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.
Tottenham Hotspur’s depth means it can wait out Everton as the Toffees demand plenty of money for young star Ross Barkley.
The 23-year-old England international won’t sign a new deal with Everton, and Ronald Koeman has been clear that he’s ready to cash in on the wantaway midfielder.
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Spurs are interested according to Sky Sports, but rolling their eyes at a requested fee of close to $64 million. So the North Londoners will wait, a move that makes sense given Barkley’s up-and-down form.
The Liverpool Echo says that Koeman is close to making it official with Sandro Ramirez, as the ex-Barcelona prospect will join Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen as new Toffees in a $7 million deal.
The BBC says Koeman will quickly move onto two more transfers, aiming to woo Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City and center back Michael Keane from Burnley.
The Manchester Evening News says Manchester United is close to reuniting Jose Mourinho with defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic.
The tough-minded Serbian turns 29 in August, and would give Mourinho flexibility with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera. United also has Michael Carrick as a deep-lying option.
Matic has 121 Premier League appearances and two titles since returning to Chelsea in January 2014.
BERLIN (AP) The German soccer federation is mulling a proposal to allow China’s under-20 team to play friendly matches in the fourth tier of its league system.
Because the Southwest Regional League is comprised of 19 clubs, each currently has two match-days free that can be used for friendly games. The one-off action would allow China’s under-20 team to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
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“Nothing has been fixed yet but the clubs are all in favor,” league president Felix Wiedemann told The Associated Press on Thursday. “There’s a lot of interest in it. It’s important to say that there will be no points at stake, so it won’t influence the outcome of the league.”
Clubs would receive about 15,000 euros ($16,700) in compensation for two home games against the Chinese side, if the plan is approved. The Chinese are planning on a base near Heidelberg in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Southwest Regional League members are meeting on July 11, when a decision will likely be made in consultation with the German soccer federation, Wiedemann said. The league kicks off at the end of the month.
China and Germany agreed to a five-year soccer partnership last November, aimed at developing the game in China with training and other programs.
Australia and Cameroon fight for their Confederations Cup lives on Thursday at 11 a.m.ET live on Telemundo Deportes.
[ WATCH LIVE: Cameroon vs. Chile on Telemundo Deportes ]
Cameroon will have its top attacker in the form of Vincent Aboubakar in its bid to overcome an opening loss to Chile, while Australia will hope goalkeeper Maty Ryan can get the job done following a 3-2 loss to Germany.
Germany and Chile square off at 2 p.m. ET.
Multiple reports claim Crystal Palace has offered its managerial position to Dutch boss Frank De Boer.
Palace has been without a manager since Sam Allardyce retired after the season. The Eagles finished 15th in the Premier League, five points behind eighth place Southampton and seven points clear of the drop zone.
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An accomplished defender at Ajax and Barcelona, the 47-year-old De Boer led Ajax in his first managerial stint before spending less than three months at Inter Milan last season.
De Boer twice won the Rinus Michels Award as the top manager in Dutch football, and would become just the second Palace manager from outside the British Isles.
He would inherit a very good group of attackers with Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, and Andros Townsend. Palace also has a talented midfielders Luka Milivojevic and Yohan Cabaye to go with marauding Dutch back Patrick Van Aanholt.