x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Grant hopes to find survival in his Christmas stocking

EPL wrap: Ferguson surpasses Busby at Manchester and a look at on and off field action of all Premier League clubs.

West Ham United

Avram Grant is determined that, by May 2011, West Bromwich Albion will no longer be the only Premier League team to have been bottom at Christmas and escaped relegation. Saturday's 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park ensured the Hammers will prop up the table next Saturday, two points behind Wolverhampton Wanderers and three points from safety. West Brom achieved the feat in the 2004/05 season despite having only 10 points at Christmas, three fewer than West Ham, but in the 17 other years of the Premier League, there has been no way back. Grant, said: "If it was two months to the end of the season with this difference of points, nobody would think we can do it. We can do it. As long as we show this spirit, I'm sure we can stay in the league."

Everton

David Moyes, the Everton manager, accepts his pre-season hopes of pushing the likes of Manchester City at the top end of the league are now impossible. But, as his side prepare to face City tonight, he still thinks his team are as good as Roberto Mancini's title-chasing side, who can go top of the league with a win.Everton are in the bottom half of the table after seven games without a win. "I hoped we would have been in a similar position [to City] but our start and the way we are at the moment makes that look impossible," Moyes said. "But we are a good team as well - that gives us a chance of going there and showing what we can do."

Sunderland

Anton Ferdinand, the Sunderland defender, is revelling in the chance to prove himself all over again in the club's hour of need. The centre-back, who has had a stop-start time at Sunderland, turned in an impressive display in the 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday in the midst of a defensive crisis. Ferdinand said: "All I have asked for is a run of games and I seem to be getting that at the moment. That's what I want to be judged on, a run of games, not one game here, one game there. It's just nice to know that I am a big part of the team at the moment and needed. That only breeds confidence into a player and that's what it is doing to me."

Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has surpassed Sir Matt Busby to become Manchester United's longest-serving manager. Yesterday marked 8,811 days since Ferguson replaced Ron Atkinson, although he was denied a chance to celebrate the milestone with a victory over Chelsea after heavy snow forced the match to be called off. Ferguson, 68, has won 26 major trophies since arriving at Old Trafford in November 1986, including the Premier League 11 times and the Champions League twice. Busby, who died in 1994, had two spells in charge of United - between 1945 and 1969 and 1970-71 - and produced the club's first European Cup as well as five league titles. Ferguson says he thought Busby "would be here forever. It's a surprise to me to be overtaking his record".

Newcastle United

Alan Pardew, the new Newcastle manager, is trying to convince Steven Taylor to change his mind and sign a new contract at Newcastle. The centre-back's current deal expires at the end of the season and it has been reported he will look for another club. However, Newcastle are prepared to offer him a new, improved deal to stay. Pardew has had talks with Taylor, 24, and hopes an agreement can be reached. He told Sky Sports: "I have spoken to Steven Taylor this week. I haven't had an indication that he wants to leave. He wants a contract he thinks is fair for his ability and his ability going forward. I think that is fair."