Wolverhampton Wanderers have completed the signing of former Chelsea forward, Diego Costa, on a deal until the end of the 2022/23 season, subject to international clearance.
Costa won three trophies, including two Premier League titles, and a League Cup. In 2018 with London club; following a rift with head coach Antonio Conte, he returned to Atlético Madrid in a club record transfer worth an initial €56 million, where he won a UEFA Europa League title and another UEFA Super Cup.
The striker will pick up the No 29 jersey for the club.
An elated Costa disclosed his decision to join the club was quite easy as he will be able to communicate effectively with teammates.
“It’s a first-class club with very good players who know how to play football and having the chance to play in the Premier League again was the main thing.:
“Obviously, the club influenced my decision, especially knowing I will be able to adapt a lot more easily here not only from a technical point of view, the quality of the players but also from the fact that a lot of the players are Portuguese and that will make my transition that much smoother,” he said
When asked what he would provide to the team his answer was “Score goals. Score goals, do the best I can, and give it my all.”
“It’s not an easy challenge because you’re not going to play in an easy league and you can’t play it the way you want to. This is a very demanding championship, physically demanding, and it is something to test myself with and I’m ready to give it a go.”
Wolves chairman Jeff Shi also said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Diego Costa to Wolves, and back to the Premier League.
“A serial winner with a wealth of experience at the highest level, Diego will bring something unique to our dressing room and on the pitch, and we look forward to his impact at Molineux and Compton this season.”
Chelsea blew a two-goal lead in front of prospective owner Todd Boehly as Wolves snatched a dramatic 2-2 draw, while Watford were relegated from the Premier League after defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly has won the battle to buy Chelsea in a £4.25 billion ($5.2 billion) deal.
Roman Abramovich put the west London club on the market in early March, just days before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
After a lengthy bidding process involving several groups, Boehly and his fellow investors were picked by Raine Group, the New York bank overseeing the sale.
Boehly’s consortium includes a fellow co-owner of the Dodgers baseball franchise, Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss and US investment firm Clearlake Capital.
They still need to satisfy the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test and gain approval from the UK government, but Chelsea expect the sale to be completed by the end of the month.
After fears for Chelsea’s future were sparked by the protracted sale, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel welcomed the takeover, saying: “It gives us an outlook if terms are agreed and hopefully the process will be streamlined and go forward as soon as possible. Good news.”
But Tuchel’s third-placed team were unable to celebrate the deal with a victory as they squandered an opportunity to move closer to qualifying for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish.
Romelu Lukaku, who has endured a wretched season following his £97 million club record move from Inter Milan, converted a VAR-awarded penalty after he was fouled by Romain Saiss in the 56th minute.
The Chelsea striker followed his first Premier League goal since December 29 with another two minutes later.
This time he produced a fine 20-yard finish from Christian Pulisic’s cross as Boehly rose from his seat to celebrate.
But Wolves forward Francisco Trincao set up a tense finish when he hammered home from the edge of the area in the 79th minute.
And Chelsea cracked deep into stoppage time as Conor Coady nodded a close-range equaliser to leave Boehly shaking his head in frustration.
Chelsea are six points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham, who play their game in hand at quadruple-chasing Liverpool later on Saturday.
Watford go down
At Selhurst Park, Watford needed a win to keep alive their faint hopes of avoiding the drop, but Wilfried Zaha’s first-half penalty was enough to condemn them to relegation.
With three games still to play, second-bottom Watford are certain to drop into the Championship 12 months after winning promotion as second-tier runners-up.
The Hornets will head into the close-season looking for a new boss after their current manager Roy Hodgson confirmed he would not be extending his short-term contract.
Hodgson, 74, was unable to rescue Watford after replacing the sacked Claudio Ranieri in January to become the club’s third manager this term following Xisco’s dismissal in October.
Watford were heading for relegation in the 31st minute when Hassane Kamara handled Michael Olise’s header, conceding a penalty that Zaha converted for his 14th goal this season.
Burnley wasted a chance to boost their survival chances as Aston Villa cruised to a 3-1 victory at Turf Moor.
Caretaker boss Mike Jackson saw Burnley beaten for the first time in five games since replacing the sacked Sean Dyche.
