Maurizio Sarri: a look back at the Italian’s highs and lows at Chelsea – video


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Maurizio Sarri has joined Juventus on a three-year contract after securing his release from Chelsea. The 60-year-old had a turbulent tenure as manager, winning the Europa League in a comfortable 4-1 victory over Arsenal and suffering the Blues’ worst ever Premier League defeat, at the hands of Manchester City. Chelsea are eyeing up club legend Frank Lampard as his replacement

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Pochettino hands Spurs shopping list to Levy and counts on him to deliver | David Hytner


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Tottenham manager desperate to refresh squad amid falling points totals and work out how to improve results on bad daysMauricio Pochettino is back in Barcelona – the city that he calls home – and he is waiting. The Tottenham manager is waiting to see whether the chairman, Daniel Levy, and the club’s recruitment staff can deliver on any of his transfer targets, who include Tanguy Ndombélé, Donny van de Beek, Nicolò Zaniolo and Ryan Sessegnon.

Pochettino has made it plain that he wants to refresh at Spurs and a part of that means introducing new players for the first time since January 2018. There has even been the subtext that he would consider his position if Levy were to disappoint him.

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The top transfer targets in action at the Copa América


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Scouts should look out for Duván Zapata, Maxi Gómez, Giovani lo Celso, Rodrigo de Paul, Guillermo Maripan and Erick Pulgar

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

The Copa América kicks off on Friday night as the hosts face Bolivia in São Paulo, with fellow big hitters Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay all in action over the weekend. The tournament is sure to be teeming with scouts from around the world. Here are a few players who will be attracting attention over the next three weeks.

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Premier League fixtures 2019-20: Manchester United host Chelsea on opening weekend


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• Manchester City start the defence of their title at West Ham
• Liverpool play opening match of season at home to Norwich

Manchester City will start the defence of their Premier League title at West Ham. The 2019-20 fixtures, announced on Thursday morning, handed Pep Guardiola’s team an opening match at a venue which has proved to be productive for them since 2017.

City, who have won successive Premier League titles, have picked up three points in east London in the last three seasons – scoring four goals on each occasion.

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‘The public only see the highs’: the reality of Premier League youth teams


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Brighton coach Simon Rusk explains how he encourages young players while also preparing them for life outside the game

By Gavin Willacy for Playing in the Shadows

Having promoted young players in his previous roles at Östersund and Swansea City, new Brighton manager Graham Potter may look to the club’s talented academy players to bring new life to a squad that struggled to stay in the Premier League. However, Brighton under-23s boss Simon Rusk, recognises that most of the young players at the club will never grace the Premier League. His job is about far more than producing top-flight footballers.

“My ultimate role,” says Rusk, “is fine-tuning someone to be available for the first-team manager to select. My next role is for players who are just falling short of that: can I help that process for the club to sell someone? And if not, can they have a football Continue reading “‘The public only see the highs’: the reality of Premier League youth teams”

The Europa League problem


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The return of Aston Villa


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aston-villa-badge-championship-soccer-team

Aston Villa is back in the Premier League after beating Derby County 2-1 in the Championship promotion playoff final. Anwar El Ghazi put Villa up in the 44th with John McGinn doubling the lead in the 59th minute. Derby County’s Martyn Waghorn pulled a goal back in the 81st. Aston Villa joins Norwich City and Sheffield United as the promoted clubs.

Villa’s promotion ends three seasons in the Championship. Depending on how you define the greater Birmingham area, it also means the return of a club from the second biggest city in the country. Wolverhampton was the only West Midlands club in the Premier League in 2018-19, compared with six from London.

“The potential for the football club is massive,” Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said. “I have been asked how it feels right now? I think it feels right. “It feels right that Aston Villa are in the Premier Continue reading “The return of Aston Villa”

Aston Villa v Derby County: Tammy Abraham on what it means to be promoted – video


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Aston Villa are back in the top flight after beating Derby County 2-1 in the Championship play-off final.  Goals either side of half-time saw the midlands club promoted after three years out of the Premier League

Prince William and John Carew hugged one another in the stands while Jack Grealish and his team-mates celebrated wildly in front of the Villa fans. 

After the game, Tammy Abraham spoke about his hunger to score goals and what it means to be back at the top. 

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Emotional Dean Smith optimistic about Aston Villa’s future after Wembley win


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• Smith took over as manager in October
• ‘It feels right Villa are in the Premier League’

A mixture of euphoria and optimism swept through Aston Villa as Dean Smith claimed they are back where they belong after winning promotion to the Premier League, and Nassef Sawiris, the club’s co-owner, said the “sky is the limit” following victory in the Championship play-off final.

Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn scored the goals that gave Villa a 2-1 victory over Derby, on a day when Prince William, who has always supported Villa, was hugging former player John Carew in the stands.

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Aston Villa 2-1 Derby County: Championship play-off final – as it happened


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Why there is no accounting for a large slice of luck in the Premier League | Greg Wood


This post is by Greg Wood from Football | The Guardian


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Football data shows that chance plays a significant, possibly decisive, role in one match in sixBack in the late 1990s a bookmaking firm came up with an interesting new game to keep the customers in its betting shops amused while they were waiting for the racing to start. It ran computer simulations of entire seasons in football’s top flight, several times each morning and squeezed into just a few minutes, complete with “pre‑season odds” to attract fivers and tenners from fans of the big-name teams. It was a little like Wembley, the 1970s board game that did something similar for the FA Cup, and the virtual, highly accelerated Football League proved quite a hit with the regulars.

That was until the morning when, much to the surprise of all concerned, they cranked up the computer, fed in all the odds and possibilities, hit return and five minutes later watched Continue reading “Why there is no accounting for a large slice of luck in the Premier League | Greg Wood”

Playing the Premier League money game


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The Premier League logo.

