries Ulderlink, former Brentford and Nottingham Forest boss Mark Warburton and ex-Royals defender Grame Murty, who is currently in charge of Glasgow Rangers.

The Royals, who are 5/1 to be relegated this season, could have a new man at the helm in time for their next Championship game at home against QPR on Good Friday, 30th March.

They are 11/8 to pick up a vital three points, while the R's are priced at 21/10 and the draw is available at 21/10.

Ailing Swans call for Carvalhal

Swansea City have turned to former Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal as the man to try and guide them to Premier League survival this season.

The 52-year-old Portuguese was axed by the Owls on Christmas Eve following a run of seven Championship games without a win, having led Wednesday to the play-offs in each of the previous two seasons.

He takes over at the Liberty Stadium, initially until the end of the season, with the Swans bottom of the Premier League table and five points adrift of safety, having picked up just one point from their last four games.

However, City chairman Huw Jenkins is confident that his club have brought in the right man for the job, having parted company with Paul Clement shortly before Christmas and placed Leon Britton in temporary charge.

He told the club's official website: "Carlos' time at Sheffield Wednesday, which included securing two consecutive play-off places, highlighted that he has great character and personality to lead the squad and the football club, which is vital at such a crucial time.

"He has built up a lot of experience over the years which will ensure the team is structured and organised.

"He is driven and ambitious and, while he has a big challenge ahead of him, I know he will tackle it without fear."

Carvalhal's first game in charge of City comes on Saturday when they head to Vicarage Road to take on Watford.

In each of the last two seasons this fixture has been won 1-0 by the hosts, with Etienne Capoue scoring the only goal of the game in April this year.

Swansea can be backed at 11/4 to claim a draw on Saturday, with a 1-1 final scoreline available at 13/2, while City are 4/1 not to be relegated come the end of the season.

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Clement axed to aid survival bid

Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins says his club had to act and sack head coach Paul Clement to give themselves their best chance of avoiding relegation.

Clement was shown the door just under a year after taking charge of the Swans and leading them to Premier League survival thanks to a big upturn in form in the second half of last season.

However, this term City have struggled badly again and are currently bottom of the table, four points adrift of safety after three wins in 18 games.

That position, Jenkins believes, meant that action had to be taken, meaning that Clement's last game in charge was a 3-1 defeat at Everton on Monday evening.

"To change the manager, especially at only the halfway point of the season, is the last thing we wanted to do as a club," Jenkins told the club's official website.

"We had three different managers last season and, as a result, we all wanted to give Paul as much time as possible to turn things around.

"But we felt we couldn't leave it any longer and needed to make a change to give us the best chance of an uplift and a turnaround in fortunes with the club bottom of the Premier League.

"Paul has been at the club for 12 months and what he achieved in the second half of last season to keep us in the top-flight was a tremendous feat. For that and his effort and commitment this season, it goes without saying that the club thanks him for his work."

The Swans are back in action on Saturday afternoon when they welcome Crystal Palace to the Liberty Stadium.

City can be backed at 2/1 to claim a win, with a 1-1 draw priced at 11/2, while Swansea are now available at 10/3 not to be relegated this season.

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Bony blow adds to Swans woes

Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony faces time on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring early on in the 3-1 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.

The 29-year-old Ivory Coast international, who had scored in two of his previous three games, lasted just five minutes against the Toffees on Monday evening, with head coach Paul Clement waiting on the results of scans to find out the exact severity of the problem.

He said after another damaging defeat: "You get a hamstring injury, it's a minimum going to be 10 days out. Could be worse than that, but we'll see when we get the scan done."

Meanwhile, Clement has told his ailing squad to focus on the task in hand, with the rock-bottom Swans playing host to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Eagles have climbed out of the drop zone on the back of a run of one defeat in nine games in the Premier League, winning 3-0 at Leicester City last time out.

Clement added: "We're bottom of the table on 12 points. We've got to focus on getting to 15 points at the halfway mark and we can't look further ahead than Saturday's game against Crystal Palace."

"We've got to focus on getting a good performance from the players.

"Every game with each defeat it gets harder, but it doesn't affect my confidence and belief that we're going to get some good results."

City are priced at 2/1 to claim a draw at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday and are 12/1 to win the game 2-1, with the Swans available at 10/3 not to be relegated come the end of the season.

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Clement wary of resurgent Toffees

Swansea boss Paul Clement is not expecting Everton to be in a Premier League relegation battle this season ahead of Monday's trip to Goodison Park.

