Premier League team of the season

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There have many great performers in this season’s Premier League, but as it reaches its climax, who makes the cut in the best team of the season?

GOALKEEPER- BRAD GUZAN (Aston Villa)

The American international has been great for a struggling Villa side. Without his influence in goal there is every chance they would already be relegated. His form will be crucial from now until the end of the season.

RIGHT-BACK- PABLO ZABALETA (Man City)

In a season where many of his teammates have struggled for form, the Argentinian has been brilliant. His passion and hunger to win makes him very likeable, and he’s great both defensively and offensively.

CENTRE-BACK- PHIL JAGIELKA (Everton)

The England international has been a rock at the heart of the Everton defence all season long. His form has earned him a regular place in the England side, and on current form he is one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

CENTRE-BACK- JAN VERTONGHEN- (Tottenham)

Signed from Ajax at the start of the season, the Belgium international has been a revelation at White Hart Lane. Strong in the air but also classy on the ball, he’s been a great addition to both his club and the Premier League.

LEFT-BACK-LEIGHTON BAINES- (Everton)

Is he now England’s first-choice left-back ahead of Ashley Cole? He’s certainly getting very close now. Baines has been consistently excellent, and has created more chances than any other player in Europe this season. That’s how good he’s been. His crossing and set piece deliveries, in particular, are awesome.

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CENTRE MIDFIELD- MICHAEL CARRICK- (Man Utd)

This has been Carrick’s standout season at Old Trafford. He has been United’s most reliable, and possibly most important, player. The 31-year-old has played the holding midfield role to perfection: starting moves, showing great positional sense and displaying expert defensive qualities. Underrated by many.

CENTRE MIDFIELD- MAROUANE FELLAINI- (Everton)

Although his form has dipped slightly in the latter part of the season, with injuries affecting him slightly, the 25-year-old has been Everton’s key player along with Baines this season. A menace in the air but also a brilliant technique for a guy of his size, he tormented United on the opening day and was superb from that point on.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD- JUAN MATA- (Chelsea) 

The Spaniard has been a joy to watch. At times he has carried Chelsea, and his wonderful creativity and cultured left foot make him one of the most talented players in the league. He also has more steel to his game than some of his fellow countryman, which is essential in such a physical league.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD- GARETH BALE- (Spurs)

Bale has been incredible, particularly in 2013. His game has gone up a level, and he is now reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo when he was Bale’s age. When he runs with the ball at pace he is unstoppable, and he has now also added many goals and assists to his game. The best British winger since Ryan Giggs, the Welshman is favourite to win Player of the Year.

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STRIKER- LUIS SUAREZ- (Liverpool)

The most talented player in the Premier League? Quite possibly. Sadly his personality sometimes takes the focus away from his genius, but if you judge his displays this season purely on football then he has been unplayable. His never-say-die attitude is combined with amazing dribbling, great skill and measured finishing, and he is currently the Premier League’s top scorer with 22 goals this season. Liverpool have to keep him in the summer, but if he does leave it will be for an astronomical amount of money.

STRIKER- ROBIN VAN PERSIE- (Man Utd)

The best player in the league up until Christmas, the 29-year-old has had an incredible first season at Old Trafford. He can do pretty much everything as a striker and is one of the most dangerous players in the world. Crucial goals against Liverpool, City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs show he really is the man for the big occasion too.

Who would you have in you side?

Top Storylines for Premier League Week 6

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After a week of League Cup action domestically, the Premier League returns this weekend with a myriad of interesting matchups and storylines.

Let’s take a look at some of this week’s top story’s to follow:


Can Manchester City continue its torrid form?

Manchester City has finally found its groove under manager Pep Guardiola.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The club has won five successive games, the last three coming on the road while scoring a combined 19 goals. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are a terrific 1-2 punch while David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have been stars in midfield, with De Bruyne pulling the strings for Man City all season.

There’s every likelihood that Man City will continue its impressive run on Saturday. The club hosts floundering Crystal Palace, which is still adjusting to new manager Roy Hodgson.

(more…)

On This Day: The Battle of Old Trafford

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Fourteen years ago today, Arsenal headed north to Manchester for a famous matchup with Manchester United.

Taking the field at Old Trafford, Arsenal were unbeaten to start the season, having won its first four Premier League matches before drawing a week prior at home against Portsmouth. Manchester United meanwhile had four wins and one loss in that span.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

By way of Arsenal’s FA Cup title and Man United’s Premier League title the year before, the two teams met for the annual Community Shield a month earlier, and the game descended into a physical battle. Five yellow cards were shown, Arsenal substitute Francis Jeffers was shown a red card and defender Sol Campbell was later banned for kicking at an opponent, and Man United – backed by a young Tim Howard in goal – won 4-3 on penalty kicks after the score was tied at 1-1 after extra time.

With numerous physical encounters over the years, the September 21 encounter was shaping up to be another monumental showdown, and in terms of physicality, it didn’t disappoint.

Each team were shown four yellow cards and there was a combined 31 fouls. The match took a turn when Patrick Vieira was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red card for kicking out at Man United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy after Van Nistelrooy had fouled Vieira going for a header. The decision set off a scrum in the middle of the field.

Despite being down to ten men, Arsenal held on until the final minutes, when Martin Keown was whistled for a foul in the box on Diego Forlan, giving Man United a penalty kick. But whether it was karma or lady luck, Van Nistelrooy’s penalty clanged off the crossbar and away to safety. Arsenal held on for a goalless draw, which helped boost the team’s belief in itself.

The Gunners went on to finish the 2013-2014 season undefeated, the only team to finish a Premier League season without a defeat. Man United wound up taking the FA Cup crown, settling for third place in the Premier League.

Watch some highlights from the match below.

Former Sunderland forward Scocco scores five goals for River Plate

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Veteran forward Ignacio “Nacho” Scocco is quickly endearing himself to the River Plate faithful.

Nearly three months since joining River, Scocco scored an incredible five goals in the second leg of his team’s Copa Libertadores quarterfinal matchup with Bolivian side Jorge Wilstermann. Scocco scored a first half hat-trick and added two more in the second half as River turned around a 3-0 deficit heading into the second leg.

Scocco had a mostly frustrating spell in 2014 ahead of the World Cup with Sunderland, joining the club as they staved off relegation by one point. Scocco failed to score for Sunderland in eight appearances, all off the bench.

However, since then, he returned to his native Argentina and starred for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys before moving this summer to River as a replacement for Sebastián Driussi, who completed a transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Here’s a look at all of Scocco’s goals Thursday evening.

Tammy Abraham denies switching national teams

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Fans of the England National Team may still have a chance to see Tammy Abraham don the Three Lions crest one day.

Abraham refuted reports from earlier Thursday that he was in the process of switching his national team to Nigeria from England. The 19-year-old Swansea City forward on-loan from Chelsea has played as high as the England Under-21 Men’s National Team but because of his Nigerian father, he’s eligible for the African nation.

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Abraham confirmed that he had met with Nigeria Football Federation chief Amaju Pinnick after Swansea’s last game, but denied that he was looking to play for the Super Eagles.

“I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England,” Abraham said, via the BBC. “Contrary to reports in the media I would like to clarify that I have not agreed to switch my national team allegiance. I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father. However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark.”

Earlier in the day, reports emerged that Pinnick said the process was underway for Abraham to switch his international allegiance.

Abraham’s apparently decision to remain with the England set-up is good news for his club Swansea City, who will get to keep him closer to Wales on a regular basis, but Abraham may be missing a chance to play senior national team soccer at a young age.