Aston Villa plays Derby County on Monday for a spot in the Premier League. They meet at Wembley Stadium in a game worth many millions no matter how you run the numbers. The winner gets the economic rewards of England’s topflight. Broadcast money domestic and international is the prime mover for why the Premier League can offer so much to its teams. That doesn’t exist at anywhere near the same level a league down.

It’s an interesting situation for English soccer, with all involved well aware of the difference between 17th-place and above in the Premier League and everybody else. The problem for those teams feeling safe at the top level is the old VIP area in the club scenario. There’s always another roped off section or room.

Relegation worriers look at the safety of midtable. Those teams wonder if it’s even possible to get into the Europa League places. Continue reading “Playing the Premier League money game”

Pulisic makes his Chelsea move


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The badge for Premier League club Chelsea.

The soccer news starts with Christian Pulisic at Chelsea. After Borussia Dortmund agreed to the reportedly $71m transfer in January, Pulisic remained with Dortmund on loan. Now with the Bundesliga season over, he’s in London making plans for the upcoming season. Pulisic made it clear that England’s topflight was his target.

“I was 15 when I moved to Dortmund,” he said. “It was something I always wanted and it was just a matter of finding the right time. Now I just felt that it was the right step [to join Chelsea]. It was a great time in Dortmund but it was a feeling and I still have that. This is the biggest stage, it is incredible to come in and be in England and part of this league. If you want to prove yourself it is the greatest stage to be on.”

It’s also an interesting time for the Continue reading “Pulisic makes his Chelsea move”

Will the Champions League avoid negative tactics?


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The UEFA Champions League logo.

By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (May 20, 2019) US Soccer Players – This is the time of year for crowning champions. In Europe, domestic cup tournaments typically close out the long club season. The continent’s biggest trophies, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League provide an appropriate end to the season. For the first time in history, both finals will feature only English clubs.

The Premier League’s domination over the continent’s top five domestic competitions and the rest of Europe is a result of money and years of investment. Despite the exciting season finale that saw Manchester City edge out Liverpool by a single point for the title, the premier League isn’t immune to dull matches. No league is. As a result, these much-anticipated finals aren’t immune to negative tactics.

Many a final turns into defensive play, fear of losing, and negative tactics. After a long season where Continue reading “Will the Champions League avoid negative tactics?”

Premier League 2018-19 review: our predictions versus reality


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We thought Manchester City would pip Liverpool to the title, but we also said Watford would go down

What we said: “Pep Guardiola’s talented side look well placed to become the first team to retain the Premier League title since Manchester United did it in 2009.”

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Premier League 2018-19 season review: our writers’ best and worst


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The best players, greatest games and standout signings – plus those that didn’t work out, and what needs to change

Ed Aarons: Virgil van Dijk. Raheem Sterling runs him close but in terms of impact and influence, the big Dutchman has been peerless.

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Premier League 2018-19 review: the big quiz of the season


This post is by Paul Campbell and Niall McVeigh from Football | The Guardian


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Who can’t wait to get out? Who sees trains? And who lost 6-0?

Which team suffered the heaviest defeat of the season?

Cardiff City

Bournemouth

Fulham

Chelsea

Which team lost 10 London derbies?

West Ham

Fulham

Crystal Palace

Arsenal

Three players shared the golden boot with 22 goals each. Which continent are they from?

Europe

South America

Africa

Asia

Which team won the majority of their points from away matches?

Tottenham Hotspur

Crystal Palace

Huddersfield Town

Fulham

Who scored 37.1% of his team’s goals – the highest percentage in the league?

Glenn Murray

Aleksandar Mitrovic

Jamie Vardy

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

What is the missing word in this quote: “It is like a **** that, every day in 10 years, sees the train cross in front at the same time. If you ask the **** what time is the train going to come, it is not going to know the right answer. Continue reading “Premier League 2018-19 review: the big quiz of the season”

Unforgettable photos: the best of the 2018-19 Premier League season


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Photo editor Jonny Weeks reviews a tumultuous football season through some of its best, weirdest and most defining images

On an average weekend, The Guardian receives around 12,000 photographs from Premier League matches via its staff, agency and contributor photographers. That’s almost half a million images per season. Some capture extraordinary joy and despair; some bear witness to defining moments in the title race; some owe greatly to the creativity of the men and women behind the lenses; and some, like this first one from August, feature the rare but always amusing sight of a referee nearly getting thwacked by a ball.

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Premier League 2018-19 review: what we learned tactically from the season | Jonathan Wilson


This post is by Jonathan Wilson from Football | The Guardian


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For the elite clubs press-and-possess remains the dominant mode and the league’s less wealthy simply cannot competeOnce upon a time, not so very long ago, football was a game in which two teams battled for the ball and, when they had it, tried to score a goal. Teams had different ways of doing that. They used strength and they used pace and they used skill. They tried different shapes. They tried to win the ball back in different parts of the pitch. The ball could be capricious and hard to tame, but pretty much everybody agreed that it was safer not to let your opponents have too much of it.

Related: Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City can be judged with England’s very best | Richard Williams

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From Foster to Mitrovic: my Premier League unsung XI of the season


This post is by Sachin Nakrani from Football | The Guardian


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A team of players whose contribution to the 2018-19 campaign has either gone under the radar or not been fully appreciated

Yes, it’s time for another Premier League team of the season. This one is a little different, however, containing as it does not the best performers of the 2018-2019 campaign but rather those whose contributions have either gone under the radar, not been fully appreciated or simply been overshadowed by others. In other words, welcome to the Unsung XI.

There were two rules ahead of picking this side – no one on the Professional Footballers’ Association’s player or young player of the year shortlists could be chosen, and there could only be one player from any given club.

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