Glasgow Celtic claimed their second straight Scottish Premier League title on Sunday when the Hoops pummeled Inverness 4-1 at Celtic Park.
After a goalless first half Celtic scored three times in a twelve minute span to ignite the victory. Striker Gary Hooper got things started in the 61st minute when he received the ball from Kris Commons and held off Graeme Shinnie before firing low past a diving Antonio Reguero from 12 yards. Five minutes later Mikael Lustig overlapped Joe Ledley and sent a return pass to the Welsh International who guided the ball into the far corner.
In the 73rd minute it was Hooper again, this time scoring his 28th of the season, on a cheeky flick from Commons’ hard-hit cross. Celtic got their fourth from Greek striker Georgios Samaras, who’s brilliant solo effort in the 88th minute crashed off the bar and in from a tight angle. Inverness would get one back four minutes later through Aaron Doran but it was little consolation for Terry Butcher’s side as the celebrations exploded in Parkhead.
Neil Lennon made one change to his Celtic side, inserting Anthony Stokes for Emilio Izaguirre after Stokes scored the game winner in last week’s 4-3 victory over Dundee United in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. Celtic will look to do the domestic double next month when it takes on Hibernian at Hampden in the William Hill Scottish Cup final. Raising the cup would be the cherry on top of yet another memorable season, which included a sensational run to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Once the celebrations die down, however, this summer could see drastic changes to the green side of Glasgow. Hooper and Victor Wanyama will once again become targets of clubs across England and the continent. Hooper has long been linked with a move to Tottenham, Norwich City or Southampton whereas Wanyama has a wide variety of suitors including Manchester United, Arsenal and even Barcelona.
The biggest loss, however, would be if Lennon decided to move on. The Celtic manager earned high praise for his European success and will be faced the decision of whether to stay in Scotland and develop Celtic’s young, talented players like James Forrest and Adam Matthews, or to tread a new path that could provide him with a bigger, more competitive and reliable stage to display his managerial talents.
LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer
Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.
Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).
Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).
While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.
Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:
The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.
“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”
Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.
Paul Arriola’s motor was constantly running as the United States men’s national team claimed its sixth Gold Cup title, and it could drive him all the way from Club Tijuana to Europe or a prime spot on an MLS roster.
Arriola is reportedly wanted by Real Salt Lake and clubs in both the Netherlands and Portugal, but the LA Galaxy has what Goal.com describes a “dubious homegrown player” claim on Arriola, who participated in a minimal of practices with the Galaxy when he was younger.
As you’ll see below, there isn’t much “homegrown” about it and, to its critics, it ispeak MLS monopolized tomfoolery. Here’s how Goal describes it:
“He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.
“The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy’s current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola.”
But… here’s how the Galaxy described his choosing to sign for TJ instead of a pro deal from LA in 2013:
Did Arriola spent significant time with LA, or is it possible the Galaxy might reap rewards from having an already established youth national teamer to practice when he was a kid? Whether you’re okay with that or not, consider that it encourages clubs to pilfer rights without actually registering or training the player.
Not to mention there is no guarantee that playing in the Netherlands or Portugal will be better for his development than MLS. Benfica or Ajax and potential action in European tournaments? Maybe. NAC Breda or Tondela? Maybe not.
Nevermind the quagmire that is American youth soccer clubs’ not earning money from transfer fees, the Arriola drama seems baseless. We don’t know the Galaxy will hold the player hostage, but they would actually be depriving MLS of a talent, as LA would theoretically get nothing should TJ sell him to a European club.
In any event, check out Arriola’s use chart from Tijuana and you’ll see why he’s valued by Bruce Arena as well as his suitors. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. Here’s hoping Tinseltown doesn’t stop him from a proper next step (assuming he’s ready to leave Liga MX).