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Watford beating rivals to land this £5m-rated winger would help Gracia’s men regain lost momentum

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Watford should make a move for Joe Lolley in January

According to Daily Mail, Watford and Cardiff City are interested in making a move for £5 million-rated Nottingham Forest winger Joe Lolley.

The 26-year-old has also caught the eye of Championship outfit West Brom as the Baggies look to add more firepower to their attack to continue their surge for promotion. (h/t Daily Mail)

Lolley has been in tremendous form for Forest in the Championship this season, scoring 6 goals and providing 6 assists from 20 appearances in the second tier.

Lolley was at the centre of things as Forest played out a dramatic 5-5 draw with Aston Villa this week, providing 4 assists for Tammy Abraham and capped off an outstanding display with a wonderful goal towards the end.

The 26-year-old helped Huddersfield Town gain promotion to the top flight and made 6 appearances for the Terriers in the Premier League last season.

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Standing at 5ft. 10 inches, Lolley has just the perfect height for a winger. Essentially a left-winger by trade, Lolley has also been used on the left and through the centre in the attacking third. Operating as a right-footed inverted winger down the left, Lolley is known for his ability to cut inside with pace and uses his shooting ability to good effect to find the net from the edge of the box.

Blessed with a sound technique for a winger, Lolley has a good first-touch and keeps exceptional close control, allowing him to use his dribbling to weave his way past the defenders. He is also adept at link-up play and often plays short passes to combine effectively with his teammates down the flanks.

Lolley has averaged 2.4 shots, 1.4 key passes and 1.6 tackles per game in the Championship this season, figures which speak volumes of his all-around ability as a winger.

He is a player with a lot of character and mental toughness and has that ‘never say die’ attitude about him, having risen from the ranks of non-league side Kidderminster Harriers to the Premier League.

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To put things into perspective, Watford can do a world of good to their squad depth if they can beat Cardiff and West Brom to snap up Joe Lolley.

Watford made a bright start to their Premier League campaign with four wins on a trot but the Hornets have lost momentum in recent weeks with a series of lacklustre displays. Javi Gracia’s men were in the top six at the start of the season but have now slipped down to 11th in the standings.

As things stand, the manager needs to freshen up the squad with some new faces in January to get things back on track. And Joe Lolley’s ability to play on either flank makes him a handy addition to the attack.

Roberto Pereyra has been in good form this season, playing on the left of a midfield four while Will Hughes has done reasonably well operating from the right.

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Read More:- Signing these two players in January could help Watford bag a Europa League spot – Agreed?

However, the Hornets do not have too many backup options if either of the two wingers is sidelined with an injury. They have the likes of Gerard Deulofeu who can play on either side but Watford would benefit a great deal if they continue to use the former Barcelona man as a striker.

That said, Watford should definitely make a move for Joe Lolley to bolster the squad as he has all the attributes to replicate his success in the Premier League.

Cardiff City

[Image] Mason Greenwood to receive a start? – Predicted 4-3-1-2 Manchester United XI to face Cardiff City

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Manchester United vs Cardiff City Predictions: Manchester United Line-up

Manchester United play host to relegated Cardiff City on Sunday in the final game of their 2018/19 Premier League season.

The Red Devils have failed to qualify for the Champions League next season after they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Huddersfield Town at the weekend.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side can now only finish in fifth position, but they must see off their Welsh opponents and hope that Arsenal do not defeat Burnley at Turf Moor.

Team News

Romelu Lukaku is carrying a hamstring injury and isn’t expected to recover in time to feature. Alexis Sanchez was taken off early in the second half against Huddersfield due to an ankle problem and he remains doubtful.

Meanwhile, Jesse Lingard, Antonio Valencia and Mason Greenwood all have an outside chance to be part of the squad.

Probable Manchester United XI

Formation: 4-3-1-2

Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

David De Gea (GK)

De Gea has endured a torrid campaign in goal, but he’ll aim to end the season on a high.

Ashley Young (RB)

Young has led the team for most of the season and that won’t change at the weekend too.

Phil Jones (CB)

Jones has been in and out of the United team due to injuries and poor form. However, he’ll retain his place in the starting XI.

Victor Lindelof (CB)

Undisputedly the team’s best defender this season, Lindelof will be raring to help the Red Devils keep a clean-sheet against a relegated Cardiff side.

Luke Shaw (LB)

It was his mistake that led to Huddersfield equalise at the weekend. Shaw, however, will be desperate to make amends in the final game of the season.

Fred (CDM)

Fred has failed to justify his hefty price-tag in his debut season at Old Trafford. Solskjaer will hope the Brazilian finishes the campaign on a high.

Scott McTominay (RCM)

The only bright spot since the past month or so, McTominay deserves to keep his place in the starting XI.

Paul Pogba (LCM)

Pogba has gone off the boil of late, failing to influence games with his passing and leadership qualities. The Frenchman, however, will aim to end the season on a positive note.

Juan Mata (CAM)

Mata has done really well in the no.10 role, injecting creativity and a touch of guile to United’s attack. He is a certain starter against the Bluebirds.

Mason Greenwood (LS)

There is a big chance of seeing Greenwood receive his first start for the club. The teenager is one of the exciting talents from the United academy and has scored a truckload of goals in the youth leagues this season.

Read more Manchester United news, click here: Manchester United latest news

Marcus Rashford (RS)

Just like United’s other forwards, Rashford has been poor with his decision-making and finishing ability. Yet, Solskjaer could hand him a start in the final game of the season.

