Manchester United have lined up another exciting midfield transfer target amid their ongoing pursuit of Bruno Fernandes.

As the wrangling over figures with Sporting CP continues, the Red Devils have reportedly submitted a sizeable offer to Birmingham City for teenage talent Jude Bellingham.

But making the first move might only spark a European bidding war.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SUBMIT BELLINGHAM BID

Birmingham youngster Bellingham's clear potential has convinced United to launch an offer worth more than £30million, reports the Sun and Sky Sports.

The 16-year-old midfielder has burst onto the scene this season and the Old Trafford outfit are understood to be keen to test him in the Premier League.

However, they could face stiff competition from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and other heavyweight clubs across the continent.

The Mirror, meanwhile, claims United have made a "breakthrough" in negotiations for Portugal international Fernandes, having reached a "compromise" transfer fee in the region of £55m.

 

ROUND-UP

- David Beckham's Inter Miami have contacted Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero to assess his interest in a switch to MLS, adds the Sun.

- Tottenham have enquired about Real Madrid winger and former Spurs star Gareth Bale, according to Spanish television programme El Chiringuito.

- Barcelona, still searching for a new striker, have ruled out RB Leipzig's Timo Werner and Lille's Victor Osimhen, suggests Mundo Deportivo, with Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno a more likely target.

- Serie A side Roma are set to discuss personal terms with Matteo Politano after agreeing a €25million fee with Inter, according to Sky Sport Italia.

- Inter, meanwhile, are said to be in discussions with United youngster Tahith Chong, who is also on Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning's radar as his contract runs close to expiring, says Sky Sport Italia.

- Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali is interesting Premier League champions City and Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, reports SportMediaset.

Tom Barkhuizen scored a first-half double as Preston North End beat Barnsley 3-0 to go sixth in the Championship and tempers flared when Birmingham City had a late winner disallowed at Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

Preston replaced Swansea City in the final play-off spot after dominating the first half at Oakwell, forward Barkhuizen grabbing a brace either side of Daniel Johnson's strike.

Defeat for the third-bottom Tykes leaves them four points behind Stoke City, who sit directly above the relegation zone.

Ashley Fletcher salvaged a 1-1 draw for Boro after Lukas Jutkiewicz headed Birmingham in front against his former club in the first half.

Lee Camp saved a Paddy McNair penalty before Jutkiewicz nodded in, but Fletcher was on target nine minutes from time for Jonathan Woodgate's side.

There was drama in the closing stages when Jutkiewicz had the ball in the back of the net but the goal was chalked off by referee Andy Woolmer, with Boro winger Marcus Tavernier down injured.

That sparked a touchline melee, resulting in Blues head of performance Sean Rush and Boro assistant Leo Percovich being sent off. A point apiece leaves Boro and Blues 17th and 18th respectively.

 

Leeds United remain top of the Championship after a 1-1 draw with West Brom at The Hawthorns on Wednesday.

Semi Ajayi put the Baggies ahead in only the second minute but was unfortunate in deflecting Patrick Bamford's header into his own net to bring Leeds level.

The result means Marcelo Bielsa's side stay above West Brom on goal difference after 26 matches.

The earlier fixtures were largely a feast of goals as 2020 started in enthralling fashion, with Stoke City winning 5-2 at Huddersfield Town and QPR thrashing Cardiff City 6-1.

Brentford were big winners away to Bristol City, Nottingham Forest edged out Blackburn Rovers in a five-goal thriller and Wigan Athletic held on to win 3-2 at Birmingham City.

Fulham's promotion bid suffered another setback with a 2-1 loss to Reading, Middlesbrough made it back-to-back away victories and Hull City snatched three points at Sheffield Wednesday.

In the first game of the new decade, Millwall came from behind to beat Luton Town 3-1 and climb into the top six.

BAGGIES MISS CHANCE TO GO TOP

Ajayi poked home after a penalty-box scramble to give West Brom an early lead against Leeds and Slaven Bilic's side were good value for their advantage in the first half.

Kiko Casilla did superbly to keep out Matheus Pereira's free-kick and then saved with his legs from Matt Phillips, who had been through on goal.

Leeds introduced Bamford at the break and it proved a crucial move, as the striker's header from Jack Harrison's cross deflected off Ajayi's shoulder and into the net.

Neither side could find a winner in the end-to-end closing minutes, meaning each are on 52 points, nine clear of the chasing pack.

 

SIX-GOAL SHOWDOWNS

Stoke dominated the first half at John Smith's Stadium but Sam Vokes' opener was forgotten when Steve Mounie and a Danny Batth own goal put the hosts ahead.

