More English Premier League kits revealed

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It is that time of the year, the new jerseys are rolling out and boy we have some contenders for the prettiest and ugliest kits the English Premier League has ever seen.

With new shirt sponsors chosen and kit suppliers busy throughout the summer, EPL sides have been releasing new merchandise in their droves.

Some of the designs have caused considerable debate, particularly Liverpool’s away jersey and Southampton’s severe lack of red and white stripes.

However, we know that fans across the globe will be flocking to their nearest store or shopping online to pick up the latest edition of their favorite team’s jersey.

Not every EPL teams has a new kit. But the overwhelming majority do. Here’s a roundup of the new shirts and a few photos to go along with it.

I just want to point out, I am no fashion expert. Oh no. But I do know what I like in soccer jersey’s and a few of these are questionable, at best.

Let us know which shirts you like or despise, in the comments below.

Aston Villa

Villa’s home shirt is great, no qualms about that. But the away kit… someone get me a bucket, quick. It is horrendous. Huge squares of some claret color stuck onto a white jersey, then the sponsor is just huge and well, as you can tell I’m not impressed.

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Aston Villa’s away jersey looks like patchwork gone wrong.

Cardiff City

Cardiff’s Malaysian owners caused a huge fuss last season when they switched the team’s home colors to red and re-designed the clubs logo. The Bluebirds latest kit for their first-ever season in the EPL isn’t the greatest. A weird round-neck collar and dodgy shorts say it all. But hopefully on the field they will exceed expectations, just like last season.

Chelsea

Chelsea’s ad campaign for these new ‘true blue’ adidas shirts was quite bizarre, blue paint and half naked soccer players were everywhere. But this shirt is sleek and tidy, with the away shirt looking fresh in white.

Crystal Palace

Palace’s new shirts have been out for quite some time. On May 7 before promotion they released these kits and it sticks true to the roots. A new badge is also really smart, with the eagle coming to life on the logo. Make sure to check that out.

Everton

Lovely shirt. Honestly, it is a real stunner. Great collar, the white stripes on the arms look fantastic and just a classic Everton jersey. However the re-designed badge is causing a lot of fuss up on Merseyside. A new “modern” look to Everton’s famous logo has not gone down well. At all.

Hull City

Simple away shirt design for Hull, as they’ve released their new adidas shirt with a bright blue and red panel. Simple.

Liverpool

Well, well, well. What do we have here. Honestly, it looks like a game of Tetris is going on across the bottom half of Liverpool’s new away shirts. American company Warrior have certainly pushed the boundary here. Bold. But not quite sure if it’s beautiful.

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Gerrard doesn’t look impressed with the new away shirt. Rightly so.

Manchester City

Light blue and simple, City switched suppliers to Nike in a huge deal. Really like the simplicity of this shirt and a lovely shade of dark blue/black is appaently featured on the away kit too.

Manchester United

Most United fans will be pleased to see a collar return to the Red Devils home shirt. Not since the days of Eric Cantona have we seen a player properly flick up the collar and nutmeg someone with outrageous panache. Maybe Robin van Persie can pop the collar next season?

Newcastle United

Newcastle United’s shirt sponsors have been the main talking point this summer. Papis Demba Cisse has claimed he won’t wear any shirt with “Wonga.com” emblazoned across it, due to his religious believes about the money lending company. Plenty of other Newcastle players have supported him. Oh dear. Their new blue away kit looks okay though.

Norwich City

The Canaries launched their new home shirt at the end of last season, wearing it during their superb 3-2 away win over Manchester City. You get what you expect, lashing of yellow and green. Standard.

Southampton

There has been a considerable uprising against Southampton’s latest shirt. As you can see below, the traditional red and white stripes have completely disappeared. Last season’s shirt was red with small white pinstripes… So the gradual easing out of tradition hasn’t gone done well with Saints fans. Personally I think the Liverpool-esque design is quite snazzy.

