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Summary of non-mainstream articles: 05/01/2018 03:41:12

Pellegrino reveals Ralph Krueger has been eating lunch with the team READSOUTHAMPTON

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Who had the best Premier League results over Christmas?

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Who had the best Premier League results over Christmas?

Mauricio Pochettino may have been disappointed with a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham on Thursday - but no team won more points than his Tottenham side over the Christmas period.

Pochettino's men had won their first three fixtures over the Christmas and New Year period, defeating Burnley, Southampton and Swansea, but had to settle for a point against their local rivals.

That point was West Ham's fifth from their last four games - a return boss David Moyes will be happy with after taking charge in November with the club in the relegation zone.

Liverpool have also had a good run of form since they kicked off the festive football with a 3-3 draw at Arsenal on Friday 22 December, beating Swansea, Leicester and Burnley.

Despite seeing their record-breaking winning streak come to an end with a draw against Crystal Palace, Manchester City have matched Tottenham and Liverpool's haul of 10 points from their past four games to maintain their commanding lead at the top of the Premier League.

Of the 'Big Six', Arsenal and Manchester United have come away with the fewest points, adding just six to their tally.

This season's surprise package, Burnley, have had one of the toughest Christmas schedules, and defeats to Spurs and Liverpool and draws at Manchester United and Huddersfield means they have the joint-fewest points from their past four games.

West Brom, Everton and Southampton also managed just two points, after being unable to deliver their supporters much Christmas cheer.

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Pellegrino's praise for Krueger

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Under pressure Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino says he appreciates the support he has received from chairman Ralph Krueger, and revealed the chairman has been eating lunch with the players to try and help them too.

Krueger gave Pellegrino his backing before Tuesday night’s home defeat to Crystal Palace, and said his years as a head coach in ice hockey help him understand the difficulties of management.

Krueger has been at Staplewood trying to lend encouragement to the squad as well, along with football supremo Les Reed, as Saints try to get themselves out of trouble.

Pellegrino said: “For me the club and the board from the first day has been really supportive, but not just right now but from the first day everybody has been really good.

“Now the chairman is eating with the players, watching every single moment because they want to help. Les Reed and Ross Wilson too.

“We work as a unit but results are part of life and when we play a game you have to be ready to lose. If not don’t play.”

He added: “For me he (Ralph) is great because we used to talk about preparation, motivation, about the challenge we have got in leadership with a group of men in every organisation in our life we all need the same – belief, values. We talk about the team.

“For me it’s great. Even Les Reed has been working as a manager.

“They have been involved in professional teams and they know this world and what we have to do to try to be stronger and this for me is magnificent.”

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FA Cup third-round predictions - Lawro v comedian Guz Khan

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The FA Cup third round is famous for shocks and surprises - and, these days, also a job-lot of team changes of course - but what does the famous old competition have in store for us this year?

BBC Sport's football expert Mark Lawrenson and his guest have taken a look at all 32 of this weekend's ties and given their verdict on who will make it into round four.

This week Lawro is up against comedian Guz Khan, star of BBC Three comedy Man Like Mobeen.

Guz is from Coventry but supports Manchester United "from the bottom of my heart" - and is keen to explain why.

He told BBC Sport: "It was the 1994-95 season and I was sat in this tiny place up north called Brierfield [in Lancashire] which is where my family are from - and they are all massive United fans.

"I was really young and I didn't even know what football was but I saw the pain and heartbreak in their eyes when Blackburn Rovers won the Premier League that season.

"I thought from that day on I want to be involved in this pain process. Luckily for me, it was all success that I saw immediately after that, but it was borne out of pain."

Guz says his favourite FA Cup moment is the solo goal Ryan Giggs scored in United's win over Arsenal in a semi-final replay on their way to winning the treble in 1999, but he has good memories of watching Coventry too.

He explained: "The iconic moment has to be the full chest hair, the rug from Ryan when he was skipping through the defence and he clapped that left peg - BOOM! - past David Seaman.

"I think what made the FA Cup so special, especially when I was a kid, was the fact that you could have a minnow team - a random team - come along and really put up a fight.

"And being from Coventry, we grew up in the days when the stadium was still at Highfield Road. They used to let us in late at the end of games for the last 10 minutes.

"We got to see the hey-day when they were in the top flight but we were still regarded as a small club.

"In the FA Cup, though, on any given day, the likes of Darren Huckerby or Peter Ndlovu could go on a rampage and put anybody out.

"It is that memory of smaller clubs being able to do big things that I think is the magic of the FA Cup."

Man Like Mobeen starts on BBC One on Sunday 14 January at 23:30 GMT or you can watch the whole series now on BBC Three on BBC iPlayer.

Gap = how many league positions separate each team

  • Away team to win at home in the replay

Stoke boss Mark Hughes is under more pressure following his side's defeat by Newcastle on Monday but I think he will get some respite on Saturday. I hope so anyway.