However, Stoke struck a further four times through Nick Powell, Lee Gregory and a Tyrese Campbell double in a game otherwise marred when a stadium announcement was required to warn against further alleged discriminatory chants aimed at James McClean.

QPR's victory was a more straightforward affair, as a Nahki Wells hat-trick inspired them to a 6-1 thrashing of Cardiff, who got a late consolation through Will Vaulks.

Cardiff stay 12th, though, given Bristol City were dispatched 4-0 at home by Brentford, Ollie Watkins making the points safe with a late double to send his side third.

MILLWALL INTO PLAY-OFF SPOTS

Sheffield Wednesday's loss at home to Hull meant Millwall's earlier 3-1 win over Luton, in which they trailed until the 69th minute, was enough to see them into the top six.

Nottingham Forest are up to fourth thanks to Lewis Grabban's two goals securing a 3-2 defeat of Blackburn Rovers, with Fulham slipping to fifth after John Swift and Charlie Adam consigned them to a fourth defeat in seven league games.

Preston's top-six chase was dealt a blow, though, as Rudy Gestede and a Ben Davies own goal gave Middlesbrough a fourth win in a row.

At the other end of the table, Wigan gave their survival bid a boost after they held onto a 3-2 win at Birmingham, Cedric Kipre's 73rd-minute goal proving the difference.

Leeds United overcame Birmingham City in a nine-goal thriller to move top of the Championship table as previous leaders West Brom suffered a shock home defeat to Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds benefited from an injury time own goal at St Andrew's, Wes Harding turning Luke Ayling's low cross into the net to settle a post-Christmas cracker.

The visitors had previously let slip a lead on three occasions during a see-saw contest, though by finding a late winner they leapfrog West Brom, who lost for just the second time in the league this season.

Fulham are up to third after a 1-0 triumph over Stoke City, with Brentford slipping back a spot in the standings after going down to Aiden O'Brien's eighth-minute goal at in-form Millwall.

Nottingham Forest moved up to fifth by beating bottom club Wigan Athletic, overtaking Sheffield Wednesday after the Owls went down 2-1 at home to Cardiff City. Preston North End also slipped up, beaten 2-0 at home by Reading. 

Elsewhere, Bristol City eased past Luton Town, Steve Mounie was the hero for Huddersfield Town in a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers and Hull City won by the same scoreline at QPR. Swansea City's meeting with Barnsley, meanwhile, ended in stalemate, the only goalless draw on a busy day in England's second tier.

 

LEEDS LEAVE IT LATE

There was no sign of the drama to come when Leeds moved into a 2-0 first-half lead, Helder Costa and Jack Harrison getting the goals.

However, Birmingham would continuously peg their high-flying opponents back. Lukas Jutkiewicz was on target twice for the hosts in the second half, including netting a stoppage-time equaliser that seemed certain to see the game finish at 4-4.

Yet full-back Ayling – who had put his team 3-2 up with a sensational long-range strike – made one final, telling contribution to proceedings, his run and cross from the right resulting in Harding's own goal.

 

FLETCHER FLATTENS BAGGIES

Middlesbrough recorded their first away win under Jonathan Woodgate as they upset the odds against promotion-chasing West Brom.

Centre-back Daniel Ayala put the visitors in front in the 17th minute and they defended stoutly until doubling their advantage in stunning fashion deep into stoppage time.

Ashley Fletcher opted to take aim from distance when a throw-in reached him midway inside the West Brom half, the forward smashing the ball over the head of Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone to wrap up all three points and end Woodgate's wait for success on the road.

 

TOUGH FINISH TO 2019 FOR STRUGGLERS

It was a good day for Derby County – and they did not even play. The lowly Rams face Charlton Athletic on Monday but only one team – Barnsley, who kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw at Swansea – managed to close the gap on them at the foot of the table.

Wigan could have climbed off the bottom had they avoided defeat at Nottingham Forest, who took the lead through Tobias Figueiredo on the hour.

However, Forest needed a fine penalty save from Brice Samba – who guessed correctly to turn away Josh Windass' spot kick – to preserve their narrow advantage through to the final whistle, meaning Wigan will welcome in 2020 at the foot of the standings.

West Brom and Leeds remain separated by three points in the Championship's automatic promotion places after each being held to draws on Boxing Day.

Leeds needed an 89th-minute equaliser from Stuart Dallas to earn a 1-1 draw at home to fellow promotion hopefuls Preston North End, while West Brom conceded in the 90th minute to share the same scoreline with Barnsley.

Brentford, 3-1 victors over Swansea City, were the only winners in the top six as Fulham came from behind three times in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Luton Town and Sheffield Wednesday conceded twice in stoppage time to lose 3-2 at Stoke City.

There was also late drama at Wigan Athletic, with Derby County's Martyn Waghorn snatching a 1-1 draw against the division's bottom side.

