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Premier League Week 2 Team of the Week (Video)

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It was another exciting week in the Barclays Premier League with plenty of twists and turns.

Manchester City, who looked so good last Monday against Newcastle, lost at new-boys Cardiff City. An undermanned Arsenal side bounced back from last week’s devastation to defeat Fulham. And two teams that everyone thought would impress, Manchester United and Chelsea, did anything but that in yesterday’s nil-nil draw.

At the end of it all, Chelsea remains atop the standings with seven points with Liverpool and Spurs both hot on the Blues’ tail at six points each and a game in hand.

Here is the Team of the Week for Week 2 of the Premier League.

Goalkeeper – Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion)

Ben Foster was sublime during Saturday’s goalless draw at Everton. The West Brom net-minder recorded eight saves in the effort, including a face-busting parry on Marouane Fellaini from two yards out. The Baggies could struggle going forward, however, as Foster suffered a foot injury in the 78th minute that will keep him sidelined for the next 12 weeks.

Defender – Kolo Toure (Liverpool)

Manchester City must be reeling at having let Kolo Toure go in the off-season. In his two matches at Liverpool Toure has looked every bit a lock down defender, boasting two clean sheets. Last weekend he put the clamps on Villa striker Christian Benteke, who entered the match with three goals in two league contests.

Defender – Jose Fonte (Southampton)

After securing his side a clean sheet in Week 1’s victory over Sunderland, Jose Fonte was at it again last Saturday, securing a draw for the Saints with an 88th minute header.

Defender – John Terry (Chelsea)

After an injury riddled 2012-13 campaign John Terry has come out of the gates this season looking young and sprightly. Against Manchester United he was the highlight player for Chelsea in an otherwise drab match, recording 11 interceptions and winning 5 aerial duels to preserve a point for the Blues.

Midfielder – Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur)

After 9 loan spells in his first four seasons at Tottenham, Andros Townsend looked like a man marked for departure. But Townsend earned a start in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Swansea City and made the most of it, terrorizing the right wing and drawing the penalty that resulted in Spurs’ game-winning goal. The display impressed many, including England manager Roy Hodgson, who called Townsend into the senior squad for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against Moldova and the Ukraine.

Midfielder – Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)

From the looks of it, Aaron Ramsey has finally arrived for Arsenal. The midfielder has been fantastic in both of Arsenal’s Premier League matches as well as their Champions League triumph over Fenerbahce.  Against Fulham, Ramsey was the best player on the field, orchestrating the Gunners to the 3-1 victory.

Midfielder – Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) 

Aron Gunnarsson was a hellion in the Cardiff City midfield on Sunday. With his box-to-box movement and defensive hunt, Gunnarsson frustrated the City attack while coming up with his biggest achievement to date, netting the Bluebirds first Premier League goal.

Midfielder – Sone Aluko (Hull City)

Sone Aluko was key to Hull City’s 1-0 victory over Norwich City on Saturday, chasing down defenders and providing a creative spark for the Tigers going forward. After Yannick Sagbo was sent off, Aluko continued to give the Canary defense headaches, helping to secure his side’s first Premier League victory.

Forward – Frazier Campbell (Cardiff City)

Frazier Campbell was sensational in Cardiff City’s 3-2 triumph over Manchester City. The former Manchester United striker scored twice in the second half and embarrassed world-class defender Pablo Zabaleta while doing so. As to the $930,000 (£600k) transfer fee that Cardiff paid Sunderland for Campbell last January? Yeah, that’s looking like a pretty savvy investment.

Forward – Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

For the second consecutive week Daniel Sturridge made Liverpool fans forget about Luis Suarez as the Englishman bagged the winner in a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa. Sturridge’s goal was one of pure class, dragging the ball across Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan and defender Antonio Luna before cleverly toe-poking into the roof of the net.

Forward – Lukas Podolski (Arsenal)

After being relegated to a substitute role against Aston Villa in Week 1, rumors began to circulate that the German forward may be on his way out of North London. But after his brace against Fulham suddenly those voices have quieted and everyone around Arsenal is keen on one thing – keeping Podolski happy. Funny how that works.

Honorable Mention – GK Allan McGregor; D James Chester (Hull City); D Billy Jones (West Bromwich Albion); D James Collison (West Ham United); Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur); M Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur); M Etienne Capoue (Tottenham Hotspur); M Charlie Adam (Stoke City); M Theo Walcott (Arsenal); M Santi Cazorla (Arsenal); F Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

MLS Cup: Toronto FC all about the team

Toronto FC defender Nick Hagglund, center, celebrates his goal against the Montreal Impact with teammates Michael Bradley, right, and Steven Beitashour (33) during the second half of the second leg of MLS Eastern Conference championship series, in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Toronto, Ontario (AP) Team has been the theme for Toronto FC in the buildup to the MLS Cup final.

From boisterous practices to team-first media interviews, the All for One club motto has been plain to see ahead of the championship game Saturday against the visiting Seattle Sounders.