Former Burnley striker Danny Ings put Villa ahead in the seventh minute with a composed finish from Emiliano Buendia’s pass.
Buendia slotted home from Lucas Digne’s cross in the 31st minute.
Ollie Watkins scored Villa’s third with a diving header in the 52nd minute and although Maxwel Cornet struck for the hosts in stoppage time, Burnley sit perilously just two points above the bottom three.
Burnley would be back in the relegation zone if third-bottom Everton beat Leicester on Sunday and fourth-bottom Leeds avoid defeat at Arsenal.
Brentford crushed Southampton 3-0 at their Community Stadium, with the goals coming from Pontus Jansson, Yoane Wissa and Kristoffer Ajer.
Arsenal staged a dramatic fightback as two goals in the final minutes sealed a 2-1 win against Wolves that boosted their bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four.
Mikel Arteta’s side trailed to Hwang Hee-Chan’s early goal at the Emirates Stadium in Thursday’s crucial clash between the top four contenders.
But Nicolas Pepe came off the bench to equalise in the 82nd minute before Wolves keeper Jose Sa deflected Alexandre Lacazette’s shot into his own net in the final seconds.
Arsenal’s third successive league victory moved them up to fifth place and they sit just one point behind fourth-placed Manchester United with two games in hand in the race to qualify for the Champions League.
Arsenal’s tally of 14 league victories from September onwards has only been bettered by Manchester City and Liverpool.
It is a remarkable revival after they made the worst start to a season in 67 years with three consecutive defeats.
Once again, Wolves, who stay seventh, were denied by Arsenal — just two weeks after the Gunners’ 1-0 win at Molineux.
Arsenal’s prolonged celebrations at the final whistle on that occasion irked Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, who claimed it was like they had won the league rather than just three points.
Neves must have felt a sense of deja vu as Arsenal cavorted around the pitch at the climax of another thrilling triumph.
Initially, it was Wolves who had the upper hand and they were denied an opener when Romain Saiss netted from Neves’ cross, only for the offside flag to be raised.
On that occasion, a VAR check confirmed Arsenal’s escape but they weren’t so lucky in the 10th minute.
Jimenez suffered a fractured skull during an aerial challenge with David Luiz in a win at Arsenal in November 2020.
The Mexican striker was making his first return to the Emirates since that horrific injury, which kept him sidelined for eight months.
So it was fitting that Jimenez was involved in the opener, putting Gabriel under pressure and panicking the Arsenal defender into playing a weak back-pass towards Aaron Ramsdale.
Hwang pounced to seize possession before the ball could reach Ramsdale and the South Korean slotted home from a tight angle.
It was Hwang’s first Wolves goal since October, ending a barren run of 10 games in all competitions for the former Leipzig forward.
Jimenez should have doubled Wolves’ advantage moments later, but he shot wide from the edge of the area after Daniel Podence’s pass opened up the creaky Arsenal defence.
After their limp start, Arsenal finally showed signs of life and Max Kilman had to block Lacazette’s goalbound shot.
Lacazette hooked his shot just over from Bukayo Saka’s cross before Gabriel Martinelli poked a close-range effort narrowly wide.
Booed off at half-time, Arsenal almost fell further behind immediately after the restart when Hwang ran onto Podence’s pass and drilled a shot that deflected wide.
Wolves boast one of the meanest defensive records in the top tier this season, but even their resilience couldn’t withstand Arsenal’s barrage as the second half wore on.
In an inspired change, Arteta sent on Pepe in the closing stages and the Ivorian winger grabbed the equaliser in the 82nd minute.
Eddie Nketiah, another of Arteta’s substitutes, cut his pass back for Pepe and he swept a clinical finish past Sa for his first league goal this term.
Wolves’ Pedro Neto wasted a golden opportunity to win it, shooting wide of the far post.
And Arsenal made him pay deep into stoppage-time as Lacazette traded passes with Pepe before drilling a strike that deflected in off Sa’s out-stretched hand.
An injury crisis at centre-back with captain Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly all missing, forced Rangnick to hand Phil Jones his first Premier League appearance in two years.
But the former England international was one of few United players to emerge with any credit from a ragged display that raises questions over their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo was named United captain for just the second time in the absence of Maguire.
