Iborra heads out of Leicester

Leicester City have confirmed that Vicente Iborra has joined Spanish La Liga side Villarreal on a permanent deal for an undisclosed transfer fee.

The 30-year-old midfielder made 37 appearances for the Foxes following his arrival from Sevilla in the summer of 2017.

He played for Levante before joining Sevilla where he won three Europa Cups during a four-year spell.

This season Iborra made 11 appearances for Claude Puel's side, who were knocked out of the FA Cup by League Two side Newport County on Sunday.

A brief statement on Leicester's official website read: "The club would like to thank Vicente for his contribution over the past two seasons and wish him and his family the very best in the future."

Meanwhile, Puel has urged his side to bounce back from their shock 2-1 defeat in Newport when they play Southampton at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Frenchman said: "For the moment, we have to recover after this disappointment and of course all our focus and concentration on our Premier League games and to give our best to continue this way.

"I hope we have the strength together to continue a fantastic way in the Premier League after this big disappointment."

Leicester, 2/9 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season, are 19/20 to beat Saints and 9/2 to win the match by a two-goal margin.

Nuno wants Traore improvement

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is looking to see an improvement in record signing Adama Traore, starting in the FA Cup at home to Liverpool.

The two Premier League teams meet in the third round of the cup at Molineux on Monday night and Traore is likely to feature after a disappointing start to his time with Wolves.

Signed from Middlesbrough for £18m at the start of the season, Traore has scored one goal and is yet to provide an assist during his time with the club and overall, in his time in the Premier League with Aston Villa, Boro and now Wolves he has two assists to his name with just nine shots on target.

Nuno has played Traore in 18 Premier League games so far in what has generally been a good first season back in the top flight for Wolves.

However, they are looking to strengthen in the January transfer window with Tammy Abraham possibly joining from Chelsea on loan.

Nuno says he and his staff believe in Traore but want to see more from him.

He said: "Adama must improve, of course he has good things and given us good moments but he has to be consistent through all the performances. This is something we are really focused on because we truly believe in his qualities.

"I think he is focused, he is working hard and we are helping him to achieve what we want. He needs to improve on a lot of things, like all the players.

"He brings an element of speed, unpredictability, quality and at the same time he must improve in all the aspects of the game."

Wolves are 3/1 to win Monday's game with Liverpool 19/20. Wolves are 10/1 to win the game 1-0.

Liverpool lost their first league match of the season in midweek, at title rivals Manchester City.

Wolves, by contrast, have lost five of their last seven home games including a defeat to Liverpool in December.

Nuno has a fully fit squad available for the game including Diogo Jota, back in full training while Romain Saiss suffered a knee injury against Crystal Palace in midweek but is fit again.

Wolves are 1/4 to finish the season in the top half of the Premier League.

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Puel pleased to bounce back

Leicester City manager Claude Puel was pleased with the way his players responded to the home defeat to Cardiff City by winning 1-0 at Everton.

Jamie Vardy's seventh Premier League goal of the season proved decisive at Goodison Park as the Foxes moved up to seventh in the table.

Leicester have picked up nine points out of 12 during the hectic festive programme as they beat Chelsea and Manchester City earlier this month before losing 1-0 at home to relegation-threatened Cardiff.

Puel said afterwards: "I think we had a disappointment after the game against Cardiff. It was important to have the right reaction in this situation. I am happy, of course, about my players and about their work and togetherness.

"They gave their best. It was the same thing against Cardiff. I think against Cardiff, we lacked a little more freshness to have the efficiency and precision in their play – good pass, good touches, good control and good moves, all these things.

"It was difficult for Everton and for us. It's normal in this busy period for all the players to be tired, but it was important to have good opportunities, to be strong and to use a good counter-attack to score and to win this game."

Leicester, 1/3 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season, can be backed at 2/7 to beat Newport County in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

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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Howe refuses to be rushed

Eddie Howe has admitted that he has not decided whether to strengthen his injury-ravaged Bournemouth squad in the January transfer window.

Simon Francis, Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling and Adam Smith have all suffered serious knee problems in the last two months which has left Howe with some serious selection problems.

They will all be unavailable for Sunday's Premier League match at Manchester United with captain Francis picking up his injury during the 5-0 defeat against Tottenham on Boxing Day.

Howe said: "Nothing has been decided. We have made no moves in the market at all at the moment. I think it's a case of still seeing what options we have available to us.

"It would be foolish of me to make that promise and pledge but we are looking at what we can do.

"Simon's injury is a huge blow for us. He has been our leader on the pitch, our captain, role model and is going to be a big miss from the dressing room.

"I feel for him first and foremost. He is a great professional who has done everything right, to come up the leagues in the way he has, has been hugely impressive."

Bournemouth, 1/1 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season, are 17/4 to draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Gracia: Doucoure may leave

Watford head coach Javi Gracia has admitted that Abdoulaye Doucoure may leave Vicarage Road during the January transfer window.

Doucoure, who signed a new contract with the Hornets in August that runs until 2023, has been linked with Everton, who are managed by former Watford boss Marco Silva, Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal.

Former Watford striker Richarlison joined Everton in the summer and Gracia would not be surprised if Doucoure, who has started all 19 Premier League games for the club this term, made the same switch.