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Burnley

Burnley beating Crystal Palace to sign this £11m star from relegated PL outfit would be akin to striking gold

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Burnley Opinion: Why the Clarets should go all out to sign Josh Murphy?

According to a report from the Sun, Burnley and Crystal Palace are ready to pounce on Josh Murphy if Cardiff City are relegated from the Premier League.

Cardiff City were relegated after their 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace at home. The Bluebirds fought bravely throughout the season but fell just short. Neil Warnock’s side is braced to receive offers for Josh Murphy, who has scored three goals and contributed one assist in the top-flight, following his £11million move to the Cardiff City Stadium.

The report claims Burnley and Crystal Palace could make an offer of around £11 million for the 24-year-old, meaning Cardiff could get their money back for Josh Murphy, despite his modest return of three goals and an assist. That being said, Burnley should do everything possible to sign Murphy at the end of the season.

Burnley have struggled this season but have done enough to retain their Premier League status, at least for another season. After finishing an impressive seventh last season that resulted in their European qualification, the Clarets failed to make an impression this campaign.

With just a game left for Burnley, Sean Dyche needs to start planning for the upcoming summer transfer window. Dyche needs to invest in the right areas over the summer to make his squad capable of challenging for a top-10 finish. He needs to prioritise bolstering his attack, which has managed just 44 goals this term.

Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood have scored 21 goals between them in the Premier League but other than the duo, the Clarets have found goals tough to come by. What Dyche needs to do is bring some energy to his predictable attack and a player like Josh Murphy could make a difference at the Turf Moor next season.

Predominantly a winger, Murphy can also play as a no.10 or as a second striker. The former England U20 international is blessed with explosive pace and dribbling skills and is noted for his ability to outsmart the defenders with his subtle movement in and around the penalty area.

To Read More Burnley News, Click Here:- Latest Burnley News

He possesses good composure in front of goal as well and has the natural qualities to make Burnley tick in attack next season.

Verdict

Having lacked the presence of a speedy and creative winger in the attacking ranks this season, Burnley should go all out in their pursuit of a new wide-man in the summer and Murphy is exactly the kind of player that they should be looking at, though they would need to beat Palace for his signature.

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Burnley

Crystal Palace splashing the cash on this rising PL star could very well pay off for Hodgson next season – opinion

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Crystal Palace Opinion: Eagles should beat Burnley to sign Josh Murphy

According to Wales Online, Crystal Palace and Burnley are set to go head-to-head in a transfer tug of war over Cardiff City winger Josh Murphy in the summer, provided the Bluebirds get relegated to the Championship.

Cardiff are currently placed 18th in the standings, 4 points adrift of safety, and Neil Warnock’s side will have to get positive results from their two remaining games against Crystal Palace and Man United. That, however, might not be enough if Brighton do not drop points against Arsenal on Sunday.

Neil Warnock struck an £11million deal to bring Josh Murphy from Norwich City last summer upon Cardiff’s promotion to the Premier League but the 24-year-old hasn’t quite justified that price tag in the top-flight.

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Murphy, who is considered as one of Cardiff’s best options in the attacking third, has contributed with only 3 goals and an assist from 27 appearances in the league.

Murphy joined Norwich’s youth system as a school kid before making his first-team debut for the Canaries in 2013. He spent time on loan at Wigan Athletic and MK Dons in the Championship before establishing himself as a regular at Carrow Road.

The former England U-20 international racked up 20 goals and 12 assists from 107 appearances for his boyhood club in all competitions before joining the Bluebirds last summer.

Interest from the Eagles and the Clarets in Josh Murphy comes as little surprise given that both the teams have struggled to score goals in the Premier League this season.

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Having recovered from their early-season woes, both the teams have steered themselves to safety in the top-flight but they would need to bolster their attacking options in the summer to challenge for better things in the Premier League next term.

To put things into perspective, Josh Murphy would be a handy signing for both the aforementioned clubs but Palace should look to get one over their mid-table Premier League rivals by striking a deal for the electric winger this summer.

Murphy has struggled to make a big impact at Cardiff City this season but the Eagles should remember that this was his first full season in the top-flight. Cardiff, as a unit, have looked listless in the attacking third and it would be unfair to put the blame entirely on Murphy for that.

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Palace can certainly do with a bit more pace and flair in their attack, with Max Meyer failing to live up to the expectations in the Premier League, following his arrival on a free transfer last summer.

Jeffrey Schlupp has chipped in with 4 goals in the league and has done a fair job defensively as well, but the Eagles need to bring in an out-and-out left-winger to add more bite to their attack. And Josh Murphy certainly fits the bill.

The Eagles are in danger of losing the services of Wilfred Zaha in the summer, with the Ivorian linked with moves to several top clubs across Europe.

Andros Townsend has also blown hot and cold throughout the season, and although Murphy hasn’t been prolific for Cardiff, he can add more depth to the squad and increase competition for places at Selhurst Park.

The 24-year-old jet-heeled winger has the pace to burn, and that accompanied by his dribbling skills, make him a dangerous player down the flanks.

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He tends to fade away from the game at times and has a habit of letting his team down with lean patches in front of goal but few can deny that he can be very effective on his day.

Adept at using his pace to cut inside from the wide areas, Murphy not only has a good eye for goal but he also has the ability to set up goals for his teammates with incisive passes and accurate crosses.

To Read More Crystal Palace News, Click Here:- Latest Crystal Palace News

Murphy is yet to reach his prime as an attacker but working at Palace under the able guidance of Hodgson should get the best out of him.

He might be a bit of a risky signing for the Eagles but this is one of those moves that can bring a lot of rewards as well.

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