 

THREE DRAWS OUT OF FOUR FOR BAGGIES

Filip Krovinovic capitalised on a poor clearance from Barnsley goalkeeper Samuel Sahin-Radlinger to give West Brom a fifth-minute lead at Oakwell but Aapo Halme converted Conor Chaplin's cross from close range to earn a point.

West Brom extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches – the longest sequence since 1901-02.

Any designs Leeds had on trimming the gap at the top were compromised by Alan Browne giving Preston the lead midway through the first half at Elland Road.

Mounting second-half pressure finally told but after winning seven consecutive games from the start of November, Marcelo Bielsa's men are now winless in three.

Brentford are eight points further back in third, with Ollie Watkins helping himself to a brace in their fifth successive victory at Griffin Park.

DRAMA AT THE BOTTOM

Along with Barnsley, all of the bottom four claimed positive results – most notably Stoke.

James McClean gave Michael O'Neill's Stoke an early lead but Morgan Fox and Tom Lees converted second-half corners to suggest further misery for the Potters.

Tyrese Campbell had other ideas, however, netting an acrobatic volley before Sam Vokes scrambled home in the 97th minute to lift Stoke off the foot of the table.

Waghorn scored Derby's first goal in seven Championship away games to cancel out Joe Garner's opener and leave Wigan bottom.

Fulham are fifth and one of three teams on 39 points after a remarkable contest at Kenilworth Road, where Bobby Decordova-Reid's second of the game in the fourth minute of injury time ensured a share of the spoils.

BONNE ENDS CHARLTON'S VICTORY WAIT

Macauley Bonne hit a brace and set up Alfie Doughty's winner as Charlton Athletic overcame Bristol City 3-2 – their first victory in 12 games.

Middlesbrough and Reading were two other teams moving clear of trouble thanks to respective 1-0 wins at home to Huddersfield Town and Queens Park Rangers.

Blackburn Rovers were unable to close on Preston in the final play-off spot as they shared a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City, while Cardiff City and Millwall did likewise to remain on 34 points apiece.

Lewis Grabban scored both goals in Nottingham Forest's 2-0 victory at Hull City.

Mikel Arteta officially started work at Arsenal on Sunday and appears set to get busy in the transfer market.

The Gunners reportedly have two targets in their sights, including a Serie A star.

Arsenal could do with an injection of excitement after slipping to 11th in the Premier League following their lacklustre goalless draw at Everton.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS EYE MERTENS AND VOLLAND

Among the players Arsenal admire is Napoli mainstay Dries Mertens, according to CalcioMercato.

Mertens, on target five times in the Champions League this term, will be available on a free at the end of the season.

Borussia Dortmund are also said to be interested in the 32-year-old, potentially forcing Arsenal to look elsewhere for reinforcements.

That could result in them launching a bid for Kevin Volland. Sky Sports News says the Gunners have sent scouts to watch the Bayer Leverkusen forward and will put his name to new boss Arteta for consideration.

 

ROUND-UP

- Paolo Maldini's position as Milan technical director is "in the balance" following the embarrassing 5-0 loss to Atalanta, claims CalcioMercato. The Rossoneri are languishing in 11th.

- Manchester United and multiple Bundesliga clubs are tracking teenage Birmingham City midfielder Jude Bellingham, reports The Telegraph.

- German newspaper Bild believes goalkeeper Alexander Nubel will join Bayern Munich at the end of the season after announcing his decision to leave Schalke on a free. According to Sport1, his arrival at Allianz Arena could lead to Sven Ulreich's exit.

- Ligue 1 side Monaco have identified Marcelo Gallardo, Laurent Blanc and Marcelino as potential replacements for the under-pressure Leonardo Jardim, according to L'Equipe.

- Juventus outcast Mario Mandzukic is set to seal a switch from the Serie A champions to Qatari side Al-Duhail, reports Sky Sport Italia.

Josh Onomah scored the winner as Fulham boosted their hopes of making a push for automatic promotion in the second half of the Championship season with a 2-1 victory over second-placed Leeds United at Craven Cottage.

On a day when leaders West Brom were held to a 1-1 draw by Brentford, Fulham ended a three-match losing streak and moved back up to third, nine points behind Leeds, courtesy of their triumph.

Scott Parker's men could be overtaken by Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday if the Owls beat Bristol City, but victory over high-flying Leeds nevertheless represents a significant boost.

At the other end of the table, Barnsley climbed off the bottom with a first away win of the season, thanks to a 94th-minute winner from Patrick Schmidt at Millwall, while Derby County's disappointing campaign continued as they had Scott Malone sent off after four minutes and conceded two penalties in a 3-0 defeat at Reading.

