Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger weighed in on the Premier League title race as his Gunners prepare to close out a fourth-place campaign on Championship Sunday, and the long-time boss said it would take “a miracle” for Manchester City to not take the title.
Maybe there’s a lax definition of “miracle” in England, because Gus Poyet pulled a self-described one off in rescuing Sunderland, but is it really done-and-dusted for City?
They’ll host West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium on Championship Sunday, a Hammers team they hammered 3-1 at the Boleyn Ground earlier this year. They’ve also handled West Ham over two legs in the League Cup by a resounding 9-0 score line.
And West Ham hasn’t beaten City since March 1, 2009. They haven’t done the deed at City since an FA Cup win in 2006.
West Ham has scored the seventh-least goals in the PL, with 40, though they’ve also allowed the eighth-fewest. The club features a surely-motivated trio of familiar Liverpool names in Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Joe Cole.
A draw will do the trick unless Liverpool blasts Newcastle by 14 goals (which would be historic but not as surprising as you think considering the Magpies have more or less been licking the stamps on next year’s mail for about a month).
It is worth noting that Liverpool beat Newcastle 6-0 toward the end of last season, and that there was less at stake in that battle (Liverpool was in 7th, 10 points back of 5th, while Newcastle was six points ahead of the drop). Their record win is 11-0 against Strømsgodset in the 1974 UEFA Cup-winners Cup.
So would it be a miracle for Manchester City to lose the title on Championship Sunday? Not quite, but Liverpool fans will need a decent amount of good fortune come Sunday. City has lost to only one team at home this year — Chelsea — and has allowed a grand total of 13 goals at the Etihad in PL play.
A City coronation is likely coming.
This is a big blow to Everton, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Yannick Bolasie is set for a long spell on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
The 27-year-old attacker has played in every match for the Toffees, and is an electric attacking threat. He has one goal and four assists in PL play this season, after nabbing five and four for Palace last season.
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A $32 million buy from Crystal Palace, Bolasie will miss the Africa Cup of Nations next month and likely send the Toffees into the transfer market.
Manager Ronald Koeman has made no secret of his Memphis Depay admiration, and this could tip Everton’s hand.
Game changer, season changer, title changer.
It’s hard to find a phrase that would overstate what it would mean if a club could pry Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the hands of Borussia Dortmund.
Aubameyang raised eyebrows Monday with his non-dismissal of a transfer possibility. It wasn’t quite a “come and get me”, but the door is certainly open.
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“I don’t know if I will stay. I just think about playing good football right now. I want to give my best and win titles. I just think about the sport and nothing else.”
If you don’t pay a lot of attention to the Bundesliga, it might be easy to overlook Aubameyang. But the season he’s having with BVB’s wealth of playmaking midfielders is overwhelming. Give him less than a yard, and he’s all set.
Throw in the UEFA Champions League, and “Auba” has 18 goals in 18 matches. In the Bundesliga, he has a 4-goal night at Hamburg but also goals against Bayern and Hertha. Aubameyang has two braces, and has only been held off the score sheet three times (BVB is 1D-2L in those contests).
Put plainly, no one is doing what he’s doing right now.
Top Five leagues, 2016-17 goals (matches)
- Aubameyang, BVB — 15 (12)
- Edinson Cavani, PSG — 14 (14)
- Anthony Modeste, Koln — 12 (13)
- Mauro Icardi, Inter Milan — 12 (14)
- Eden Dzeko, Roma — 12 (15)
- Alexandre Lacazette — 11 (11)
- Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal — 11 (14)
- Diego Costa, Chelsea — 11 (14)
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid — 10 (11)
- Sergio Aguero, Manchester City — 10 (12)
- Andrea Belotti, Torino — 10 (13)
- Lionel Messi, Barcelona — 9 (9)
- Luis Suarez, Barcelona — 9 (12)
- Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich — 9 (13)
- Iago Aspas, Celta Vigo — 9 (13)
- Ciro Immobile, Lazio — 9 (15)
- Alassane Plea, Nice — 9 (16)
As we await the future of both the North American Soccer League and its champion New York Cosmos, another dark cloud arrived regarding both.
Empire of Soccer reports that the Cosmos have terminated all of its player contracts, putting a 2017 season into the neighborhood of improbability.
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New York’s staff is on furlough, and the club has been “on the brink of collapse” for weeks (if not longer).
The USL avoided having its champion collapse by finding new owners for the Rochester Rhinos in the offseason. Will New York be able to do the same?
U.S. Soccer unveiled the finalists for its top 2016 Male, Female, and youth awards on Monday.
MLS stars Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey are joined by Geoff Cameron and Bobby Wood as top men’s player nominees. The winner will be announced on the eve of Saturday’s MLS Cup Final.
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Stoke City’s Cameron and Hamburg’s Wood are the European-based players on the list, while Fabian Johnson did not make the cut. Dempsey has been limited by heart problems, but still found a way to the list.
John Brooks and Christian Pulisic are also notable exceptions, though the latter is a finalist for the younger award.
The five-woman list for Female Player of the Year sees Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, and Becky Sauerbrunn vying to finish second behind Carli Lloyd (Sorry, we couldn’t resist even with Heath’s incredible season).
The Young Male award promises to be a showdown between Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) and Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), though it’s difficult to see the latter edging the former. Also in the frame are Spurs back Cameron Carter-Vickers, Atlanta United teenager Andrew Carleton and U.S. U-17 star Josh Sargent.
The Young Female nominees are midfielders Emily Ogle and Andi Sullivan, defenders Kaleigh Riehl and Karina Rodriguez and forward Ashley Sanchez.