Premier League Player of the Week (Week 2) – Cardiff City’s Fraizer Campbell

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The Premier League Player of the Week for Week 2 is Cardiff City’s Fraizer Campbell.

Campbell’s brace came in a nine minute span in the second half, with both goals the result of hard-work, determination and the dusting of Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta. While the pay-dirt came late, the danger that Campbell presented was writing that had been on the wall for most of the match.

The 25 year spent the first half chasing down loose balls and wracking Joe Hart’s nerves with a few good looks on target. In the second stanza Campbell continued to display a third lung as he hunted down defenders, worked himself back on defense and was a constant menace in the box.

In the 60th minute it was Campbell’s creative abilities that allowed Aron Gunnarsson to level before winning the match on two headers off of corners in the 79th and 87th minutes. When he was subbed off the field in the 93rd minute, Campbell was deservedly showered with a standing ovation from the Cardiff City faithful.

For Campbell, the adulation had been a long time coming. The Manchester United academy product made only two appearances for the Red Devils before loan spells at Royal Antwerp, Hull City and Tottenham saw him transfer to Sunderland in 2009. It was in Wearside where Campbell’s career took a turn for the worse as he twice blew out his knee, requiring surgery.

Last January he made his move to Cardiff City, who paid the Black Cats a measly transfer fee of $930,000 (£600k). With Sunday’s brace, Campbell has bagged 9 goals in 14 matches with the Bluebirds.

Report: Man City, Guardiola to discuss new contract this summer

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Manchester City does not want to let Pep Guardiola start the third year with the club without signing on for longer term.

Guardiola enters the third and final year of his deal in August, and the BBC reports that Man City plans to negotiate a new deal with the Catalan wizard this summer.

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This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given City’s outstanding sophomore season under Guardiola.

Unbeaten City has an 11-point lead on the Premier League table after 18 weeks, with one draw and a PL record 16-straight wins. They have 56 goals scored, conceding just 12.

They’ve won five of six UEFA Champions League matches, only losing a match their opposition needed and they did not, 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. City faces Basel next, and visits Leicester City in the League Cup quarterfinals Wednesday.

Lanzini charged by FA for fooling ref with dive

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Manuel Lanzini dove to earn a penalty in West Ham’s 3-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday at the bet365 Stadium, and he may pay for it.

Lanzini, who also posted an assist in an influential performance, drew the penalty converted by Mark Noble when he hit the deck under minimal contact from Erik Pieters.

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He could miss two matches for “successful deception of a match official,” the same penalty given to Everton’s Oumar Niasse for a similar offense.

West Ham pulled out of the drop zone with the win, but has three bottom-half battles coming up over the festive fixtures: Saturday versus Newcastle, Dec. 26 at Bournemouth, and Jan. 2 versus West Brom.

Griezmann backtracks over ‘insensitive’ blackface tweet

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MADRID (AP) Soccer star Antoine Griezmann has apologized for any offense caused after posting an image of himself on social media in blackface as part of an NBA party costume on Sunday.

Griezmann, who is white, was also wearing a wig and holding a basketball in the photo which had “NBA 69 ALLSTARS” on the jersey.

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The photo on his official Twitter account was accompanied by the message “80’s Party” followed by basketball and laughing emojis.

One response called the photo a “bad idea” with others urging the France forward to delete the tweet.

Griezmann at first reacted to the criticism by tweeting: “Calm down friends, I’m a fan of the Harlem Globetrotters and of this great era… It’s a tribute.”

He later tweeted an apology to those he had offended.

“I recognize that’s it’s insensitive on my part. If I offended some people I’m sorry,” he wrote.

The 26-year-old Griezmann plays for Spanish team Atletico Madrid but has been linked to a move to Barcelona.

Alex Morgan named CONCACAF Female POY, Navas wins Male POY

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CONCACAF awarded some of its finest players and coaches on Sunday night, and two familiar faces took home the evening’s most notable awards.

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U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) and Keylor Navas of Costa Rica and Real Madrid each earned Female and Male Player of the Year honors, after boasting tremendous 2017 seasons.

Morgan who primarily plays for Orlando in the NWSL, was also a member of Lyon, who went on to win the Women’s Champions League this past season.

Navas, on the other hand, played a key role in Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League run, as well as Los Blancos’ La Liga title.

For Morgan, the award is her third since CONCACAF began handing out its annual awards in 2013. Meanwhile, Navas has now won Male Player of the Year on two occasions.