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Saints fans are disappointed that the famous red and white stripes have vanished. Rickie Lambert looks very dapper though.

Stoke City

Electric yellow and dark gray aren’t a combination you see often. But Stoke have that in their away shirt for next season. Let’s hope it ‘sparks’ more victories on the road Mark Hughes side, as the Potters won just twice away from the Britannia in 2012-13.

Sunderland

Sunderland fans out there, I would love to hear your opinion on this away kit. Quite frankly, it has to be one of the worst EPL shirts I’ve seen. The gaudy bright yellow color will certainly see the Black Cats stand out. This will look at home amongst the fluorescent jackets on a building site.

Swansea City

What you would expect from Swansea. Fresh and to the point with a plain white home kit with black undertones. The away kit is okay, blue and yellow never did any harm. But those huge sponsor logo’s on the front of the shirt need to be toned down.

West Bromwich Albion

Red and black stripes and a tasteful sponsor, West Brom fans will enjoy this retro away jersey which has been pulled back from the vaults. Just a great kit.

West Ham United

Another case of some old, same old. West Ham wear claret and blue. The home and away kits are a combination of claret and blue. Simple. Effective. Carry on.

Who’s to blame? A closer look at Chelsea’s blunder late vs. Barcelona

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As our very own Joe Prince-Wright explained yesterday in the aftermath of Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the Champions League Round of 16, Antonio Conte could not have set his team up better for success at Stamford Bridge.

And yet, they walked away from the first leg with a disappointing result, one that could set up Barcelona with the advantage as they head to the Camp Nou in two weeks time.

So where did it all go wrong? That pass from Andreas Christensen, obviously – the one that gifted Lionel Messi a late goal. But is Christensen to blame? Or were there other culprits?

Clearly, the pass was ill-advised. Christensen sends the ball across his own box parallel to the goal mouth, which Andreas Iniesta easily pilfers and sends to Messi for his first goal against Chelsea. It was a pass they teach 7-year-olds not to make, one that even the youngest of dedicated soccer players knows to avoid.

Christensen makes an easy target, given that he is just 21 years old, has only just recently earned his way into the Blues starting lineup, and was the most obvious culprit having made the fateful pass.

However, upon closer inspection, it may not have even been meant to reach the far side of the field.

Christensen’s exasperated reaction suggests the pass was likely intended for Cesc Fabregas who sat at the top of the box under little pressure. Christensen was closed down on the far touchline with little room to operate, and his outlet to Fabregas in the middle of the field was a good option, even if the general idea of a pass in that direction is usually frowned upon. However, Christensen’s pass was just slightly behind Fabregas, and the Spaniard ultimately decided to let the ball go instead of chasing it down, leaving it for a less populated area of the field.

Unfortunately, with his back turned to the eventual destination of the pass, Fabregas was unaware that Iniesta had anticipated its flight path and was already making a run to steal the ball. When the veteran Barcelona midfielder reached the ball, he was challenged by a sliding Cesar Azpilicueta, who completely whiffed. While Christensen and Fabregas were culpable of putting the team in a dangerous situation, Azpilicueta’s tackle was an abomination. Azpilicueta actually reached the ball first, but inexplicably failed to make contact with the ball, allowing Iniesta to easily evade the slide and still take charge of the ball.

Andreas Christensen is the clear perpetrator, but Fabregas and Azpilicueta both contributed negatively to the situation, leaving Chelsea at a slight disadvantage heading into a hostile environment despite Antonio Conte’s best efforts. Sadly, Conte will be the one to shoulder the accountability at the end of the season if Chelsea goes out of the Champions League, even though he received top marks for the match, and his players let him down.

Mata seems to confirm Champions League is Man United’s priority

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With the Premier League title all but wrapped up, English top flight teams are beginning to put their true focus onto competitions they still have a realistic shot of winning.

