KANSAS CITY, KS – APRIL 7: Graham Zusi #8 of the Sporting Kansas City gains control of the ball against A.J. DeLaGarza #20 of the Los Angeles Galaxy at Livestrong Sporting Park on April 7, 2012, in Kansas City, Kansas. Sporting won 1-0. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Tony Pulis sounds a bit defensive — pun half-intended — about West Brom’s loss to Northampton Town in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.
His Baggies have started the season 1-1, winning at Palace and losing versus Everton, but the loss in a Cup competition is obviously stinging the veteran manager.
[ MORE: Champions League roundup ]
Pulis, 58, started a lineup that should’ve won comfortably, and the team went for it against the League One side in 2-2 (PKs, 4-3) match.
“I wish Northampton all the best. They worked really hard and kept at it.
“If we have come here and didn’t open them up and didn’t play well then you can slaughter us, but we did that. We’ve not hit the back of the net and that’s what you have to do.
“I understand supporters – if you’re not winning you’re not going to be happy, whether it’s me or another manager.”
Pulis is 22W-23D-25L as West Brom’s manager, but has done well on the whole with the club. Perhaps his style of play is frustrating, but he’s also brought in weapons like Matty Phillips and Brendan Galloway this year and is attempting to spur the club into something a bit more exciting. His comments have us wondering, though, if he’s feeling a bit of heat.
A Premier League player is set to be punished by English football authorities for discriminatory comments he made on social media more than four years ago.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
The comments made by Burnley striker Andre Gray between Jan. 9 and March 11, 2012 appeared anti-gay. They came to light on Saturday, when they were retweeted by other people after he scored his first Premier League goal for Burnley in the team’s 2-0 win over Liverpool. Gray released a public apology after the match.
Gray was charged with misconduct on Tuesday by the Football Association, which said the alleged comments “were abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.”
Gray said in his apology “the tweets were posted four years ago when I was a completely different person to the man I am now.”
“I have experienced a lot over the past four years and have had to take responsibility for a number of things in my life which has enabled me to mature and grow as a person since that time,” the 25-year-old Gray said.
“I have a lot of regrets regarding a number of things I’ve done in the past and realize I have made some big mistakes, none more so than these tweets, but I would like to stress that I’ve worked incredibly hard to completely transform my life since that time.”
Gray said he wanted to clarify that he was “absolutely not homophobic” and to “ask for forgiveness to anyone I offended.”
The FA said Gray had until Aug. 31 to respond to the charge.
“He has moved a long way in life,” Burnley manager Sean Dyche said Tuesday. “He’s made that clear with an apology and also to remind the club, `It’s four years ago, I’m a different person.’
“A lot has gone on in his life to get him where he’s got to, I think he made that clear. It was authentic what he said (in the apology).”
Gray was the top scorer in the second-tier League Championship last season, helping Burnley achieve an immediate return to the Premier League.
Other Premier League clubs might be interested in Phil Jones, but Jose Mourinho has no intentions of letting the 24-year-old
future England captain Manchester United center back leave anytime soon.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
Mourinho and Man United have received multiple approaches for Jones this summer, but never entertained the idea of selling, according to the Guardian. Arsenal were said to have been interested earlier in the summer, while Stoke City are presently trying to pry the Blackburn Rovers academy product away from Old Trafford, as confirmed by Mark Hughes’ assistant, Mark Bowen, earlier this week.
Jones moved to Man United in the summer of 2011 for a fee believed to be north of $20 million. While he’s endured his share of hard times in his five seasons at the club, Jones would easily be a 30-$35 million player giving fees paid for comparable center backs in recent transfer windows.
While Jones is yet to see the field early in the 2016-17 season, he remains a viable option, along with Chris Smalling, behind $40-million summer signing Eric Bailly and midfielder-turned-defender Daley Blind. Over the course of a 38-game PL season, the
UEFA Champions League Europa League, FA Cup and EFL Cup, a busy schedule and injuries will provide plenty of chances to impress the new manager and reclaim a regular place in the first team.
Previewing the biggest games across Major League Soccer on Wednesday…
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
Orlando City SC vs. Toronto FC — 7:30 p.m. ET (MLS Live)
Quick quiz: Which is the hottest team in MLS right now? Answer: It’s TFC, who are unbeaten in their last six games, a stretch which includes five wins and an aggregate score of 16-4. OK, so how are they doing it? Don’t ask silly questions. In those six games, Sebastian Giovinco, who’s again running away in the MVP race and will become the first back-to-back winner in league history (only Preki has ever been a two-time winner), has scored eight goals and notched four assists. He’s been even better this year than he was in 2015. His 2016 season tally currently stands at 16 and 11. He’ll likely be the first player in MLS history to notch multiple 20-goal seasons, if Bradley Wright-Phillips, who has 15 this season, doesn’t get there first.
It’s not only Giovinco, though, but the return Jozy Altidore which has allowed the Italian superstar the freedom, the space, and the hold-up play to thrive as he’s done. Giovinco has been given a free role by head coach Greg Vanney, and Altidore’s ability to occupy two center backs at once, along with his ability to hold the ball up and draw the opposing defense toward him, has resulted in Giovinco scoring a number of easy chances no player of his quality should ever be allowed to see. It’s amazing what happens when you build a team and system around your best player, rather than try to make that player fit into something predetermined. Three points on Wednesday would vault the Reds into first place in the Eastern Conference having finally pulled level on games played with New York City FC.
Chicago Fire vs. LA Galaxy — 8:30 p.m. ET (MLS Live)
After rattling off four straight wins over the majority of July, the Galaxy are suddenly winless winless in their last four, though they’ve managed to salvage three points during that period. During the current four-game stretch, the attacking trio of Robbie Keane, Giovani dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes have combined to contribute just one goal and three assists, all but one assist of which have come from GdS.
No team in the Western Conference has won more points away from home (14) than the Galaxy this season, while no team in MLS has won fewer home points (17 — or points, period, 22) than the Fire. All signs point toward a Galaxy victory, but this is a Fire side that has steadily improved bit by bit in recent weeks, culminating in their first road victory in 25 months last weekend. The Vancouver Whitecaps await the Galaxy on the weekend — can you say, “trap game?”
Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders — 9 p.m. ET (MLS Live)
If TFC are the hottest team in MLS, the Sounders are the second-hottest and without a doubt the hottest team in the West. Since firing Sigi Schmid four weeks ago, the bunch in Rave Green are unbeaten in four games, now having won three straight. The signing of Nicolas Lodeiro has been the spark that breathed life into a dying season, but one could reasonably argue that Cristian Roldan’s emergence deep in midfield has meant just as much to a Sounders side that, for the first time all season, has found a strong base between the attack and defense.
Osvaldo Alonso is no longer being ask to play the box-to-box role in which he thrived for a half-decade, instead acting as the organizer and director in front of the backline, with Roldan, the 21-year-old with many miles left in his legs, covering large swaths of space in midfield. The biggest difference between Roldan and your typical defensive midfield in MLS? He can see a pass in the final third, and he can hit it when it’s on. Lodeiro creates plenty of space for Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey with his unbelievable range of passing, and that’s been a huge part of the eight goals the Sounders have scored in those three wins, but Roldan’s presence alongside Alonso has been just as important in allowing just four goals in four games.