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09 September 2023

Wonder-goal from Manchester United's new 'old' boy PLUS more Euro highlights

09 September 2023

Jonny Evans, newly signed to Manchester United, scored a remarkable solo goal in Northern Ireland's match against Slovenia, but his team fell to a 4-2 defeat, dashing their Euro 2024 qualification hopes. Despite this, Evans expressed dissatisfaction with his performance. In contrast, Manchester United's Danish players shone in their 4-0 victory against San Marino, with Rasmus Hojlund coming on as a substitute and Christian Eriksen providing three assists. With just one win from four Group H games, Northern Ireland are now trailing Denmark by seven points.

The 2023/24 EFL Championship season has begun with Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion experiencing contrasting fortunes. Preston North End and Ipswich Town top the table, while Leeds United and Middlesbrough struggle. Sheffield Wednesday have had a difficult season start under Xisco Muñoz, whilst newcomers Plymouth Argyle have made a positive impact. Hull City are also showing promise. Predictions by bookmakers have been upset by the unexpected developments in the division. The final league table is still uncertain, dwelling on the results from the fixtures before the international break.

During the first international break of the season, Manchester United and Manchester City are experiencing contrasting fortunes. City have won all their Premier League games, aiming for a fourth consecutive title. United, on the other hand, have faced defeat in both their away matches against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, despite winning their home games. Opta's data experts, after simulating the season's likely progression, have made predictions on the teams' probable final standings. How the two Manchester clubs are expected to conclude the season will be revealed later.

The 2023 EFL Championship summer transfer window saw historic spending of over £214 million across 24 teams. High-value transfers included Joël Piroe from Leeds United to Swansea City for £12 million and Shea Charles' £10.5 million move from Manchester City to Southampton. Other significant deals involved Harry Winks, Ross Stewart, Haji Wright and Tom Cannon. However, Birmingham City demonstrated shrewd spending, laying out only £7 million for 13 new signings. Major shifts in the division's 'market values table' have resulted from the extensive spending and numerous player trades.

Former Rangers striker, Robbie Ure, has secured a one-year contract with Belgian giants Anderlecht after leaving Ibrox. The 19-year-old impressed during a trial and will play for Anderlecht's development squad. Luis Palma, a new recruit at Celtic, was persuaded by his old team Vida to opt for a move to Greece over Portugal in early 2022. Vida's president revealed they sacrificed some of their transfer sell-on fee to support Palma's career decision. Now at Celtic, Palma is expected to make a significant impact.

Everton are welcoming back a trio of players to team training over the international break. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Seamus Coleman, and Dwight McNeil are all recuperating and building fitness. Calvert-Lewin could likely return to the squad post-break with his cheekbone appearing healed, while McNeil's return could boost Everton's left flank. Coleman could support Patterson with game minutes. Jarrad Branthwaite is also expected to be fit post-break. Players still out of action include Harrison, Andre Gomes, and Dele Alli, but the situation is looking up for manager Sean Dyche.

Manchester City and Manchester United were among the top spenders in the summer transfer window, targeting improvements to their squads. City invested heavily in Josko Gvardiol, while United's standout signing was Rasmus Hojlund. However, these two weren't the only Premier League clubs spending large sums. Analysis of each club's spending against Transfermarkt's player values reveals the extent of overspending, with loan signings excluded. This presents an interesting picture of the club's business savvy, with those showing a negative total deemed the most effective. Rankings of City and United's overspending are enclosed within.

Jesse Lingard could finally be on the brink of settling his future after being released by Nottingham Forest last season. His successful loan stint at West Ham in 2020/21 ignited interest in a permanent move, but Lingard opted to return to Manchester United, where his appearances were limited. Despite initially rejecting West Ham, Lingard, now training with the club, has reportedly impressed in a closed-door friendly. The club are now reportedly considering a contract offer, a U-turn from manager David Moyes' previous dismissal of Lingard's return. Lingard remains open to options, keen to select the right team for him.

Scotland's manager Steve Clarke expressed disappointment at losing Newcastle United midfielder Elliot Anderson due to injury. Anderson, 20, was called up for the first time for the Euro 2024 qualifier in Cyprus and the match against England next Tuesday. However, a training injury has meant Anderson returning to Tyneside for treatment. His injury also provides an opportunity for England to secure the former Bristol Rovers loanee, who has yet to earn a senior cap. Anderson had previously represented Scotland at youth level before switching to England at under-19 level, then returning to the Scottish side at under-21 level.

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