In his new year message on social media, Ronaldo said he was “not happy” with the state of affairs at United and that “we have to work harder, play better and deliver way more than we are delivering right now.”
However, there was no sign of improvement as Ronaldo was kept quiet up against a number of his Portuguese international teammates.
David De Gea was the difference between the sides when United won 1-0 at Molineux in August and the Spaniard was again his side’s saviour with a finger tip save to turn Ruben Neves’ volley over.
Wolves managed more shots in the first half than they had in their previous three matches combined.
But Bruno Lage’s men have scored just 14 goals in 19 league games and again failed to make their control of the game show in the scoreline.
Rangnick left Bruno Fernandes on the bench after the Portugal midfielder missed Thursday’s 3-1 win over Burnley due to suspension.
Fernandes had been United’s talisman for 18 months till Ronaldo’s return to the club in August, but his slump in form has been symptomatic of the Red Devils’ poor season.
However, it was not until Fernandes’ introduction on the hour mark that the home side even began to threaten a breakthrough.
Fernandes should have opened the scoring when he rattled the crossbar with the best chance of the match from Nemanja Matic’s cross 23 minutes from time.
Moments later his free-kick was headed home by Ronaldo, but clearly from an offside position.
Ronaldo then dragged a shot wide from a narrow angle.
But United’s attacking flurry quickly fizzled out.
Romain Saiss hit the bar from a free-kick as Wolves continued to pose a threat.
And the visitors finally got their reward eight minutes from time when Jones’ header fell kindly for Moutinho at the edge of the box and he drilled low into the bottom corner.
Jose Sa was still needed to make a vital save from another fierce Fernandes free-kick with virtually the last kick of the game.
Victory lifts Wolves up to eighth, just three points behind United.
Defending champions City crushed Newcastle 4-0 to confirm their position at the top of the table at Christmas.
Eddie Howe’s side shot themselves in the foot in just the fifth minute, when calamitous defending handed City the lead after goalkeeper Martin Dubravka had carelessly conceded a corner.
The defence only half-cleared and Joao Cancelo hooked the ball back into the six-yard box. Newcastle appeared to be in little danger but Ciaran Clark inexplicably chose not to make a simple headed clearance and Ruben Dias headed the loose ball into the net.
The home side rallied and Joelinton went close to equalising with a stinging shot from distance that flew just wide of Ederson’s right-hand post.
But City silenced the passionate crowd at St James’s Park shortly before the half-hour, when Cancelo jinked his way past Joe Willock and Isaac Hayden before smashing a right-footed shot past the helpless Dubravka from the edge of the area.
City maintained their firm grip on the match in the second half, with Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling doubling their lead.
City manager Pep Guardiola was surprisingly harsh on his team, saying their first-half performance was one of the worst of the season before an improved showing after the break.
“Records show consistency we have as a team — it is not winning titles or finals but it is winning and winning,” he said. “Records are there to be broken and happy to have them.”
City have now won eight league games in a row to move four points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who are in action at Tottenham later on Sunday.
But relegation-threated Newcastle remain three points from safety having now played two games more than Watford, who are just outside the drop zone.
The Magpies’ wealthy new Saudi-backed owners have indicated they will invest significantly in the squad but before the January transfer window opens they have fixtures against Manchester United and Everton.
Liverpool’s preparations for their Premier League visit to Spurs were hit after Thiago Alcantara became the latest of Jurgen Klopp’s players to return a suspected positive test for Covid.
Raheem Sterling scored his 100th Premier League goal as the Manchester City forward’s penalty fired the leaders to a 1-0 win against 10-man Wolves on Saturday.
Sterling netted from the spot in the second half at the Etihad Stadium to clinch City’s sixth successive league victory.
City’s cause was aided by a needless first half red card for Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, who was dismissed for failing to retreat the required 10 yards before a free-kick he had been booked for conceding seconds earlier.
Sterling’s landmark goal ensured City capitalised on Jimenez’s blunder as they survived an average display to get back on track after the midweek Champions League defeat at Leipzig.
After struggling to get into Guardiola’s starting line-up at times this season amid talk of a potential transfer, Sterling is finally showing signs of recapturing the scintillating form that made him such a dangerous force.