 

TOP TWO DROP POINTS BUT STILL CLEAR AT CHRISTMAS

West Brom and Leeds may have both dropped points on Saturday, but they remain firmly on course to finish as the top two.

The table-topping Baggies are three points clear of Leeds and 12 ahead of Fulham after Darnell Furlong took just three minutes to cancel out Henrik Dalsgaard's opener for Brentford at The Hawthorns.

Aleksandar Mitrovic was predictably prominent in Fulham's victory. The Championship's top scorer converted an early penalty before Patrick Bamford pulled Leeds level. Onomah's decisive goal then came on the rebound after an attempted overhead kick from Mitrovic had been blocked. 

Preston North End sit fourth after drawing 0-0 at Cardiff City in the day's early kick-off.

 

BARNSLEY REVIVAL CONTINUES

After beating QPR 5-3 last weekend, Barnsley made it back-to-back wins thanks to Schmidt's injury-time header at Millwall. 

The Yorkshire club have leapfrogged Stoke City and Wigan Athletic at the foot of the table, although the latter could jump from 24th to 21st by beating Blackburn Rovers on Monday.

 

NO MALONE AT CHRISTMAS! RAMS SCUPPERED BY SCOTT'S EARLY RED

Derby have not won away since the opening week of the season and their hopes of ending that dismal run were swiftly dented at Reading when Malone was dismissed for bringing down Yakou Meite as the last man inside four minutes.

Charlie Adam converted the penalty, Lucas Joao added a second for Reading after the break and Meite converted a late penalty of his own on a miserable day for the Rams, who sit seven points above the bottom three in 17th.

Elsewhere, Swansea City snuck into the top six with a 1-0 win at Luton Town, Hull City thumped Birmingham City 3-0 and Huddersfield Town beat slumping Nottingham Forest 2-1 in a contest that saw managers Danny Cowley and Sabri Lamouchi involved in a furious confrontation. Naby Sarr's 95th-minute goal rescued a 2-2 draw for Charlton Athletic at QPR.

West Brom sit at the top of the Championship after Charlie Austin's double helped them to a 3-2 win over Birmingham City in Saturday’s early game.

Leeds United looked set to reclaim first place later in the day but threw away a three-goal lead at home to Cardiff City to draw 3-3.

Preston North End are now 10 points behind Marcelo Bielsa's side after a 2-1 win over Luton Town, while Brentford leapfrogged Fulham into fourth with a slender 1-0 win.

At the other end of the table, rock-bottom Barnsley registered a remarkable 5-3 win over QPR but Middlesbrough slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Swansea City.

 

AUSTIN INSPIRES BAGGIES COMEBACK

Charlie Austin took his tally for the season to eight with a brace to help West Brom record a vital win at Birmingham City.

Slaven Bilic's side looked set for a first defeat in 12 league games after Lukas Jutkiewicz and Harlee Dean had scored either side of Grady Diangana's goal.

Austin drew his side level three minutes after being introduced, though, when he flicked up Jake Livermore's pass and rifled a half-volley past Connal Trueman.

The 30-year-old sealed all three points nine minutes from time, powering home Darnell Furlong's cross with his head.

LEEDS CAPITULATE AGAINST BLUEBIRDS

Leeds conceded three goals inside the final 30 minutes to miss the opportunity to quickly reclaim top spot from the Baggies.

Helder Costa gave the hosts a wonderful start at Elland Road, scoring after six minutes, before Patrick Bamford struck twice to open up a commanding lead.

However, Lee Tomlin gave the Bluebirds hope with a goal on the hour mark to spark an unexpected comeback.

Sean Morrison added another with eight minutes remaining, before receiving his marching orders four minutes later for a late tackle.

Their numerical disadvantage did not daunt the visitors, however, as Robert Glatzel struck with two minutes remaining.

STOCKLEY FIRES PRESTON INTO THIRD

Jayden Stockley scored with six minutes remaining to help Preston beat Luton and climb to third in the table.

Paul Gallagher opened the scoring early on, slotting home after his penalty had been saved, before James Collins levelled from the spot.

Brentford, meanwhile, are a point behind Preston in fourth after Bryan Mbeumo scored the only goal of the game against Fulham.

Sheffield Wednesday are level on points with the Bees, the Owls cruising to a resounding 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground thanks to a first-half hat-trick from Jordan Rhodes.

CHAPLIN TREBLE LIFTS CLOUDS OVER BARNSLEY

Barnsley moved to within four points of safety as Conor Chaplin's hat-trick helped them to a stunning win over QPR at Oakwell.

Cauley Woodrow and Bambo Diaby were also on target in what was only the Tykes' third league win of the campaign.

