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West Brom Fires Manager Pulis

West Bromwich Albion have announced they have parted company with their head coach Tony Pulis.

He leaves after the 4-0 home defeat by Chelsea on Saturday dropped West Brom to 17th, one point off the relegation zone.

Pulis had been at the club since January 2015.

"These decisions are never taken lightly but always in the interests of the Club," said West Brom chairman John Williams in a statement. 

"We are in a results business and over the back end of last season and this season to date, ours have been very disappointing."

Assistant head coach, Gary Megson, has agreed to take charge of first-team affairs until further notice.

West Brom, who are on a 10-match run without a top-flight victory, are next in Premier League action at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday 25 November.

Pulis is the fifth managerial departure in the Premier League this season.

Obafemi Martins Hits The Net For Shenhua In Chinese FA Cup

Shanghai Shenhua’s Obafemi Martins scored from close range to earn them a narrow 1-0 win over local rivals Shanghai SIPG in the first leg of the Chinese FA Cup final on Sunday.

The former Nigeria striker tapped in from four metres after Liu Ruofan’s cut back in the 38th minute to give Shenhua the advantage in the tie as they bid to end a difficult season with success in the country’s premier knockout competition.

The teams meet again at Shanghai Stadium with Shenhua, who finished 11th in the league this season, aiming to win the Chinese FA Cup for the first time since 1998.

”The game went as we expected,“ said Shenhua coach Wu Jingui. ”SIPG were very aggressive and they had a lot of power in midfield and attack.

“We could only fight by running more, defending endlessly and having the spirit to give everything to achieve such a good result.”

The Chinese FA Cup is the last chance for SIPG’s Portuguese coach Andre Villas-Boas and his expensively-assembled team to secure a trophy this season after they finished runners-up to Guangzhou Evergrande in the Chinese Super League.

They also exited the Asian Champions League at the semi-final stage.

Villas-Boas’s team went closest to securing an away goal 16 minutes from fulltime when Wei Shihao hit the outside of the post with a diving header.

”It was a very difficult game,“ said the former Chelsea manager. ”We had more possession but Shenhua defended well.

“In the second half we tried hard to get through their back line, but they managed to block us. Our players gave everything and there was no one to blame.”

The teams meet in the second leg on Nov. 26. 

Sunderland Names Chris Coleman As New Manager

Sunderland have confirmed the appointment of Chris Coleman as their new manager on a two-year deal.

The 47-year-old, who resigned as Wales manager on Friday, met the players on Sunday morning and led the team's training session. He will take charge of his first match at home to Aston Villa on Tuesday night.

Sunderland are rooted to the bottom of the Championship and on Saturday became the first team in English football to fail to win in 20 successive home games in all competitions after drawing 2-2 with Millwall.

Kit Symons will be his assistant at the Stadium of Light, having filled a similar role during Coleman's six-year spell in charge of Wales.

Coleman met with the Welsh FA on November 17 to inform them of his decision to leave having failed to secure Wales' qualification for next year's World Cup finals in Russia.

 Speaking on Saturday as he turned on the Christmas lights in Newport, Coleman said: "We are all passionate Welshmen and women so a huge thank you for everything you have done for me and the team over the past six years."

The former Fulham, Real Sociedad and Coventry boss returns to club management for the first time since 2012, when he left Greek side Athlitiki Enosi Larissa.

Welsh FA chief executive Jonathan Ford said: "We are extremely disappointed to see Chris' tenure come to an end.

"The FAW and Wales as a nation will be eternally grateful for the job he has done over the last six years, (and wish him) the very best of luck for the future as he returns to club management, a desire for which he has always been honest and open about."

Sunderland, relegated from the Premier League last season, have been without a boss since Simon Grayson was sacked in October after only 18 games in charge, with caretaker Robbie Stockdale having overseen the last two games.

 

Lions Don't Recover Like Humans, Ibrahimovic Says

Zlatan Ibrahimovic said it was "special" to be back after making his first appearance for Manchester United in seven months.

The 36-year-old Swede has been sidelined since April after injuring his ACL in the Europa League match against Anderlecht.

But he came on to a rousing reception as a 77th-minute substitute for Anthony Martial in the 4-1 win over Newcastle at Old Trafford.

Speaking after the game, the striker said: "It feels special. Different day, same quality, so I'm not worried at all because I know what I'm doing.

"I train hard, sacrificed a lot and it's my head that's playing - my knees just need to follow - so I'm not worried at all. Was I worried about returning? No. Lions don't recover like humans."

The Swede was not the only player making a welcome return for Manchester United. Paul Pogba started the game after being out for 12 weeks with a hamstring injury, scoring one and setting up another as United came back from a goal down to win the match comfortably.

