Pardew talks next season as Magpies continue downward plunge

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It’s a testament to the team Alan Pardew — and chief scout Graham Carr — built that Newcastle remains in the top half despite a club-first six-match losing streak.

But that status is on the brink, with Stoke City and Crystal Palace within shouting distance. These are teams who were mired near the bottom of the Premier League table while the Magpies had their supporters daring to dream of the UEFA Champions League with a hot start to the season.

So as Newcastle found itself blanked for the 13th time in 18 matches after a terrible 3-0 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates, it’s no surprise that Pardew was talking about the fixes he would find in the summer.

But will he last? And what in the world is he talking about in regards to fan expectations in the second quote below?

From Sky Sports:

“I’ve lost six on the trot as manager of Newcastle and I accept that they’re disappointed and angry at the moment that we haven’t got a result. But I think that the bigger picture is that we’re in a good position in the summer and we need to focus on finishing in the top 10.

“Of course you’re under pressure, it’s a big club. They expect perhaps sometimes things we can’t quite deliver, but we’re trying our hardest and we’re going to work hard this summer to make sure we’ve got a team next year that can make this city proud.”

Expecting what that Newcastle can’t deliver? Pardew has led the team into Europe, so it can’t be that reasonable expectation. Perhaps it’s having a semblance of a plan in place in case your best player, often a wantaway, skips town for greener pastures? Yohan Cabaye left for PSG in the January transfer window and there’s been no answer in the center of the park (as valiantly as Moussa Sissoko has tried). Hatem Ben Arfa’s big and out-of-favor, Sylvain Marveaux and Gael Bigirimana are nowhere to be found and maybe their best option, Mehdi Abeid, was allowed to stay on-loan in Greece.

I’m not sure what the Newcastle fans are expecting that can’t be delivered at all. A midfielder? A win? Some goals?

Or perhaps a manager capable of admitting that it’s not the wind, the opponent or the referees causing his team problems. It’s his team. And if it isn’t Pardew’s fault, it’s owner Mike Ashley for hiring Joe Kinnear to mispronounce player names and look baffled on a weekly basis. And if it’s Ashley’s fault, that should cause plenty of Magpies fans to wonder why in the world they support the black and white.

The businessman-turned-owner needs to do something that instill faith in the club, because anything else is bad for business.

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

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).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

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.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.