Fellow strugglers Stoke City and Wigan Athletic were held to 0-0 and 1-1 draws by Reading and Huddersfield Town respectively.

Andre Ayew scored twice in Swansea's comfortable win over Middlesbrough, while Bradley Johnson and Adam Armstrong helped Blackburn Rovers to a 2-0 triumph at Bristol City.

West Brom missed the chance to return to the top of the Championship as their six-match winning run was halted in a 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic.

Slaven Bilic's side had to recover from a goal down to snatch a point that lifts them level with Leeds United, who beat Hull City on Tuesday to climb into top spot.

Brentford got their play-off charge back on track with a 2-1 win over Cardiff City, inflicting a first defeat of Neil Harris' reign on the Welsh side.

Elsewhere, QPR moved into the top half of the division with a 2-0 away win at Birmingham City, while the other three games that took place on Wednesday finished 1-1.


WEST BROM DROP POINTS

West Brom had won four successive away league matches without conceding, but they came unstuck against a determined Wigan side at the DW Stadium.

Bilic's decision to rest some key players backfired as Sam Morsy's free-kick came back off the post, hit Sam Johnstone and crossed the line for an own goal.

Michael Jacobs hit the bar in a real let-off for the visitors four minutes before Charlie Austin fired an indirect free-kick through a sea of bodies once teed up by Jake Livermore.

West Brom could not find a winner, however, meaning just goal difference keeps them behind pacesetters Leeds, while Wigan are within three points of safety.


HARRIS SUFFERS FIRST DEFEAT

After dragging Cardiff into play-off contention by collecting 10 points from the first 12 on offer, Harris saw his side leapfrogged by Brentford with a narrow loss at Griffin Park.

City had won the most recent three of those matches but fell behind to Bryan Mbeumo's strike 25 minutes in.

Mbeumo then claimed an assist for his side's second goal, with Ollie Watkins converting a free header to leave Cardiff with a big mountain to climb.

Marlon Pack's long-range strike with 26 minutes to play gave Harris' men some hope, but Brentford saw out victory to move into seventh place, a point off the play-offs.


OSAYI-SAMUEL STUNNER HELPS SINK BIRMINGHAM

Bright Osayi-Samuel scored an impressive solo goal to help QPR on their way to a 2-0 win at Birmingham, who entered the match level on points with their opponents.

The 21-year-old midfielder picked up the ball in his own half and galloped all the way into the opposition box, where he kept his cool to rifle the ball into the roof of the net.

That incredible strike added to Grant Hall's opener in first-half stoppage time as QPR made it back-to-back wins against a Birmingham side who now have one win in seven.


DRAWS GALORE AS MARTIN RESCUES POINT

Sheffield Wednesday would have climbed back into the top six with victory against Derby County, but they were held to a 1-1 draw at Pride Park.

Steven Fletcher's sweeping finish gave Wednesday a 23rd-minute lead, only for Chris Martin to level from the penalty spot late on after Moses Odubajo - sent off in the 90th minute - fouled Jack Marriott.

Out-of-form Swansea City also played out a 1-1 draw in their home meeting with Blackburn Rovers, stretching their winless run to six matches.

Ex-Swan Danny Graham gave Rovers an early lead, which Andre Ayew cancelled out six minutes later in a game that saw Tom Carroll and Bradley Dack shown second-half reds.

Meanwhile, Barnsley remain rooted to the foot of the table following a 1-1 draw with Reading at Oakwell.

Lucas Joao struck in the second half to rescue a point for fellow strugglers Reading, who fell behind to a Cauley Woodrow goal just before the hour mark.

Leeds United reclaimed top spot in the Championship with a 2-0 derby win at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn Rovers and Hull City all won at home to boost their play-off chances, while Bristol City earned a key victory away to Fulham.

Under-fire Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate saw his team collect a precious three points at home to Charlton Athletic and Stoke City's misery continued with a defeat at the KC Stadium.

West Brom, now second, can bounce back above Leeds when they host Swansea City on Sunday.


LEEDS MARCH ON 

Marcelo Bielsa's men have won six in a row, conceding just twice in that run, after easing to victory in a Yorkshire derby away to the struggling Terriers.

Second-half goals from Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez saw the new leaders continue their momentum against a THuddersfield team now without a win in five league games.

The play-off picture is still typically congested but Wednesday jumped to sixth spot thanks to a 2-1 home win against fellow hopefuls Brentford, who led at Hillsborough thanks to Bryan Mbeumo.

Steven Fletcher struck twice as Garry Monk's Owls came from behind to secure successive wins after their previous run of five Championship matches without a victory.

Preston North End dropped out of the top six after losing 2-0 away to QPR, for whom Eberechi Eze scored both goals.

