crystalpalace

Championship Sunday focus: Crystal Palace

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Story so far…  A tale of two halves for Palace, who looked dead and buried heading into the last week of November when new manager Tony Pulis replaced Ian Holloway. What happened next has shocked everyone, as Pulis has transformed Palace into an incredibly strong defensive unit (they have only conceded 46 goals, seventh best in the league) and they finished the season in fine form. Many have stood out for the Eagles, but skipper Mile Jedinak has really led by example in midfield.

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Over this summer Pulis is expected to have in-depth talks with Palace’s board as the Eagles prepare for the first-ever two season stay in the top flight. Question marks over Pulis’s future are around but it seems as though he should be at Selhurst after a wonderful turnaround which has him as a Manger of the Year candidate.

Who do they play and where can I watch it: Palace head across to West London on the final day as they face already relegated Fulham at Craven Cottage. You can watch that game live on E! at 10 a.m. ET and stream it online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

Form guide: When these two sides met earlier in the season Fulham hammered Palace 4-1 in Ian Holloway’s last game in charge of the Eagles. How the tables have turned, as five-straight wins lifted Palace out of the drop zone and into midtable while Fulham are down.

April 5 – at Cardiff, W 3-0
April 12 – vs. Aston Villa, W 1-0
April 16 – at Everton, W 3-2
April 19 – at West Ham, W 1-0
April 27 – vs. Man City, L 0-2
May 5 – vs. Liverpool, D 3-3

What’s at stake:  The Eagles are enjoying their best-ever finish in the Premier League, as they’ve never previously stayed up in the top-flight on four separate occasions. If they beat Fulham on the final day the Eagles can finish in the top 10, but they’d need Stoke to get hammered and win big themselves. Seems like it will be top of the bottom half for the Eagles.

When the final whistle blows: Palace will likely stay in the bottom half of the standings, as they looks odds on to finish in 11th. Rock bottom for the opening half of the campaign, Pulis has worked wonders down at Selhurst Park. What an incredible atmosphere their fans create too down in South London. This summer all eyes will be on Pulis to see if he stays and then which new players he is allowed to bring in.

Columbus, NYCFC release new kits to mixed results

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Two Major League Soccer clubs have put their kits out there for the 2016 season. They’ve received a mediocre welcome at best.

Columbus was the first, and their kit makes a bold statement moving away from the traditional yellow and black that so often adorns their regular shirts. Instead, the kit incorporates the Columbus flag onto it. The release has seen quite a negative reaction on social media.

The kit was unveiled at the Columbus City Hall on Wednesday, featuring the traditional adidas stripes, although instead of the usual placement on the shoulders, the stripes come down the side of the torso. Recently, adidas has the tendency to copy general jersey patterns across its multiple properties, so look for this design with other clubs in the near future.

The negative reaction to the Columbus release isn’t terribly surprising considering fans often enjoy sticking to tradition, and backlash is common when clubs deviate from the norm. As an additional hurdle, the color contrast between red and yellow is somewhat stark, lending to the difficult reception. Add in the bright pastel blue shorts and…yikes.

While the club didn’t describe how they will utilize this kit during the season, it’s likely to be the primary (at least for now) as the club release says the kit portfolio also includes last year’s black kit, which is traditionally the away kit.

NYCFC’s release of their secondary kit was more positive, receiving a mixed response on social media.

As you can see, adidas again copied their general outline with the stripes down the side of the torso. However, the German clothing manufacturer did much better with the general design of these kits than the Columbus ones. I will give a bit of personal opinion here: I absolutely love these kits. The ripple effect accentuates the crest with a near-3D effect, and the colors mesh perfectly which serves to assuage the eye from being overwhelmed by a busy design. If there’s any criticism, it’s that without an outline, the Etihad logo tends to get in the way a bit, but that’s nitpicking. Well done NYCFC. Columbus…I’ll leave that one to you all.

Men In Blazers podcast: Romelu Lukaku Pod Special

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Rog and Davo break down Leicester City’s 3 – 1 win at Manchester City, marvel at Spurs going second in the table, and talk about the headlines surrounding the mid-table clash between Chelsea and United.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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FA Cup recap: West Brom survives with penalty win over Peterborough

PETERBOROUGH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  Darren Fletcher of West Bromwich Albion celebrates with team-mate Saido Berahino after scoring his team's first goal during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round replay match between Peterborough United and West Bromwich Albion at ABAX Stadium on February 10, 2016 in Peterborough, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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West Brom is the last team through to the FA Cup fifth round with a penalty win over Peterborough United after a 1-1 draw in their replay at ABAX Stadium.

Down 1-0 10 minutes after the halftime break, Darren Fletcher scored the equalizer in the 71st minute, and that scoreline lasted through regulation and extra time. Fletcher missed a penalty in the shootout, but Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster saved twice to put West Brom through.

[ MORE: Full schedule for every PL club ]

Other than the penalty shootout, things were quite even throughout the match. Posh actually lead slightly on possession, and had an 8-5 shots-on-target advantage as well. Jon Taylor was the man to score for Peterborough, putting them 1-0 ahead shortly after halftime. The 23-year-old midfielder also scored in the 2-2 draw at The Hawthornes in the original matchup.

West Brom will now take on Reading in the fifth round, a team that hammered Walsall 4-0 in their fourth round meeting. Reading currently sits 15th in the Championship table

VIDEO: Alejandro Bedoya scores extra-time winner for Nantes in Coupe de France

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JULY 01: Alejandro Bedoya of the United States controls the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Belgium and the United States at Arena Fonte Nova on July 1, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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With USMNT World Cup qualifying not far away, Jurgen Klinsmann will certainly look to club performances to find out which of his players are grasping club opportunities by the horns.

One US national teamer in great form is Alejandro Bedoya. The 28-year-old has scored four times across all competitions since January 23rd, and his latest is a massive one. Bedoya sent Nantes to the quarterfinals of the Coupe de France with a 118th-minute winner against Bordeaux.

Bedoya has been a lightning rod for Nantes the past two or three seasons, but something he struggled for occasionally is consistent game time. Not anymore. The American has started five of their last six league matches, and since returning from some time off due to illness, Bedoya has featured in the starting lineup in nine of 11 Ligue 1 matches. What’s more, he’s finished the full 90 minutes in seven of those.

Klinsmann has looked to Bedoya in the past for a combination of electricity and defensive ability on the wing. Now, he may bring both endurance and a goalscoring threat to international competitions, which would go a long way in raising his national team stock.