Fans of any Premier League teams who moan like hell about everything should spare a thought for Coventry supporters because what they have been through in the past few years is just ridiculous.

Mark Robins is doing a really good job and I would love the Sky Blues to get a draw and earn some money in a replay.

But, because of the gulf between the Premier League and League Two, it is impossible to see them winning this tie.

I would say the same about West Brom's visit to Exeter. Because it is so long since the Baggies won, they simply have to take this game seriously - they have to go and win a game soon, because just doing that would be massive for them.

Newcastle have got home advantage against Luton in their tie and I think that will see them through, no matter what team Magpies boss Rafa Benitez picks. I hope the Hatters fans who are travelling in numbers get something for their money though.

Guz Khan: We're City til we die! We know we are, we're sure we are, we're City til we die. Look, I'm a United fan but I will sing it for you because I am proud to come from Coventry. I am still going to say we will get smacked by Stoke, though. I can't lie.

The Baggies will win though. They have been through a bit of turmoil this season but I think they will beat Exeter.

Lawro: I am going to Fleetwood v Leicester and everyone is hoping that Jamie Vardy shakes off his injury and play. Even if he doesn't, I still think the Foxes will win, although Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler is doing a very good job there.

Leicester are eighth in the table and their manager Claude Puel could put some money in the bank with a decent cup run. It would keep the punters happy, so why wouldn't you play a strong team?

Wigan are full flow at the top of League One and their forward Nick Powell is obviously far too good for that division. He has the ability to play in the Premier League, but does he have the desire?

It is important that Bournemouth approach that tie with the right attitude. If they do, I think they will win.

West Ham manager David Moyes will not enjoy going back to Shrewsbury, who famously beat his Everton team in 2003 and are going well in League One,

I don't think Moyes will suffer any more embarrassment this time, while Tottenham will be too strong for AFC Wimbledon - although their fans will get to enjoy a day out at Wembley.

Guz Khan: If Vardy is fit he might have a little point to prove and there might be emotions involved as well, but I am saying Leicester to win. Marko Arnautovic is looking a bit tasty and West Ham are in decent form so I am backing them, and Tottenham are going to roll over the former Crazy Gang.

Derby are doing very well at the top of the Championship and Manchester United dropped points over Christmas, but they despatched Everton very easily in their last game and I don't see a shock happening at Old Trafford.

The FA Cup could turn into an important competition for United boss Jose Mourinho, because they are not going to win the Premier League, and they are probably not going to win the Champions League either.

I am not sure how much of a priority the FA Cup will be for Huddersfield, but you could say the same for their opponents, Bolton.

Bolton's form has picked up bit and Gary Madine has started scoring some goals for them but they are fighting relegation in the Championship and points will be more important for their manager Phil Parkinson.

The alarm bells must be ringing at Southampton with their poor run continuing - they have not won any of their past nine matches and I am backing Fulham to cause an upset in that tie.

The Cottagers play some nice football and their recent results have given them some momentum too.

Wolves are by far and away the best team in their division. They will be a Premier League team soon but it does not look like they will be playing Swansea next season.

I think the Championship leaders will beat them when they meet on Saturday. I just don't fancy Swansea at all.

I don't see Chelsea, Watford or Arsenal having too much trouble against Norwich, Bristol City or managerless Nottingham Forest, though.

Bristol City have beaten four Premier League teams, including Manchester United, on their way to the Carabao Cup semi-finals but they are not in great form at the moment. The Hornets need some good news, and a FA Cup run would help to provide it.

Guz Khan: Derby might be a tricky game for United but we came back into a little bit of form with our win against Everton and I am thinking Anthony Martial bangs in a couple, and Jesse Lingard bangs in a couple as well.

  • Away team to win at home in the replay

Lawro: I think the story of the Merseyside derby will be decided by what sort of teams both managers pick.

Everton boss Sam Allardyce has been known at other clubs for not being particularly enamoured by the FA Cup, with league position always being his priority.

I cannot believe that Sadio Mane will start for Liverpool given that he is flying to Ghana on Thursday with the injured Mohamed Salah to attend the Confederation of African Football's player of the year award ceremony. Mane might be on the bench, though.

So Klopp's selection will be interesting too, although we know Philippe Coutinho won't be playing either and Liverpool will not be at full strength. Even so, they should still have too much for Everton.

The Reds supporters will be hoping they take this competition seriously, because everyone loves a trip to Wembley to win the FA Cup. It is Klopp's decision though, and it is third on his list behind the Premier League and Champions League.

Again, this is a chance for Manchester City to rest players ahead of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Bristol City on Tuesday and their trip to Anfield next weekend. But they can leave out five or six players without it really affecting them.