JOHNSON'S CHARGES END FULHAM RUN

Fulham had won four straight league games but missed the chance to exert pressure on the top two as a late fightback was not enough to avoid a home defeat against Bristol City.

Goals from Josh Brownhill and Famara Diedhiou had Lee Johnson's men in control at Craven Cottage but substitute Aboubakar Kamara struck to set up a grandstand finish.

The Robins held firm despite nine added minutes being played and they moved fourth, level on points with third-placed Fulham, ahead of successive home games.

Lee Tomlin's injury-time goal earned Cardiff City a 3-2 win at home to rock-bottom Barnsley, the Bluebirds' third straight victory moving them up to eighth, only a point behind Wednesday.

A fourth consecutive win for Blackburn was secured by Adam Armstrong, a 1-0 defeat at Ewood Park meaning Derby County have taken only four points from their past five league games.

MUCH-NEEDED WIN FOR BORO

Middlesbrough are up to 19th, easing the pressure on hometown hero Woodgate, after a 1-0 win against Charlton at the Riverside.

George Saville scored with 52 seconds on the clock and Boro held on to secure back-to-back 1-0 home victories to move four points clear of the bottom three.

The big game in the battle for survival saw Luton Town host Wigan Athletic and it was Graeme Jones' side who came out on top, bouncing back from a 7-0 thrashing at Brentford last time out.

Wigan led through Kieffer Moore but a chaotic finale left the Latics in the bottom three, Callum McManaman levelling for Luton with three minutes of normal time to play.

Cheyenne Dunkley was shown a second yellow card in added time and the Hatters made the 10 men pay as George Moncur scored from a corner to complete a stunning late comeback.

Stoke slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Hull despite Sam Vokes opening the scoring, with Jarrod Bowen's brace taking his Championship tally to 14 for the season.

Liverpool have been drawn at home to Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round, while holders Manchester City will start the defence of their title at home to third-tier Port Vale.

The Toffees face Jurgen Klopp's side on Wednesday in the Premier League and will make the short trip to Anfield for a second time this season during the first week of January.

Pep Guardiola's City thumped Watford 6-0 in last season's final and have been given a favourable draw to kick-start their 2019-20 campaign, with John Askey's League Two side pitching up at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United face a difficult away tie against Premier League rivals Wolves, who knocked them out of the competition last season's quarter-finals, while Arsenal welcome Championship leaders Leeds United to the Emirates Stadium.

New Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to Middlesbrough, managed by former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate, and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.

Ties will take place between January 3 and 6.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk avoided defeat on his first meeting with Birmingham City since being sacked in June as his side snatched a late 1-1 draw in the Championship clash.

Monk hit out at Pep Clotet on the eve of the match, accusing his former assistant of being "disloyal" for succeeding him as Birmingham's interim head coach in June.

The game finished all square after Kadeem Harris cancelled out Alvaro Gimenez's goal nine minutes from time at Hillsborough.

Elsewhere, West Brom regained top spot with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Bristol City.

Slaven Bilic's men cruised to all three points at The Hawthorns to leapfrog Leeds United, who had climbed to the summit with a late win at Reading 24 hours beforehand.

Preston North End lost ground on the automatic promotion places with a heavy 4-0 loss at Hull City, while Nottingham Forest put four unanswered goals of their own past QPR.

 

HONOURS EVEN AT HILLSBOROUGH

Wednesday's winless run now spans five matches under Monk, who was clearly keen to get one over on his former employers.

Gimenez found a way through early in the second half to give the visitors a lead somewhat against the run of play in Yorkshire.

However, Harris took advantage of some hesitant defending to snatch a point for Wednesday, who remain two points better off than their opponents.

WEST BROM KEEP UP THE TITLE PACE

Leeds put the pressure on West Brom with their win at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday and Bilic's men responded in style.

First-half goals from Kieran Gibbs and Matheus Pereira put the second-tier leaders on their way to an eighth match without defeat, the last four of those ending in victory.

Famara Diedhiou pulled one back for promotion-chasing Bristol City 10 minutes from time, but Hal Robson-Kanu and Charlie Austin made it a straightforward win for West Brom.

 

. @WBA respond and head back to the top of the table.

Here's how it stands after this week's fixtures! #EFL | #SkyBetChampionship pic.twitter.com/blMNWt6LW5

— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) November 27, 2019 PRESTON SLIP UP, FOREST CLIMB

Preston, beaten 1-0 by Derby County at the weekend, fell to back-to-back league defeats for the first time this season with a thrashing at the hands of Hull.

Jarrod Bowen made it nine goals in seven games with strikes in both halves, either side of a Josh Magennis penalty and Kamil Grosicki's strike from a tight angle.