Pep Guardiola’s side are four points clear of second placed Liverpool, who can close the gap if they beat Aston Villa at Anfield later on Saturday.
Kyle Walker was dropped to the bench after City’s right-back was criticised by Guardiola following his red card at Leipzig.
Guardiola made eight changes from the Leipzig game, with Phil Foden, troubled by an ankle problem, and Kevin De Bruyne, recovered from the coronavirus, named as substitutes.
Bernardo Silva had scored six goals in his previous eight league appearances and the City playmaker was inches away from adding to that total when he bent a curler just over the bar in the opening minutes.
Joao Cancelo’s lung-bursting breaks from right-back were a constant threat in the first half and he advanced again for a low strike that tested Wolves keeper Jose Sa.
Wolves duo Max Kilman and Ruben Neves needed lengthy treatment after a nasty clash of heads that left Kilman with blood pouring from a cut.
Jimenez, the victim of a fractured skull in a collision with David Luiz at Arsenal last season, was quick to check on his team-mates, who were both able to continue playing.
It was Jimenez who didn’t make it to half-time as the Mexican saw red in needless fashion.
Booked for a tug on Rodri, Jimenez stupidly stuck out a foot to block the resulting free-kick without retreating 10 yards, earning his second yellow card 48 seconds after the first.
Jimenez ripped off his protective headband and swung it around in frustration, but he could have no complaints about his self-inflicted exit.
With the numerical advantage, City monopolised possession after the interval.
Ilkay Gundogan met Cancelo’s pin-point cross with a looping header that Conor Coady nodded off the line.
Silva and Sterling got in each others way as they failed to finish off Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross.
City’s pressure finally produced a goal in the 66th minute.
Joao Moutinho blocked Silva’s cross with a raised arm and, although the ball appeared to hit the midfielder’s armpit, VAR confirmed Jon Moss’s decision after a check.
Sterling stroked the spot-kick down the middle for his fifth goal in his last eight City appearances.
Jack Grealish poked wide from close range and Jesus was denied by Sa in the closing stages.
City had done just enough but Ederson had to tip over Kilman’s header before the points were secured.
“Divock Origi, the legend, finished it off and it’s a great story,” said Klopp. “He’s an incredible striker, for different reasons he did not play that often but I hope one day he finds a manager that plays him more than I do.
“He’s one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen in my life. In this great team, with our three, he doesn’t play all the time but he is a very positive boy, loves the club, wants to contribute and he did in an incredible way.”
Chelsea’s defeat to West Ham earlier on Saturday handed Klopp’s men the chance to move ahead of the European champions.
Origi’s low finish from Salah’s cut-back moves Liverpool a point clear of the Blues and two ahead of Manchester City, who face Watford later on Saturday.
“Other results are not really important, we just want to win football games,” added Klopp. “We played three days ago and the derby (against Everton) is easy to focus on as it’s the game of the year, then we start the machine again and I like how we fought today.”
Liverpool had scored four goals in each of their last three league games and two or more in 18 straight games, but saw that run come to an end due to a rare off day with their finishing.
Trent Alexander-Arnold volleyed over before Jota headed over the first of his big chances to score against his former club.
Salah was denied a simple tap in for his 20th goal in as many games by a miraculous last-ditch challenge from Romain Saiss to divert Andy Robertson’s cross to safety.
The chances continued to come and go for Liverpool after the break, but none were bigger than the one presented to Jota midway through the half.
A mix up between Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa and Saiss allowed the Portuguese international to walk the ball towards and unguarded net, but he fired straight at Conor Coady on the line rather than placing the ball into the corner.
Heroics from Sa then seemed set to earn Wolves a point as he denied Mane and Salah.
But he was finally beaten with virtually the last kick of the game as this time Salah played the provider and picked out Origi, who spun before lashing the ball in low on his left foot to spark scenes of wild celebration from Klopp and the rest of the Liverpool bench.
Wolves on Wednesday announced the appointment of former Benfica boss Bruno Lage as the new manager of the Premier League club to replace Nuno Espirito Santo.
The Portuguese led Benfica to the Primeira Liga title in his first season in management in 2019 but left the club the following year after failing to defend the crown.
