Pellegrini eyes up top-six bid

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini says it is nice to be able to look up and not down after his side made it four consecutive victories in the Premier League.

The Hammers have surged into the top half of the table on the back of their four-game winning streak, with their latest success a 2-0 derby win at rock-bottom Fulham.

That left Chilean Pellegrini delighted with the continued good form and also positive in his outlook for the second half of the season.

He told reporters: "We are very happy, to win four in a row is not easy in the Premier League.

"Is sixth place a target? It's more of a target than when we started with not one point from the first 12 – it's very unexpected to be just two points from a European spot.

"We are talking about what is happening in the upper parts of the table and not at the bottom, I think that is the change of target for this season.

"The first five teams have a lot of points, but we will try to continue winning and see where our spot is in the table."

Next up for the Irons is a visit from Watford next Saturday, with the Hornets having ended a six-game winless run with a 3-2 victory over Cardiff City on Saturday.

West Ham are 13/10 to win the game at the London Stadium and are  to do so by a 2-1 scoreline, with the Hammers now 1/2 to secure a top-half finish in the Premier League this season.

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Guardiola pleased with response

Pep Guardiola said he was pleased with the way his Manchester City team responded to defeat at Chelsea, returning to the top of the table after victory over Everton.

City have gone top after beating Everton 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium, Gabriel Jesus scoring twice with Raheen Sterling also getting on the scoresheet. Dominic Calvert-Lewin got the goal for the Toffees which briefly gave them hope at 2-1.

Jesus opened the scoring midway through the first half, getting his first goal since August after being set up by Leroy Sane.

Sane was again the provider for his and City's second soon after half-time. Everton were back in the game through a Calvert-Lewin header but Sterling, on as a substitute, made the game safe for City who bounced back after their first defeat of the league season, at Chelsea last weekend.

That sent Liverpool to the top and they can return there with victory at home to Manchester United on Sunday.

However, City are there for a day at least and Guardiola was delighted with the way his team bounced back well from their setback at Stamford Bridge.

He told the BBC afterwards: "The players responded in a marvellous way. They have top players. Today was tricky, a dangerous, dangerous game.

"Everton is a top side, they draw at Stamford Bridge, at Liverpool it came down to the last second. I am very pleased.

"[Gabriel Jesus] settled so well from the beginning but it is better his family is here and strikers need to score goals. I am pretty sure he scored two nice goals that will be important for him."

City have another game in midweek; they are taking on Leicester City in the quarter-final of the EFL Cup at the King Power Stadium.

City are 4/11 to get the win which takes them to the last four of the competition with the Foxes 15/2. Jesus is 10/3 to score the first goal.

City are 7/4 to win the EFL Cup this season while they are 7/2 to win the Champions League.

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Klopp looks beyond trophies

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he understands the desire for silverware but dismisses it being the only concern.

His team play Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday with a win moving them back to the top of the Premier League.

The Reds have been close to silverware during Klopp's time in charge, being runners-up in the League Cup and the Europa League in 2015-16 and beaten finalists in the Champions League last season.

The Premier League represents a good chance this season with Liverpool shaping up to be the main challengers to champions Manchester City. However Klopp has denied that winning trophies is the only focus.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "What I have to do is make the best of the things the club is offering me – that is what I believe in.

"If people say the Champions League campaign last season was not a success because we didn't win the final then I cannot change that. Is the finish successful? No, but the ride was brilliant. I enjoyed it a lot.

"The pressure is from outside, people saying if I don't win silverware then I have to leave. In the moment you find someone who can do the job better you have to take him."

Liverpool finished fourth in the Premier League last season; runners-up to City were Manchester rivals United but they are struggling to break into the top four this campaign.

They travel to Merseyside 16 points behind Liverpool and eight points adrift of Chelsea who sit fourth.

Liverpool are 8/15 to win the game with United 11/2 and the draw 7/2.

Liverpool look set to be without Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold for Sunday's game while Jose Mourinho is short on numbers in defence with Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Victor Lindelof all doubtful.

Liverpool are 15/2 to win the game 1-0 while Mo Salah is 3/1 to score the first goal.

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Koscielny in to face Qarabag

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has said that he will give some of the squad a chance to play in the Europa League against Qarabag on Thursday night.

The Gunners are already through to the knockout stages of the competition. They top Group E with four wins and a draw from their five games so far.

Looking ahead to the final group game, at home to the side from Azerbaijan, Emery said, while respecting the competition, he will use it to rotate the squad with Laurent Koscielny likely to feature.