Alex Neil's side are now fifth in the table and a point behind Forest, who punished 10-man QPR at Loftus Road.

Already 1-0 up through Tobias Figueiredo's header when Lee Wallace was shown a red card, Forest put their opponents to the sword with late goals from Lewis Grabban, Joao Carvalho and Alfa Semedo.

 

Full-Time: Hull City 4-0 #pnefc

The hosts take the points at the KCOM Stadium. pic.twitter.com/SItAyA66CZ

— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) November 27, 2019 VITAL WIN FOR WOODGATE'S BORO

Middlesbrough eased some of the growing pressure on boss Jonathan Woodgate with a 1-0 win at home to Barnsley, Ashley Fletcher earning his side a first victory in 11 matches.

Boro were in the relegation zone heading into the match at Riverside Stadium, but they held their nerve to edge past bottom-side Barnsley through Fletcher's 54th-minute strike.

Elsewhere, Blackburn Rovers climbed four places up the table with a Bradley Dack-inspired triumph against Brentford.

The in-form midfielder converted Stewart Downing's cross with 11 minutes played to make it three goals in two matches.

Birmingham City have taken the unusual step of publicly criticising former manager Garry Monk after his blast of the Blues' caretaker boss Pep Clotet.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Monk was surprisingly sacked by Birmingham in June despite helping the club avoid relegation from the Championship despite being hit with a nine-point deduction for breaching the EFL's profitability and sustainability regulations.

Clotet, who also worked with Monk at Swansea City and Leeds United, stepped into the main role at St Andrew's.

Monk, whose Owls side host Birmingham at Hillsborough on Wednesday, described working with Clotet as an "error in judgement" when previewing the game.

"You live and learn. Unfortunately, I didn't listen to a lot of people in football circles who warned me about him," Monk told a news conference.

"That's an error of judgement from myself. I don't speak with him.

"What's most important to me when I'm assembling a staff is to give them an opportunity and show them complete trust, and that they repay that trust.

"Sadly, not everyone has that character. Some choose to pursue their own opportunities in the worst possible way.

"I don't want to waste energy talking about it."

Birmingham uploaded a clip of Monk's comments to Twitter and wrote: "We tried to find comments from our 'Interim Caretaker Head Coach' speaking without class about tomorrow's game. We couldn't.

"In the meantime, it's always nice to hear something from the opposition manager.

"Garry, you want to come?!"

The 'you want to come' comment is a reference to a reply given by Birmingham director Edward Cheng to a message from a Blues fan posted on Twitter in September.

Clotet kept his counsel when asked about Monk before Wednesday's encounter, saying: "Being very simple about the situation, it is a football game away from home against Sheffield Wednesday and the focus is on competing for the three points."

Wednesday are ninth in the Championship, just two points above Birmingham.

West Brom maintained their two-point lead at the Championship summit with a slender 1-0 win over Hull City on Saturday.

Preston North End and Leeds United remain within touching distance of the Baggies after wins over Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers respectively.

At the other end of the table, Michael O'Neill inspired Stoke City to a 4-2 win over Barnsley in his first game since taking charge of the club – a result that lifts them above the Tykes at the foot of the table.

Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest edged out Derby County in the East Midlands derby, while there also wins for Fulham, Millwall, Reading and Brentford.

 

BAGGIES STAY TOP AFTER LIVERMORE STUNNER

Jake Livermore's second goal of the season was enough for West Brom to edge out Hull at the KCOM Stadium.

The 29-year-old midfielder finished off a short corner routine in spectacular style after 28 minutes, taking a touch to control the ball 20 yards from goal and unleashing a rocket of a right-footed shot into the bottom corner of the Tigers' net.

Hull started the second half brightly and Kevin Stewart missed crucial chances as Slaven Bilic's side found themselves exposed at the back.

But the visitors should have doubled their lead when Matheus Pereira – their outstanding creative player so far this season – sent a chip narrowly over the crossbar, but Bilic's table-toppers claimed all three points nonetheless.

BAMFORD ON TARGET AS WHITES WIN AGAIN

Leeds went into their clash against Blackburn unbeaten in four matches but striker Patrick Bamford was without a goal at Elland Road since April.

The former Middlesbrough striker ended his home drought after a foul on Luke Ayling earned a dominant Leeds side a penalty, Bamford coolly sending Christian Walton the wrong way as he stroked the ball home.

Bamford had a hand in the Whites' second, touching Kalvin Phillips' floated ball deftly into the path of Jack Harrison, who sent an angled shot in off the far post.

But slack marking allowed Derrick Williams to head Blackburn back into the game five minutes before half-time, the full-back rising to meet Stewart Downing's cross for his third goal of the season from 12 yards.

