Did anyone see this coming?
Weren’t we all resigned to seeing longtime Chelsea man Frank Lampard finish his time at Stamford Bridge, this summer if not very soon, in January?
Just a week ago, we were all writing about Chelsea’s decision not to offer the England international a new deal. Right move? Wrong move? That kind of thing.
The only place this story had to go, it seemed, was the “where.” As in, where would Lampard land?
We even got a look at odds coming out of England, tipping to the favorites for where the 34-year-old midfielder would take his career. (MLS wasn’t placed high in the odds, by the way, at 10-1.)
Now, it seems, there might be a new twist here. Did Lampard, for lack of a better way to put this, “embarrass” Chelsea into a re-think here with some bright and relevant performances lately? Are Chelsea ready to open talks for another year or two?
Meanwhile, even Lampard admits that it’s been hard to remain focused through all this. Not that it shows; if the man truly is distracted, you can’t tell from his play on the field.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Premier League we thought it would be great to count down our top 25 moments from a quarter of a century of action.
[ VIDEO: Top 25 moments in PL history ]
Each week we will release our best moments and you can keep track of the full list here.
Below are numbers 12-10 as we enter the top 10 moments in PL history.
12. Sir Alex Ferguson retires as Manchester United’s manager
11. Alan Shearer becomes Newcastle’s all-time leading goalscorer
10. Sheikh Mansour buys Manchester City in 2008
The English Football Association announced on Wednesday that the head coach of the women’s team, Mark Sampson, has been fired as their boss.
Sampson, 34, led the Lionesses to both the semifinals of the 2015 World Cup and the 2017 European Championships, their best-ever finishes on the international stage and also their highest-ever world ranking of third.
However, amid uproar regarding allegations of racist abuse and bullying from current England forward Eni Aluko, something Sampson has been cleared of by two separate investigations, the FA now cite safeguarding allegations from 2014 as the reason for firing Sampson.
His previous job was as the manager of Bristol Academy women’s team from 2009-13 and the FA say it was “unacceptable behavior by a coach.”
Below is the statement from the English Football Association in full.
The Football Association can confirm that Mark Sampson’s contract as England Women’s head coach has been terminated with immediate effect.
Prior to taking charge of the national team in December 2013, Sampson was manager of Bristol Academy. In 2014, safeguarding allegations were made against him about his time with Bristol Academy. The safeguarding assessment was that he did not pose a risk working in the game.
However, the full report of that investigation was only brought to the attention of the current FA leadership last week and it is our judgement that it revealed clear evidence of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour by a coach.
It is on this basis that we have acted quickly to agree a termination of Sampson’s contract. In respect of investigations into specific allegations made by Eniola Aluko in 2016, The FA stands by the findings of the independent barrister Katharine Newton’s investigation.
Sampson has denied all of the accusations put to him and no evidence of wrong-doing was found. We will continue to support the independent investigation as it reviews the recent evidence presented to it and publish any new findings and recommendations.
It is still early in the season but the player Power Rankings are already becoming increasingly familiar.
[ MORE: Power Rankings archive ]
Players from Manchester City dominate our top five, while plenty of stars from Manchester United are also in the top 20 as Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola work their magic. There are also plenty of new entries as new signings find their feet across the league.
Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.
Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections of the top 20 players in the PL right now.
- Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Even
- Nemanja Matic (Man United) – Up 11
- Sergio Aguero (Man City) – New entry
- David Silva (Man City) – Up 11
- Romelu Lukaku (Man United) – Up 4
- Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United) – New entry
- Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 5
- Gabriel Jesus (Man City) – Even
- Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) – New entry
- Juan Mata (Man United) – New entry
- Pascal Gross (Brighton) – Down 7
- David De Gea (Man United) – New entry
- Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) – New entry
- Mario Lemina (Southampton) – New entry
- Cesar Azpcilicueta (Chelsea) – Down 3
- Jack Butland (Stoke City) – Down 11
- Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) – New entry
- Jordon Ibe (Bournemouth) – New entry
- Laurent Depoitre (Huddersfield Town) – New entry
- Shokdran Mustafi (Arsenal) – New entry
GENEVA (AP) Russia has regained its place on the FIFA Council, six months after Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was blocked from re-election.
UEFA member federations on Wednesday elected Alexei Sorokin, CEO of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee, by acclamation as one of their delegates to FIFA’s strategy-setting committee.
The seat, which runs through 2021, was vacant since May when Mutko was formally forced to step down.
Mutko’s candidacy was blocked by FIFA’s then governance committee chairman, Miguel Maduro, because of a conflict of interest with his government work. Maduro, who was ousted by FIFA weeks later, said last week that the world soccer body’s leaders put pressure on him to protect Mutko’s position.
Meeting with British lawmakers, Maduro said he was told that his ruling on Mutko’s eligibility could threaten FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s hold on power and “would be a disaster” for the World Cup.
Sorokin became the eighth of the nine European delegates on the 37-member FIFA Council. The ninth was left vacant in July when long-time Spanish soccer leader Angel Maria Villar resigned as a vice president of FIFA and UEFA after being arrested in a corruption investigation.
Villar was detained along with three other soccer officials, including his son, on charges of improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents.
Interim replacements for Villar were to be confirmed later Wednesday at a meeting of the UEFA executive committee.