Manchester United sits in second place in the Premier League table, but they are a full 18 points back of rivals Manchester City, as so with a Champions League match against Sevilla on Wednesday afternoon, Juan Mata all but confirmed that the Red Devils are putting their main efforts into Europe’s largest competition.

[ MORE: Messi pegs back Chelsea despite winning tactics ]

“If we had less of a gap with respect to the Premier League leaders and we had a chance to fight for it, it wouldn’t be so tough to be eliminated from the Champions League, but now our aim is to progress from every round,” Mata said to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser. “It would be a big blow to be eliminated in the last 16.”

Last season, a similar story played out. Manchester United was out of reach of a top four finish in the league, so manager Jose Mourinho publicly admitted they were putting their main focus on the Europa League due to the automatic berth the competition’s winner received into next year’s Champions League. The gamble paid off, as Manchester United won the competition and earned their spot in the Champions League this season.

Sevilla has not progressed past the Round of 16 since 1958. Manchester United, meanwhile, has not made it past the Champions League quarterfinals since their runners-up finish in 2011, when they lost to Barcelona in the finals at Wembley Stadium.

Wenger confirms Ospina will start pair while Ozil, Ramsey miss out

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Arsene Wenger confirmed in his pre-match press conference that goalkeeper Petr Cech will get an extended rest with a pair of Cup games on the horizon for Arsenal.

In his place, David Ospina will start both Thursday’s Europa League Round of 32 match against Ostersund and Sunday’s EFL Cup Final against Manchester City. Ospina is no stranger to this type of rotation, with the Colombian owning just 30 starts over the last three seasons in national and international Cup competitions compared to just seven Premier League appearances.

In addition, Wenger also confirmed that Mesut Ozil will miss out for Thursday’s match due to illness, but is expected back for Sunday’s EFL Cup final. Arsenal has a 3-0 lead over Swedish club Ostersund after the first leg, with the second leg to be played at the Emirates.

Wenger said Aaron Ramsey is back in training, and while he will not be risked in the Europa League match in his return from a groin injury that saw him miss the North London derby loss, he could be in contention to play against Manchester City. [Ramsey] is not in the squad tomorrow, he had a good training session. We will see how his evolution goes between now and Sunday. I don’t rule him out.”

Ramsey scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 win over Everton in early February, but has played just 181 minutes since picking up a hamstring injury in mid-December.

Finally, Wenger said that Danny Welbeck and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will both receive starting spots against Ostersund, as will some unnamed youth products. Welbeck has been out of Premier League action since mid-January, stuck behind Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but he received four minutes off the bench in the North London derby and will get another opportunity in the Europa League to prove his worth.

Conte admits job security speculation will always exist at Chelsea

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Antonio Conte admits that he will always face speculation about his tenure as manager while he is employed at Chelsea, but dismissed it as “no problem for me.”

There is a general acceptance that Conte will part ways with Chelsea at the end of the season given the tough times the club has seen this campaign. The Blues are hanging on to a Champions League place by a thread, and struggled through a January that included just two wins across all competitions in six matches.

“I’ve said it very clearly: I’ve got a contract until 2019 and I intend to respect this, but you know anything can happen in football,” Conte told Italian publication Mediaset. “It takes two to be happy and continue a marriage. Our work is unique because we’ve always got our suitcase in our hands.”

Conte did issue somewhat of a warning to Chelsea, however, that if he were to be fired, it could come back to haunt the club, as he would have no shortage of offers. “My intention is to respect my contract, but if something were to happen, it would open up different scenarios.” Big clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid could have job openings this summer if their lofty goals aren’t met, and those places would be attractive destinations for Conte, who won the Premier League title with Chelsea just last year.

“It’s a bit the history of Chelsea and inevitable when, in the past, in 14 years, 10 coaches have been changed,” he said. “Clearly when there is this habit, let’s say, the press play on it and as soon as there is a result or two which don’t go your way, they try to put the pressure on.

“But it’s no problem for me. I hope that this pressure doesn’t harm the players, not me, because I go looking for pressure.”