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05th Apr 2024

SportsJOE scout: All the big stories, transfer news, injury updates and upcoming matches


SportsJOE scout

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We are into the business end of the season, and the football news keeps rolling in.

The SportsJOE scout is your one-stop shop for all the latest goings on in the footballing world, with a nice mix of transfer news, upcoming fixtures, breaking stories and comments from the players, coaches and pundits.

After a break for international football – friendlies and Euro 2024 qualifiers – the focus switches to domestic football. The Premier League had a full slate of weekend matches and there are more big games coming up. Let’s get straight into it.

What is happening this week?

The Premier League was back with a bang (except for at The Etihad) at the weekend, with the most match-day goals scored all season and a bundle of late goals and controversial calls. As it all shook out, Liverpool now top the league standings, with Arsenal two points back and Man City a further point behind.

The stand-out midweek matches were Man City looking to avenge their league defeat, earlier this season, to Aston Villa and Manchester United’s visit to Chelsea. This weekend has some humdingers, as Liverpool travel to Old Trafford on Sunday (3:30pm) with City (against Crystal Palace) and Arsenal (Brighton) also on the road.

Upcoming matches

As mentioned, the big game of the weekend is Liverpool heading to Manchester to take on a United side that knocked them out of the FA Cup, last month, in a 4-3 thriller. Liverpool have won five and drawn once (against City) in the league since they lost 3-1 to Arsenal, back in February.

United are already looking unlikely to claim a Champions League spot, unless they can tie together a winning streak. They drew against Brentford 1-1 but were pummelled for most of that match, with several players looking lethargic.

This Sunday also serves up Rangers vs. Celtic in the Scottish Premiership. Celtic currently lead the league by a point, but Rangers do have a game-in-hand.

Wise Words

We are embracing the moment and making sure we prepare for each game. This is where we want to be and we want to take this opportunity and make this happen… I am full of energy and it is the most incredible part of the season. I wasn’t in this position when I was a player so this is different.” – Mikel Arteta on Arsenal competing on dual fronts

Injury updates

Arteta was asked at his midweek press briefing about Dutch defender Jurrien Timber, who has only played twice for the Gunners this season. “Jurrien is doing very well and is back training,” said Arteta. “He is not far off.

“He is constantly training with us but the last part [of rehabilitation] is tricky and sometimes it takes a while. Hopefully it will be soon.. I think he has a good chance [of returning before the end of the season] and he will push it as far as he can.”

The latest injury doubts for Manchester United are Raphaël Varane and Victor Lindelof after both players went off injured in the draw against Brentford. Newcastle United are riddled with injuries, too, as Jamaal Lascelles (knee), Tino Livramento (ankle) Miguel Almiron (knee) all left the pitch in some discomfort during the 4-3 win over West Ham.

Transfer news

Neymar is being linked with a return to Brazil and his old club, Santos. The 32-year-old has only played five games for Al-Hilal, in the Saudi Pro League, and is already eyeing an exit. Despite Everton struggling, the price-tag for midfielder Amadou Onana seems to go up £5 million a week. West Ham are the latest club linked with the Belgium international

Arsenal have been linked with two strikers, ahead of the summer transfer market. Although they are banging in the goals since the turn of the year, Mikel Arteta’s side would be strengthened with a goalscoring threat. The Gunners have been linked with potential moves for Viktor Gyokeres (Sporting CP) and Alexander Isak (Newcastle). The Toon are reportedly keen on goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, which could see some sort of Isak arrangement reached.

Elsewhere, Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham are reportedly the main suitors for Brentford striker Ivan Toney, while Christian Eriksen may leave Manchester United in the summer, having found his playing time limited since he returned from injury.

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