“First of all, I’m very happy,” Lage told the club’s website. “It’s a big opportunity. I’m very happy because I’ve returned to this country, and to be the manager of a big team.
“It’s a team and a club that wants to do history and a chance to compete in the Premier League. So, I’m happy, excited, with a big ambition to do great things for this club.”
The 45-year-old has previous experience of working in Britain in coaching roles with Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City under Carlos Carvalhal.
“I was here (in Britain) for three years, so I know Wolves, but now, the best thing to do — the next thing to do — is to know everyone better,” Lage said.
Nuno, who left at the end of the season, secured successive seventh-place finishes in the Premier League after promotion from the Championship in 2018 but Wolves could only manage 13th place in the 2020/21 campaign.
Arsenal’s ill-discipline cost Mikel Arteta’s men again as the nine-man Gunners were beaten 2-1 at Wolves on Tuesday to halt their charge towards the Premier League’s top four.
A seven-game unbeaten league run had propelled Arsenal back into contention for a return to the Champions League next season and they could have moved to within five points of the top four after Nicolas Pepe’s strike opened the scoring at Molineux.
But David Luiz’s third red card in two seasons as an Arsenal player for clipping Willian Jose on the stroke of half-time turned the game around.
Ruben Neves converted the resulting penalty before Joao Moutinho’s stunning long-range strike early in the second half put goal-shy Wolves in front.
Goalkeeper Bernd Leno then rounded off a miserable night for the visitors when he was also dismissed for handling outside his box.
Arsenal have now been shown nine red cards since Arteta took charge in December 2019, three times more than any other Premier League club.
A much-needed victory for Wolves ended an eight-game winless run and takes them 12 points clear of the relegation zone.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men also completed a first league double over Arsenal in 42 years.
Wolves’ win at the Emirates in November was bittersweet as they lost talismanic striker Raul Jimenez to a fractured skull.
The Mexican has not played since and a lack of goals has seen Wolves plummet down the table.
Another bad night seemed in store for the hosts when Pepe fought his way through two challenges before firing into the far corner on 32 minutes.
Jose was brought in from Real Sociedad last month to ease the effect of the absence of Jimenez and made his first telling contribution for Wolves when Luiz was harshly adjudged to have tripped the Brazilian as he burst into the penalty area.
Neves coolly slotted the resulting penalty into the top corner with the final kick of the first half.
Moutinho then completed the comeback with his first goal at Molineux in three years at the club.
Leno’s rush of blood to the head 18 minutes from time means he will miss the trip to Aston Villa on Saturday.
However, the damage to Arsenal’s chances of Champions League football via the league already looks done as they remain in 10th, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Leicester, having played a game more.
Sam Allardyce’s record of never being relegated as a Premier League manager is under severe threat after West Brom blew a lead to lose 2-1 at bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United.
Matt Phillips tapped home from close range to give the Baggies the lead shortly before half-time.
However, the Blades kept their slim chances of survival alive thanks to goals from Jayden Bogle and Billy Sharp.
Sheffield United close to within a point of West Brom and 10 of survival with just their third league win of the season.
England’s Football Association said Wednesday that Nuno had accepted a charge of improper conduct following a personal hearing.
“The (Wolves) head coach admitted that comments he made during a post-match interview constitute improper conduct as they were personally offensive to the match official and bring the game into disrepute contrary to FA Rule E3.1,” said a statement from the ruling body.
Nuno, following the match at Turf Moor, said of Mason: “The referee does not have the quality to whistle a game in the Premier League.
“It is not about the crucial mistakes or decisions, it is about the way he handles the game.
“We are talking about the best competition and clearly he doesn’t have the quality to whistle the game.”
The Portuguese boss added: “I just don’t want to see him more — that’s what I told him. I hope he doesn’t whistle a game of ours again because all the games we have with Lee Mason are always the same. He cannot control the players.”
Two days later Nuno apologised for the timing of his comments but not for the thinking behind them.
“They were not in the best moment to come across because it could be a bad interpretation,” he said. “For that I will apologise on my timing, but I won’t apologise for my words and thoughts.”
The FA charged Nuno on New Year’s Eve and a fine was handed down at a hearing in front of an independent regulatory commission.