“You don’t get to this point by mistake or by accident. You get here because a group of special guys who have all bought into a philosophy, an identity,” said Toronto midfielder Will Johnson, an MLS Cup winner with Real Salt Lake and Portland.

“I say the same about Seattle. They’re bought into what they’re good at. We’re bought in, very motivated and want to sacrifice and put aside egos to get to a point as a team to compete for the big trophy.”

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

Star striker Jozy Altidore, no fan of chatting with the media, was downright prickly when a reporter asked him if he had taken time to reflect on his personal journey to the championship game.

“No,” he said definitively. “This isn’t personal, this is a team game. We’re here to try to help Toronto to be a winning team. This has nothing to do with individuals. So it has nothing to do with what I’ve been through. This is what the city’s been through, what the fans have been through, what this club has been through. That’s far more important.”

Fullback Justin Morrow, a seven-year MLS veteran, has never played this deep into the season before.

“Each week we build on top of each other and we get closer as the year goes on. It really feels like it’s a culmination this week,” he said.

[ UCL: Who can Arsenal, Man City, Leicester draw? ]

Coach Greg Vanney has made a point of praising the entire squad, including reserves who function as the scout team in practice. While he has done soccer’s equivalent of shortening his bench for the playoffs, the squad has stayed on point. If anyone has beefs, they have been kept to themselves.

That’s no small feat considering the salaries on the squad range from $7.12 million for star striker Sebastian Giovinco to $51,500 for youngsters Mo Babouli and Tsubasa Endoh.

For Morrow, being part of a tight-knit group allows you to forget that it is your job.

“When teams aren’t doing well, players tend to focus on that – their job and not about the other people on the team,” Morrow said. “And I think when teams are doing well, it becomes about the relationships between the players.”

Report: Atlanta United to acquire Parkhurst; Guardado hopes fading

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 12:  Michael Parkhurst #4 of the Columbus Crew SC controls the ball against against the Philadelphia Union on March 12, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Atlanta United is adding MLS experience to its high-flying international acquisitions.

The expansion side is set to acquire Michael Parkhurst from the Columbus Crew, according to a report from The Sporting News.

[ MORE: Mourinho worried about Zorya pitch ]

Parkhurst, 32, has been a fixture for the Crew since returning to MLS after stints with Nordsjælland and FC Augsburg. The 25-times capped American defender would join a relatively loaded expansion unit that reportedly will also add veteran Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, it seems the first-year club’s hopes of landing Mexican star Andres Guardado are fading.

From Ives Galarcep for The Sporting News:

The club has one remaining designated player slot it is expected to fill ahead of its inaugural 2017 season, but transfer target Andres Guardado appears less likely to be the player to fill that slot, sources have told Goal USA.

The Crew was a massive disappointment last season, failing to make the playoffs one season after making a run to the MLS Cup Final. Is Parkhurst a good gamble for Atlanta?

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Men in Blazers podcast: Conte v. Pep, Cherries comeback, Spurs-Swans

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Rog and Davo relive the tactical battle between Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola, marvel at tiny Bournemouth’s comeback win over high-flying Liverpool and duck-and-cover while recapping Spurs 5-0 Swansea.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Mourinho accepts Zorya compliment, but says best coach “doesn’t exist”

Manchester United's coach Jose Mourinho, centre, attends a training session with his team at Chernomorets stadium in Odessa, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, ahead of Thursday's Europa League group A soccer match against FC Zorya Luhansk. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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On the eve of his side playing Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League, Zorya Luhansk boss Yuriy Vernydub called counterpart Jose Mourinho the best manager in the world.

And Mourinho disagreed.

Well, in principle.

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

The Portuguese was flattered by Vernydub’s compliments and isn’t one to turn down praise. Yet at the same time, Mourinho thinks a coach’s success is year-to-year. There’s no clear best in the sport, according to Mou.

From ManUtd.com:

“He was nice by saying that but I don’t think he is right. I don’t think there is a best coach in the world. It doesn’t exist in my opinion. Every season one has to win the FIFA Gold Ball but I don’t think there is the best. You can say the best of the year and that I agree. Every year there is one with the most important result. So he is just being nice, no more than that.”

That’s almost meta, Mou.

Conceptually we understand, and Mourinho would feel he was the best in the world three seasons ago but not last year or this year (yet). Yet it’s difficult to say that the bodies of work from Pep Guardiola, Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Unai Emery, Antonio Conte, Luis Enrique, and Jurgen Klopp couldn’t be measured against each other, right?

[ MORE: United, Saints advancement scenarios ]

Onto the little picture Mourinho is worried about a potentially rock hard pitch at Zorya affecting the game. This, from the BBC:

“The pitch is very hard, the pitch is very icy,” said United boss Mourinho.

“They are putting warmth on the top of it, but the pitch is very difficult and people cannot make miracles. Let’s hope everything goes well.”

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