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Football News: Cellino Bans Sky, Sunderland Desperate For Defenders And Eight Other Stories

1. Son shows his class
Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean forward Son Heung-Min scored a Gainfranco Zola-like goal as Spurs clinched a 2-1 win over Watford. Son's goal turned out to be the winner for Spurs over the ten man Hornets.

2. Allardyce prioritises the defence
With Sunderland battling relegation and conceding goals hand over foot, 37 league goals this season is the worst in the Premier League, manager Sam Allardyce is looking for the Mackems to tighten up defensively. Allardyce has admitted that the main target for the January transfer window has to be a central defender, if he can find one that is good enough. "We've got to get back to being a resilient defensive unit but the backline and the goalkeeper have to be the ones that ultimately secure those clean sheets, so a central defender is my first priority," said Allardyce. "For me, it looks like it might be from abroad, and then see where we go from there. Whether we can find one good enough is another matter." Allardyce admitted that it is more difficult to sign players from the English league, so he is targeting his efforts abroad.


3. Bamford to return to Chelsea
Patrick Bamford has told The Times that he will be leaving Crystal Palace, ending his season long loan spell early, to return to Chelsea. Last season the former Nottingham Forest youngster had an extremely successful loan spell in the Championship with Middlesbrough, but this time around things have not gone well for him, as he struggled with the step up in level. The 22 year old has made just 6 substitute appearances for Palace, missing a golden opportunity in the last match with Swansea City, much to Eagles' manager Alan Pardew's chagrin. "This was my last game for Palace," said Bamford as quoted by The Times. "If I am being honest, it has been terrible. No one wants to sit on the bench and not play. It was my decision. The coaches have just found out - I have told them I am going. The gaffer hasn't actually spoken to me. I will go and say bye now. But I think it will be fine. Shake hands and say it didn't work. No hard feelings. There were a few reasons for not playing, but you kind of saw through them. I was frustrated because there weren't many strikers scoring. After New Year I go back to Chelsea. It is up to me to work hard and see what happens I know I can fit in at this level."

4. Allardyce rules out Rodwell returning to defence
Despite a shortage of options at the back, Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has ruled out returning Jack Rodwell to the central defensive role he played at youth level with Everton. Despite Younes Kaboul being ruled out for two months with a hamstring injury and John O'Shea missing with a calf problem, Allardyce thinks it would be too risky to experiment with the former Manchester City player in a centre back position. Though that never stopped him trying full backs in the role earlier this season, now the Black Cats' manager feels that the position is too specialised for a central midfielder to play. Allardyce said: "Centre-half is not a strange position for Jack as he has played there as a youngster, but the position of central defender is such a specialist position in terms of the knowledge you need to play there in the Premier League. To play someone there without that knowledge is a risk. He has the potential, yes, but if I wanted to make him a centre-half I would really want to be teaching him in pre-season the basics of the position. That position would also nullify a lot of the abilities that he has got - he's two-footed, he can pass the ball well, he can run with the ball. He could come out from the back and play with it, but he wouldn't have the same effect that he can do in midfield. I think midfield is his best position."


5. Fans still boo van Gaal after Chelsea match
Manchester United fans saw a major improvement in performance in the home 0-0 draw with Chelsea, but still some sections of Old Trafford booed as the manager left after the final whistle.
Were they right to boo after an improved performance?

6. Howe believes in Cherries' spirit
Eddie Howe has claimed that Bournemouth do not need to buy in the January transfer window to survive in the Premier League this season. Howe has faith in his players', not just in terms of their ability, but also in their 'unbreakable spirit' as they fight to avoid dropping straight back down to the Championship. Howe said: "We are looking at the transfer window but it will be very difficult to do business. I prefer to focus on the players we have. We've certainly got enough to stay up. I believe in my players and we have an unbreakable spirit. We're moving in the right direction. We're not short of quality."


7. Hammers hopeful Payet will be back at the weekend
David Gold has high hopes that West Ham United's much missed star man, Dimitri Payet, will be back at the weekend. With the Hammers only having won once since Payet suffered his injury, the club will be delighted to see him back.

8. Wenger wants the credit for Ozil's revival
Arsene Wenger has looked to claim the credit for Mesut Ozil's upturn in form at Arsenal. The German playmaker has been in scintillating form this season, pushing himself to the forefront of any conversation about the best player in the Premier League and Wenger would like to think he had something to do with that. "You have to give me credit - I was always defending that point of view, even when you were sceptical about it," Wenger said. "I have seen a few good games from Mesut. What is important is that he convinces everybody he is not just a very talented player but he is working hard for the team and he has added scoring goals to assists. He is a complete player." While I take Wenger's point, it should also be remembered that he arrived from Real Madrid as the king of assists playing in a central role and becoming a hero among Madrid fans, Wenger decided to play him in a wider role, in which position his form dipped. So I am not sure Wenger can claim the credit for merely putting him back where he should have been to start with!


9. Barcelona boot player after just two hours
Sergi Guardiola (no relation to former manager Pep) signed for Barca B, then, just two hours later, was shown the door by the Catalan side. The 24 year old was found to have offensive tweets relating to Catalonia, which you can see here. The tweets are in Spanish, but it is easy to see that they are not likely to be well received in Barcelona.

10. Cellino bans Sky TV from Elland Road
Leeds United's owner Massimo Cellino has once again picked a fight with someone, this time Sky Sports, as the controversial Italian has banned them from Leeds homeground of Elland Road. With Sky set to televise tonight's clash with Derby County live, talks between the Football League and Leeds have been ongoing in an attempt to resolve the situation. "The League has been made aware that Sky personnel have been unable to access Elland Road today as previously arranged," a Football League spokesman said in a statement. "We have contacted Leeds United to remind the club of its obligations to our broadcast partner and to ask them for their observations. As yet, we have not received a response from anyone in authority at the club, but are hopeful that the matter can be resolved swiftly once the club does engage."

Written by Tris Burke December 29 2015 11:05:28