The Frenchman has not played for the first-team since suffering an Achilles injury seven months ago. He has featured in a couple of games for the Gunners Under-23 side and Emery says that while the defender won't be considered for Sunday's Premier League game at Southampton, he will be involved on Thursday night.

Emery told a press conference ahead of the game: "Our first mind in this competition is to be first in the group – which we have done – but we respect this competition and Qarabag.

"Tomorrow our objective is to win, we will give players chance to take responsibility and confidence. We are going to use tomorrow with some different players, with some coming from Under-23s. We also start to play with Laurent Koscielny."

The Arsenal boss also said that Mesut Ozil is ready to return to action. The German midfielder hasn't played since a match against Wolves on 11th November with the club saying he had a back injury.

Emery didn't say whether he would feature against Qarabag, only that he is in the squad and he will decide later whether he will play some part in the game.

The Gunners are 10/11 to win at St Mary's Stadium on Sunday to continue their unbeaten run and further boost their chances of a place in the top four of the Premier League. Southampton are 14/5 with the draw 13/5.

Arsenal are 1/1 to finish in the top four while they are 6/1 to win the Europa League.

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Gomes’ form pleases Silva

Everton manager Marco Silva is unsure whether he will be able to keep Andre Gomes at Goodison Park.

The 25-year-old is on loan at Everton from Barcelona and has impressed in recent weeks.

Silva has suggested he would be keen to sign Gomes on a permanent basis but is unsure whether Barcelona would agree to such a transfer.

Gomes has featured in seven games since late October, and Silva said: "I think at first, I agree, he is doing very well. But what is most important for me is the team and the squad, I think it is not fair just to talk about Andre.

"If Andre is doing well then he is helping our squad. He is getting better every time. Taking his responsibility in the squad is important for me as well.

"But if he is doing well it is because his team-mates are helping him since the first day.

"He has enjoyed his first two months but let's see what we can do. We are working on that [his future], I don't know if I have an answer in one week or two weeks.

"It is not something that it is in our hands. The best scenario to look at is it is not just in our hands as a club, not just in the hands of Andre, there is a third party as well. Barcelona are included, let's see when we can talk about the situation."

Everton, 9/2 to finish in the top six this season, are 3/4 to beat Watford on Monday.

Silva confident goals will come

Marco Silva has defended his strikers at Everton but has not ruled out making a move for another forward in the January transfer window.

The Toffees have scored just two goals in their last four leagues games and are the lowest scorers of the top eight with 21 goals from their 15 games so far.

They are in sixth position in the table, albeit well adrift of Arsenal in fifth and ahead of a match at home to Watford, Silva's previous club, on Monday, the Everton boss is backing his strikers to come good.

He told a press conference: "If you want to just look at the last few games, look at the games we played. It is not easy for strikers to score at Stamford Bridge, and Liverpool have conceded just one goal at home [in the Premier League] this season.

"Yesterday [against Newcastle] we controlled the match and all the moments. We created many chances but just scored one goal. To look at the last four games is not fair because we had chances to score more than one goal. The chances we created in the first half were enough to win the match against Newcastle."

Silva added that all clubs in the Premier League were in the market for a striker who can score 20 goals a season though he stressed he was happy with the players at his disposal.

Everton are 8/11 to win at Goodison Park on Monday night with Watford 4/1 and the draw 5/2.

Silva also told the assembled media that Jordan Pickford had responded well against Newcastle after his error in the 96th minute led to Liverpool winning Sunday's Merseyside derby.

He also said that Morgan Schneiderlin could be fit enough to return against the Hornets on Monday.

Everton are 9/2 to finish in the top six in the Premier League while they are 80/1 to break into the top four.

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Cook out for the season

Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook has been ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.

The 21-year-old suffered the injury during his side's victory over Huddersfield in midweek and the extent of it was revealed by Cherries boss Eddie Howe who said that Cook would be out of action for between six and nine months.

Howe told the club's official website: "It is a huge blow to a very talented player who has been a very important part of our side over the last 18 months.

"But Lewis is a strong character who only has to look around our dressing room for inspiration of how an injury like this is merely a setback and to know that he can come back better than ever.

"He will have the full support and love of everyone at the club throughout the next few months as he receives the very best treatment and rehabilitation possible."

Cook has made 56 appearances for Bournemouth since joining the club from Leeds United in 2016.

His form with the Cherries had led to international recognition. He was captain as England won the Under-20 World Cup in 2017 and was called up to the senior squad by Gareth Southgate, winning his first cap in a friendly against Italy in March.