Burnley did not win over Christmas, although they did have some tough games including Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool. The only team who took them apart was Spurs, but it is hard to see them getting anything at the Etihad Stadium.

To continue the theme, I cannot see Brighton or Crystal Palace being too bothered about the FA Cup either.

After the number of games they had over the festive period, so many Premier League clubs will not be playing their best teams in the FA Cup. They just can't.

There will be a great atmosphere at a lot of these grounds - Burnley are taking more than 7,000 fans to City and Luton are doing the same at St James' Park - but there will be a lot of second-string sides selected.

The problem is not going to go away in round four, which is at the end of January, either. There is a full Premier League programme the following midweek, and Brighton and Palace both have big games in their bid to stay up - away at Southampton and West Ham respectively.

Lose this tie, and they will have free weekend before those matches. That will already be altering their thinking for this round, so I'm going to go for the result no-one wants - a replay.

Guz Khan: Liverpool are on fire right now - I don't see Everton stopping them. As for Manchester City against Burnley - I want to say 27-0 to City. No, real talk... it's got to be a five-niller, even though Burnley are having a decent season.

  • Away team to win at home in the replay

Notts County are going great guns in League Two but Brentford are playing well too, and they have only lost once at Griffin Park in the Championship all season.

The Bees are a better side than their results sometimes show, and they play really nice football, so they should get through.

Cardiff are struggling at the moment but should still see off Mansfield, and the same applies for Reading against Stevenage - I think Royals boss Jaap Stam is in a bit of trouble if they don't.

Sheffield Wednesday are managerless and in a bit of a mess but Carlisle have lost their last two games and are not in the play-off picture in League Two, so they are not exactly in great shape either.

Leeds have had a couple of hiccups recently too, but should still beat Newport and I am fairly confident about my team Preston.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth is a former Preston player and is doing a great job there.

We will have to watch out for Adebayo Akinfenwa but if we can tame the beast and take them to a replay, then we will be in round four.

  • Away team to win at home in the replay

** Home team to win away in the replay

Peterborough play open, attractive football and score goals, so their tie with Aston Villa should be a good watch, but I think Steve Bruce's side will be too strong.

Blackburn against Hull will be close and the Tigers might need a replay. Home advantage will help QPR beat MK Dons.

  • Away team to win at home in the replay

** Home team to win away in the replay

Birmingham have beaten Leeds and Reading in the past week so I think they will get past Burton in the battle between two of the Championship's bottom three.

Middlesbrough are up and running under Tony Pulis after his first win as their manager against Preston on New Year's Day, and I think they will see off Sunderland in the Tees-Wear derby.

Sheffield United are are on a poor run but then again so are Ipswich, so I will go with the Blades to win after a replay, and I think Millwall will edge out Barnsley, although there won't be much in it.

  • Away team to win at home in the replay

There are no non-league sides left in the FA Cup but there will be at least two from the bottom two divisions in round four.

Yeovil are the lowest-ranked team left in the competition but I don't think they will get past Bradford, although the Bantams might need a replay.

  • Away team to win at home in the replay

Doncaster beat Rochdale in League One last week and are a good side, but I am going to end with a shock in this one.

In the last round of Premier League games, Lawro got six correct results, including one perfect score, from 10 matches, for a total of 90 points.

He beat Jimmy Dixon, bassist in alt-rock band Django Django, who also got six correct results, but with no perfect scores, giving him a total of 60 points.

In the predictor game, Lawro slipped to to 2,822nd place out of more than 345,00 users.

*Foster and Cram both provided predictions on week one, but only Foster's score contributes to the guest total.

**Anderson and Moeen both provided predictions on week nine, but only Anderson's score contributes to the guest total.

*Witter and Johnson both provided predictions on week 17, but only Johnson's score contributes to the guest total.

Lawro's worst score: 40 points (week four v Umenyiora and Bell, week five v Non Stanford and week 21 v Darren Campbell)

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@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

#SaintsFC boss Mauricio Pellegrino previews the trip to face #FFC in the #EmiratesFACup third round:

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@DExpress_Sport - Express Sport

Sam McQueen could be trading in Southampton's relegation battle for Leeds' promotion scrap #LUFC #SaintsFC https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/900434/Leeds-United-News-Southampton-Sam-McQueen-Brentford-Reading-EFL-Championship

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@scope - Scope

#FlashBackFriday to last May when we teamed up to show disability discrimination the red card with @VirginMediaCorphttps://twitter.com/i/web/status/949237524282691584

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Video: Pellegrino previews Fulham

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@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC


Get the view from the opposition camp, as #FFC boss Slavisa Jokanovic looks ahead to #SaintsFC and the… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/949264221296058368

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Summary of non-mainstream articles: 05/01/2018 13:08:52

FA Cup Third Round A Professional Affair VITALFOOTBALL

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