Stoke City’s 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday was a huge result for both sides, and for Stoke coach Tony Pulis many are predicting he has taken the club as far as he can now.
Pulis has been in charge of The Potters since 2006, and has worked wonders in turning them from a lower division team into a respected Premier League side. They are famed for their aggressive, cynical approach to games-including hard tackling and time-wasting- but in an era where possession soccer and intricate passing is the key, Pulis’ choice of tactics are loathed by many, and even the Stoke fans appear to be losing patience now.
It appears that those fans could just about accept their team’s unflattering style while they sat comfortably in the middle of the Premier League rankings, but now that there is a genuine threat of relegation, Pulis is being criticised hugely. Many believe the side has lost its edge and that a tactical shake-up is needed.
Many of Pulis’ haters feel that rather than use offensive flair players like Michael Kightly and Jermaine Pennant he opts with more efficient, less talented guys like Jonathan Walters and Glenn Whelan instead. This has led to some of the most negative away performances in living memory, with Stoke constantly playing for 0-0 draws. Some Stoke fans are even considering boycotting away games, rather than spend their hard-earned money on seeing boring soccer.
Tony Pulis’ future is likely to hang on whether or not he keeps his Stoke City side in the Premier League for next season, but for the good of the English game it’s time he took his negative brand of soccer to the lower divisions where it belongs.
He deserves credit for what he has achieved, but he’s reached the end of the line in terms of Premier League management.
LIMA, Peru (AP) Peru has extradited the country’s former soccer boss to the United States for his alleged involvement in a multibillion-dollar FIFA bribery scandal involving marketing and broadcasting rights.
Manuel Burga was sent to New York on a commercial flight before dawn on Friday.
He has been in jail since December 2015 as part of the investigation. Peru’s Supreme Court in June cleared the way for his extradition and President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski signed a decree authorizing the move a week ago.
Burga oversaw Peru’s football federation for more than a decade until 2014. He has denied any wrongdoing.
While the battle for MLS Cup 2016 has been dwindled down to two sides, the rest of the league continues to make roster transactions in preparation for next season.
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The San Jose Earthquakes announced on Friday that the club has exercised options on six players, including goalkeeper David Bingham, Fatai Alashe, Kip Colvey and Victor Bernardez.
Additionally, the Earthquakes have released nine players, including U.S. Men’s National Team defender Clarence Goodson, Marc Pelosi and Tommy Thompson, however, the latter two are reportedly in talks to return to the club in 2017.
NAPLES, Italy (AP) Napoli eased to a 3-0 win over Inter Milan in Serie A on Friday, with two goals in the opening five minutes.
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The home side got off to a lightning start as, following a wonderful team move, Jose Callejon headed back Marek Hamsik’s chipped pass for Piotr Zielinski to volley into the bottom left corner.
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Zielinski turned provider moments later as Hamsik beat the offside trap to run onto his pass and fire into the bottom right corner.
It was Hamsik’s 104th goal for Napoli, moving him level with Edinson Cavani in third in the clubs’ goalscoring charts. The Slovakia forward needs 11 more to equal Diego Maradona’s record.
Inter started the second half aggressively but hopes of getting back into the match were scuppered six minutes after the restart when Lorenzo Insigne netted his fourth goal in three league matches after visiting goalkeeper Samir Handanovic only flapped at a corner.
Napoli moved level on points with Atalanta, which visits league leader Juventus on Saturday, and fourth-placed Lazio, which hosts Roma in the capital derby on Sunday.
Inter, which beat Fiorentina 4-2 on Monday for its first win under coach Stefano Pioli, remained eighth ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.
On a day where Atlanta United added another young talent, the 2017 MLS expansion side could be preparing to make a major splash for a South American playmaker.
According to numerous Argentine media outlets, Atlanta is closing in on signing Paraguay international Miguel Almiron for an MLS-record fee of $13 million from Lanus at the end of 2016.
Almiron, 22, has scored three goals in 34 appearances for Lanus since joining the Argentine club in 2015. The young winger began his professional career back in 2013 with Cerro Porteno, where Almiron also played for the club’s youth academy.
On the international stage, Almiron has already earned seven caps for Paraguay after previously representing the nation’s Under-17 and U-20 national teams.