Gracia said of the 25-year-old: "Last season every week we were talking about Liverpool or Everton, all the clubs that were interested in him.

"We can speak about it again. For me Doucoure is a great player, a very important player for us. I do not know what will happen. It doesn't surprise me other clubs want to sign him because he is a very good player.

"In this moment, he is playing for us and I try to help him improve his level – thinking he is going to be with us for a long time. It is important the club know how important he is – the owner as well. But after that, they decide what is better for the club.

"Sometimes some players, like last season what happened with Richarlison, decide themselves. It could happen again. This is something we don't want, but it is football."

Watford are 8/11 to beat Newcastle United on Saturday and 5/4 to keep a clean sheet in the match.

Anderson’s form thrills Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini believes Felipe Anderson can get even better after watching the Brazilian star in West Ham United's 2-1 win at Southampton on Thursday.

The 25-year-old former Lazio star scored both the Hammers' goals at St Mary's to bring his tally for the first half of the season up to eight.

The victory was West Ham's fifth in six Premier League matches and lifted them up to ninth in the table.

"I am happy," Pellegrini said. "When you start with zero points in 12 then it's always difficult to recover your position in this way.

"In this moment, we are in the top 10. We will continue fighting and try to finish the season as near the top of the table as we can."

The Chilean said of Anderson: "He's a different player. He's a player that makes important things in every game.

"I continue to think that he will continue to improve. He is still losing too many balls; maybe he needs to understand that it's not easy in the Premier League."

West Ham, 8/13 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season, are 5/4 to beat Burnley on Sunday with Anderson available at 12/5 to score at any time against the Clarets at Turf Moor.

Howe rues Francis’ misfortune

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has revealed that Simon Francis ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Tottenham.

The 33-year-old Cherries captain has been ruled out for between six and nine months after sustaining the same injury as Lewis Cook picked up against Huddersfield earlier this month.

Adam Smith has also suffered a major knee problem this season.

Howe said of Francis, who suffered the problem when he fell awkwardly during the 5-0 defeat to Spurs at Wembley: "We are devastated to have lost Simon to a serious knee injury.

"It is a huge blow to lose our captain and someone who has performed so well for the team over a long period of time.

"There is a long road ahead but Simon is a model professional who has a positive mind-set and is surrounded by good people. I know he will leave no stone unturned in order to get back as soon as possible.

"He will receive the best possible medical care as well as the love and support of everyone at the club."

Bournemouth, 1/1 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season, travel to face resurgent Manchester United this weekend. The Cherries are 8/1 to win at Old Trafford and 9/2 to draw against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team.

Puel happy despite cup defeat

Leicester manager Claude Puel said he was left feeling pride after losing to Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup.

The Foxes went out of the tournament, but only on penalties after holding the Premier League champions to a draw on the night.

As his team prepare to face another top team in Chelsea this weekend, Puel said he and the players can take satisfaction from what they achieved at the Etihad.

He told a press conference ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge: "I am happy about our game. We played against a strong team, one of the best in Europe.

"They have an average of three goals a game and we managed our game to get a draw. Unfortunately, we didn't manage our penalties well."

He added that, provided the team have the same mentality as against City, they can go into the weekend's match with confidence.

They are 10/1 for a win on Saturday with Chelsea 1/3 and the draw 9/2.

Jamie Vardy was rested against Manchester City but is in line for a recall while there are doubts over Ben Chilwell and Wilfred Ndidi.

Leicester are 12th in the Premier League table while Chelsea are fourth, having made a good start under new manager Maurizio Sarri.

The game at Stamford Bridge is followed by three matches in seven days over the Christmas period for the Foxes. They play Manchester City again on Boxing Day, this time on home turf and then host Cardiff before travelling to Everton on New Year's Day.

They then have a mini-break from the league, competing in the FA Cup, travelling to League Two Newport in January.

Vardy is 11/4 to score at any time on Saturday while the Foxes are 50/1 to finish the season in the top six of the Premier League.

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Puel happy despite EFL defeat

Leicester manager Claude Puel said he was left feeling pride after losing to Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup.

The Foxes went out of the tournament, but only on penalties after holding the Premier League champions to a draw on the night.

As his team prepare to face another top team in Chelsea this weekend, Puel said he and the players can take satisfaction from what they achieved at the Etihad.

He told a press conference ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge: "I am happy about our game. We played against a strong team, one of the best in Europe.

"They have an average of three goals a game and we managed our game to get a draw. Unfortunately, we didn't manage our penalties well."

He added that, provided the team have the same mentality as against City, they can go into the weekend's match with confidence.

They are 10/1 for a win on Saturday with Chelsea 1/3 and the draw 9/2.

Jamie Vardy was rested against Manchester City but is in line for a recall while there are doubts over Ben Chilwell and Wilfred Ndidi.

Leicester are 12th in the Premier League table while Chelsea are fourth, having made a good start under new manager Maurizio Sarri.

The game at Stamford Bridge is followed by three matches in seven days over the Christmas period for the Foxes. They play Manchester City again on Boxing Day, this time on home turf and then host Cardiff before travelling to Everton on New Year's Day.

They then have a mini-break from the league, competing in the FA Cup, travelling to League Two Newport in January.

Vardy is 11/4 to score at any time on Saturday while the Foxes are 50/1 to finish the season in the top six of the Premier League.

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