His injury is a severe blow to the Cherries who have enjoyed such a good start to the season; that win over Huddersfield taking them onto 23 points from 15 games and they are seventh in the table, above Manchester United.

They play Liverpool at home on Saturday and are 9/2 to inflict a first defeat of the season on Jurgen Klopp's side. Liverpool are 4/7 with the draw 16/5.

Bournemouth are 8/15 to finish in the top half of the Premier League while they are 14/1 to make the top six.

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Lookman set for derby start

Marco Silva admits that Ademola Lookman's recent form means that the 21-year-old could feature for Everton in Sunday's Merseyside derby at Anfield.

The former Charlton Athletic player, who was sent out on loan to RB Leipzig in the second half of last season, has impressed in Everton's recent matches against Brighton, Chelsea and Cardiff City.

Silva, who has no new injury problems heading into the Liverpool game, said: "Ademola is doing more than enough to play in our starting eleven.

"When I take that decision [to name him in the line-up], it will be because he is deserving of it. I am really happy with him. He knows what my opinion is. But there is no doubting his quality and his talent."

Everton have a dire recent record in Merseyside derbies and have not won at Anfield since a 1-0 victory in 1999.

It is over eight years since the Toffees enjoyed any derby success and the Reds are unbeaten in the last 17 encounters between the two clubs.

Everton are sixth in the Premier League table after picking up 16 points from their last seven games and are 8/1 to secure a rare victory at Liverpool and 7/1 to keep a clean sheet in the match.

Jurgen Klopp's team, who lost 2-1 at Paris St-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday, are 13/2 to beat Everton 2-0.

Silva added: "For sure it will be a really tough match but I want my players to have big motivation. It is a fantastic game to play and our fans will be there with us.

"Words like 'fear'do not come into our dressing room. We have to be strong in all the moments in the match to win it but that is all that is in our minds."

Gracia confirms new deal

Watford have announced that manager Javi Gracia has signed a new contract, keeping him at Vicarage Road until 2023.

Following the Hornets good start to the season, talks were well underway to try and ensure the Spaniard would extend his stay with the club.

That is now confirmed, Gracia putting pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year deal.

He said, in a statement on the club's website: "I am very happy to extend my contract. I am very proud in this moment to be part of this club and to belong here for more seasons."

Club chairman and CEO Scott Duxbury added his delight that the negotiations are at an end with Gracia's future secured.

"From day one it was clear that Javi worked well with us and shared our vision of how to achieve success for Watford Football Club, and we are looking forward to continuing that work together for many years to come," he added.

Gracia is the ninth manager appointed by the Pozzo family since they took ownership of the club in 2012 and is the first to have his contract extended in that time.

He took up the role in January following Marco Silva's dismissal having previously worked with Malaga in La Liga.

Under his management Watford made a good start to the new Premier League season with four wins from their first four games including a 2-1 victory over Tottenham.

Gracia was named Premier League manager of the month for August and, though their form has not been as impressive since, they are still in the top half of the table, sitting ninth with 20 points from their 13 games so far.

They travel to Leicester on Saturday and are 23/10 for another three points with the Foxes 6/5 and the draw 23/10.

The Hornets are 4/6 to finish in the top half of the table at the end of the season while they are 20/1 to finish in the top six..

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Hazard to miss PAOK game

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has confirmed that Eden Hazard will miss the side's Europa League match with PAOK on Thursday due to a minor ankle injury.

With the Blues already through to the last 32 of the competition and just a point needed to win the group, the Chelsea boss says Hazard will not be risked, though he is hopeful the Belgian will be fit to return for their Premier League match against Fulham on Sunday.

Though the injury is relatively minor, Sarri is concerned that, coming so soon after a back problem, the injuries are affecting Hazard's form.

He told a press conference ahead of the PAOK game: "I am worried because 25 days ago he had a back injury, now the ankle. I think he has lost a lot of training, so it's normal he isn't in top physical condition.

"He needs to have one week of training and a couple of matches before going to the best level.

"This week is useful for him to have training, and then we will see. I think he cannot play ten matches in 30 days, so sometimes he has to rest."

With just one game to go after Thursday's match, the Blues are top of Group L having won all four of their games so far.

They are 1/3 to win the game with PAOK 10/1 and the draw 9/2. Chelsea are 5/1 to win the Europa League this season.

After that attention will focus back on the Premier League where Chelsea were beaten for the first time this season, away at Tottenham at the weekend.

They are now fourth in the table, just a point above London rivals Arsenal. They are 3/10 to finish in the top four at the end of the season with the Gunners 13/8.

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