The Frenchman, who was man of the match, said: "To come back, to see the fans again, to score at Old Trafford on my comeback, I feel blessed.

"But we had to win, that was the most important thing. You just have to recover well because the Premier League is different to Italy, it's more intense. Otherwise, I just feel good, just to come back."

The result means United stay in second place and eight points behind leaders Manchester City with 26 points from 12 games.

United now turn their attention to the Champions League against Basel on Wednesday. Ibrahimovic will be looking to get back into the starting XI as soon as possible, while Pogba will be aiming to continue the impressive form he showed on his return to first-team action.

 

Leganes 0-3 Barcelona: Luis Suarez Scores Twice For League Leaders

Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga to seven points after two goals from Luis Suarez helped fire them to a 3-0 win at Leganes.

Ernesto Valverde's side struggled to create openings against their well-organised opponents but grabbed the breakthrough in the 28th minute. Paco Alcacer's cross-shot was parried by goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar and Suarez pounced to net the rebound from close range.

Barca doubled their lead after 60 minutes when Alcacer's strike was blocked by Cuellar and Suarez again reacted sharpest to acrobatically rifle his effort into the net.

The league leaders added a third goal in the 89th minute when Lionel Messi flicked the ball into the path of Paulinho and the substitute poked his effort home.

It was a subdued start from Barca in the first half-hour, but the unbeaten side punished their opponents after Cuellar failed to hold on to Alcacer's delivery. Suarez took advantage of the mistake and tucked the ball into the unguarded net.

Leganes almost equalised before the breakthrough through captain Alexander Szymanowski but his shot was pushed to safety by Barca 'keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The hosts spurned a big chance to level the contest early on in the second half when Nordin Amrabat released substitute Claudio Beauvue and his low strike was too close to Ter Stegen.

Without hitting top gear, Barcelona extended their lead after the break as Suarez scored his fifth league goal of the season. Alcacer's shot was blocked by Cuellar but the Uruguay striker hooked the rebound effort past the 'keeper.

Messi almost scored in the closing stages but his shot was parried by Cuellar and the Leganes 'keeper recovered superbly to deny Suarez a hat-trick from his follow-up strike.

Barca rounded off the scoring late on after Messi managed to flick the ball from on the ground to Paulinho and the Brazil international toe-poked his effort past Cuellar.

Man. United 4-1 Newcastle: Star Studded Reds Demolish Newcastle

Paul Pogba scored and provided an assist on his return from injury as Manchester United earned a 4-1 comeback win over Newcastle United.

Dwight Gayle became the first opponent to score at Old Trafford in the PL this season when he put Newcastle 1-0 up from DeAndre Yedlin's cutback.

But Pogba's cross allowed Anthony Martial to head in the equaliser on 37 minutes, before Chris Smalling converted Ashley Young's centre in first-half stoppage time.

After the break, Pogba tapped in from Marcus Rashford's knockdown before going off in the 70th minute.

Soon after Romelu Lukaku slammed in the fourth and Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned from injury to a standing ovation late on.

The win puts Man Utd second in the table. Newcastle are 11th.

West Brom 0-4 Chelsea: Eden Hazard's Blues Sinks The Baggies

Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea secured their fourth consecutive Premier League win with a 4-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion.

The Blues went ahead on 17 minutes when Hazard's shot was parried by Ben Foster for Alvaro Morata to score his eighth goal of the season.

It was 2-0 on 23 minutes when Morata turned provider, flicking the ball to Hazard who rounded Foster to finish.

Marcos Alonso added a third seven minutes before half-time from a Cesc Fabregas free-kick.

Fabregas then provided his second assist of the match, and 110th of his PL career, playing in Hazard to make it 4-0 on 62 minutes.

The win sends Chelsea up to second in the table ahead of Manchester United, who play this evening. West Brom are 17th.

Leicester 0-2 Man. City: Jesus, Bruyne Sends Foxes To 12th On Table

Second-half goals by Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne earned Manchester City a 2-0 win at Leicester City.

Jesus broke Leicester’s resistance on the stroke of half-time after an intricate move involving Raheem Sterling and David Silva, who teed up the Brazilian with a PL-high eighth assist of the campaign.

City went 2-0 up on 49 minutes after launching a counter-attack following a goal-line clearance by Silva from Harry Maguire's shot.

Pep Guardiola’s men surged upfield and De Bruyne thrashed a shot past Kasper Schmeichel from range.

Man City, nine points clear at the top, also managed 34 points from 12 matches in 2011/12 but are now two goals better off than six seasons ago.

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