The Swans head to Merseyside stuck at the foot of the table and are four points adrift of the final position of safety having won just three of their opening 17 matches.

Everton were also struggling at the wrong end of the table earlier in the season, but the arrival of Sam Allardyce as Ronald Koeman's successor at the end of November has sparked a revival with 10 points picked up from their last four matches.

That has moved the Toffees into mid-table, seven points clear of the drop zone, with Clement convinced that they will not be dragged back into the lower reaches again.

He told the Swans' website: "Sam has had a big impact, even in the first game when he was sat in the stands (and Everton beat West Ham 4-0).

"They have had a big turnaround, and my opinion on that team is that they have been in a false position with the talent they have available.

"They lost a big player over the summer in Romelu Lukaku, but they spent a lot of money getting reinforcements and they are now more where they should be in the table.

"They will not be a team who end up in the relegation battle."

The game will also see former Swans' player of the year Gylfi Sigurdsson up against his old team-mates after he joined Evereton in a club-record £45million deal.

Clement added: "He is a threat but they have a lot of other good players like (Wayne) Rooney and (Aaron) Lennon, who is back in the team. They also have some good young players, so we expect a difficult game."

Everton, who are 1/2 to finish in the top half this season, are priced at 3/4 to defeat Swansea with Sigurdsson 12/5 to score at any time against his former club.

The Swans are available at 19/4 and the draw is 13/5.

Clement: Sanches needs to improve

Head coach Paul Clement has challenged Swansea City loanee Renato Sanches to show more than he has so far this season and earn a recall in the process.

The 20-year-old Portugal international midfielder has made nine Premier League appearances for the Swans since his summer switch from Bayern Munich, but was left out of the squads for the games against West Brom and Manchester City.

That situation sparked talk of a possible early return to the Bundesliga giants, despite Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes rubbishing such suggestions.

Now Clement has had his say and he insists Sanches is going nowhere, but does have to do more to force his way into the City line-up.

He said ahead of a Monday evening clash with Everton at Goodison Park: "He's been out of the last two squads, which isn't a good situation for Renato – he's not very happy about it.

"Renato is a very good player and I believe he can make a contribution for us, but in order for him to do that, he needs to start playing up to his potential and when he does that he will feature a lot more.

"But his reaction is very good in training, he's very motivated and knows what he needs to do.

"Contractually he's signed for us for the season and there were no stipulations about how many games he has to play. As for as I know, he's a player here for the season."

Swansea, who are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with Everton, are 11/4 to claim a draw on Monday, with a 1-1 final scoreline priced at 13/2, while City are available at 5/2 not to be relegated this season.

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This is the tale of David and Goliath

As football games go, this could be as one-sided as they come. Two teams who share a division but little else.

Betting odds are as poles apart as their respective incomes.

It may surprise sports betting fans to use the David and Goliath analogy but think about it.

Swansea are a club who sold their best two players this summer. In Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando LLorente, they lost the two talismans who kept them up last season, the former for a fee of £40 million plus.

Now their main man is someone who, like Sigurdsson before him, is enjoying a second spell at the club only because it didn’t quite work out elsewhere.

Wilfried Bony was at Swansea before being sold to Manchester City for £28 million in 2015.

When it didn’t work out for him, and in fairness the Ivory Coast international didn’t get much of a chance, he was swiftly deemed surplus to requirements, loaned out to Stoke and then sold back to the Welsh club for less than half that figure (£12 million).

Few clubs can afford to write off such an amount.

Yet, City are in a different league to most, a different financial stratosphere. For example, while other clubs have taken decades to build up a global brand in various ways, City have been able to bankroll theirs in less than a decade.

And their fans will argue, why not! They have the money and the power to become an established superpower.

They have been champions-elect in England for the past two months and have already been installed by some as favourites to win the Champions League.

The likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, currently second and third in the Premier League, have hardly been frugal but City’s starting line-up and substitutes in their 2-1 victory at Old Trafford cost a combined £560 million (compared to United’s £390 million, granted club record signing Paul Pogba was missing from the squad).

That is one reason why they are turning the Premier League title race into a procession.

Never have I seen a squad with so few weaknesses.

Whatever injuries or suspensions befall them between now and May, they have players on the bench who can come in and do an equally good job without the need for their flow to be disrupted.

After a 14th successive league win, a Premier League record, what price now a 15th?

Even in the unpredictable drama that is the Premier League, anything else in south Wales would be a major shock.

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