A combative Rovers side failed to break Marcelo Bielsa's men down, however, as they collected back-to-back Championship wins for the first time since August.

PRESTON TOO STRONG FOR RESURGENT TERRIERS

Huddersfield's recent revival came to a crashing halt at Deepdale as Preston registered a third consecutive league win with a 3-1 victory.

The Terriers were unbeaten in seven league games but never looked like clawing their way back into the game after Jayden Stockley had given the hosts a fourth-minute lead.

Alan Browne doubled that advantage shortly after the half-hour mark, while Paul Gallagher added a third with a penalty five minutes after the interval.

Juninho Bacuna pulled one back for the visitors 16 minutes from time, but it did little to take the gloss off another impressive win for Alex Neil's side.

O'NEILL MAKES INSTANT IMPACT AT STOKE

O'Neill made a superb start to life with struggling Stoke, guiding them to an emphatic win over Barnsley at Oakwell.

A Sam Clucas brace and goals from Joe Allen and Lee Gregory helped the Potters end a run of three consecutive defeats and start life after Nathan Jones in style.

Elsewhere, Lewis Grabban scored the only goal of the game as Forest edged out local rivals Derby, while Fulham registered a 1-0 win at Birmingham City.

Millwall overcame Charlton Athletic 2-1, Reading powered past Luton Town 3-0 and Brentford beat Wigan Athletic by the same scoreline.

In the day's other games, Middlesbrough drew 2-2 away at QPR and Swansea City scored deep into stoppage time to draw 2-2 with Sheffield Wednesday.

Leeds United carved out a 2-0 win against QPR to reclaim top spot in the Championship, while struggling Middlesbrough suffered another defeat to remain in the bottom three.

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds had been held to back-to-back draws ahead of Saturday's match, but a goal in each half from Tyler Roberts and Jack Harrison lifted them to the summit.

At the opposite end of the division, Jonathan Woodgate remains under pressure following Middlesbrough's 2-0 loss at Derby County, with Tom Lawrence scoring both goals.

Luton Town and Wigan Athletic also remain in trouble after losing to Nottingham Forest and Swansea City respectively on a dramatic day of Championship action.

 

LEEDS KEEP PACE WITH SWANSEA

With West Brom not in action until Monday, the chasing pack knew they had a chance to capitalise.

Swansea were first up in the early kick-off and followed up their 1-0 derby win over Cardiff City last time out with a late 2-1 victory at Wigan to temporarily move top.

Sam Surridge's late header snatched all three points for Swansea after Kieffer Moore had cancelled out Nathan Dyer's opener from the penalty spot.

However, the Welsh side dropped down to second a few hours later following Leeds' home win, Harrison adding to Roberts' first goal of the season.

FOREST CLIMB INTO PLAY-OFFS

Having had their game with Reading called off last week due to bad weather, Nottingham Forest put their fresh legs to good use by opening a two-goal lead at Luton Town.

Callum McManaman pulled one back late on for strugglers Luton, but goals from Lewis Grabban and Sammy Ameobi proved enough to move 2-1 winners Forest from 10th to fifth.

Sheffield Wednesday remain outside the top six after going down 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers, all three goals at Ewood Park coming in the final seven minutes.

Jacob Murphy made the breakthrough for the Owls, only for Tosin Adarabioyo and John Buckley to net in quick succession to end Blackburn's six-match winless run.

 

PRESSURE BUILDING ON WOODGATE

The Championship's lowest scorers fired another blank - their fourth in a row - with Derby winger Lawrence's brace at Pride Park leaving under-fire Woodgate with two wins since becoming Boro boss.

Elsewhere, Huddersfield Town opened up a four-point gap on the relegation zone with a Karlan Grant-inspired 1-0 win at fellow in-form side Brentford.

Grant broke the deadlock just after the hour mark at Griffin Park to snap Brentford's three-match winning streak and continue Huddersfield's resurgence under Danny Cowley.

Meanwhile, Reading beat fellow strugglers Millwall 2-1 through first-half goals from Jordan Obita and Sam Baldock to give themselves some breathing space.

CARDIFF EDGE FIERY ENCOUNTER

Hull City picked up a third league win in a row with a clinical 3-0 victory over out-of-form Fulham, who have won just one of their last five matches.

A first goal in senior football from Josh Bowler gave Hull the lead and further goals followed from Jarrod Bowen and Tom Eaves after the break.

Grant McCann's ever-improving side are now in 11th place, one point better off than Cardiff City, who were 4-2 winners over Birmingham City in south Wales.

Joe Ralls scored a hat-trick in an eventful contest that ended with both teams reduced to 10 men, with Danny Ward and Harlee Dean the players to see red.

Page 4 of 5
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.