Confirmed: Neil Warnock takes over at Crystal Palace; what will he bring?

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On Wednesday Crystal Palace announced they have hired Neil Warnock as their new manager.

The vastly experienced Englishman has managed over 1,300 matches in charge of over 13 different clubs since 1980 and takes over from Tony Pulis, who walked out on Palace on the eve of the new season after a boardroom dispute.

[RELATED: Pulis leaves Palace]

Warnock has previously been in charge at Palace, leading the South Londoners from 2007-10, before switching to Queens Park Rangers and leading them to the Premier League.

The fiery 65-year-old is a real character in the game and his vast experience will by vital if Palace are to stay in the top-flight.

In a short statement on the Eagles’ website, they confirmed Warnock will take charge of the side away at Newcastle this Saturday.

Crystal Palace are delighted to announce that Neil Warnock has been appointed as their new first team manager with immediate effect.Neil has agreed a two-year deal and will lead the team this Saturday in our Premier League game at Newcastle United.

Warnock has bags of experience but his old school approach is deemed by some to be outdated in the top-flight. He is a magician at getting teams promoted from the Championship to the PL, he has done so with QPR and Sheffield United in the past and got Notts County to the top flight, but on every occasion he has previously managed in the Premier League, Warnock has come up short. His Sheffield United side were relegated on the final day of the season back in 2007, while he was fired by QPR with the R’s struggling towards the bottom of the standings in 2011. He has never kept a team up in the top-flight.

His aim for Palace will be to keep them up. Nothing more, nothing less.

source: Getty Images
Warnock is outspoken, brash and old school. Is he the man to lead Palace to safety this season?

Palace’s robust midfield and defense will be key to the way Warnock sets his teams up as he prefers a 4-4-2 system and his teams are always well-organized and dangerous from set pieces. Sound familiar? Last season Pulis led Palace to safety by setting his team up in a similar way to what Warnock is expected to do and the players he will have at his disposal are used to playing in the way Warnock prefers. That’s a huge plus. Outspoken. Brash. Old-school. Warnock doesn’t beat around the bush and tells it how it is.

After a summer of scandal and upheaval — Palace’s Sporting Director Iain Moody resigned last week following the damaging allegations about him sending sexist, racist and homophobic messages along with former Cardiff boss and contender for the Palace job, Malkay Mackay — the Eagles can now look forward to the final few days of the transfer window as Warnock will look to bolster his squad considerably before the deadline next Monday night. He is said to have plenty of cash to spend, so expect plenty of ins and outs in the coming days at Palace.

He may not be the most glamorous replacement, but Warnock will use all his experience to hit the ground running and try to help steady the Selhurst Park outfit after a turbulent few weeks.

Barcelona plan Cruyff tribute at club’s training center

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) One year after his death, Barcelona says it will name the future stadium at its training center after Dutch great Johan Cruyff.

The new stadium at Barcelona’s training center just outside the Catalan city will be called “Johan Cruyff Stadium” in honor of the club’s former player and coach.

Barcelona says in a statement that “the most emblematic building in the facility where future Barca players are coached is to be named after somebody who played such a central role in fostering youth talent at the club.”

Barcelona also says it will commission a “commemorative sculpture” of Cruyff, who died of lung cancer on March 24 last year at age 68. The statue will be placed at Barcelona’s main Camp Nou stadium.

Cruyff is largely credited with launching Barcelona’s era of trophy success, both as a player and a coach.

As a player, Cruyff joined Barcelona midseason in 1973 and led the middle-of-the-table team to its first national title in a decade.

He later returned as a coach and guided Barcelona to four consecutive Spanish leagues from 1991-94 and the club’s first European Cup in 1992.

“I think the tributes are very warming,” said Cruyff’s son, Jordi Cruyff. “It sort of changes the sadness that we might feel as family to lose a father, a husband and a grandfather. It changes to a certain kind of pride to understand that he left something behind.”

MLS Snapshot: Defense optional — Crew SC outlast Timbers, 3-2

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The game in 100 words (or less): As far as teams who get out in the open field and score the lion’s share of their goals on the counter-attacking, there aren’t many MLS teams better than Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers. The two sides met Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium, site of their MLS Cup 2015 clash, and lived up to their reputations. Of the five goals scored, two were notched on flat-out counters and two more came to pass through quick transitional movements. Portland (9 points) dropped their first points of the season, falling 3-2 to goals scored by Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and Niko Hansen, while Crew SC have back-to-back wins and find themselves level on points (7) with the New York Red Bulls with each side having played four games.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

4′ — Asprilla opens the scoring early on — 2017 Crew SC defending, same as 2016 Crew SC defending.

11′ — Meram fires home the rebound for 1-1 — One of Portland’s biggest weaknesses last season was their set-piece defending. Looks like not much has changed.

19′ — Higuain feeds Kamara for a 2-1 lead — The question mark that Portland will eventually have to answer is this: How much, if at all, have they improved defensively in the open field? Based on this Crew SC counter-attack, the answer might be “not much.”

45+3′ — Adi recovers to make it 2-2 — Everything Adi does these days (even the bad things, like this first touch) ends up being good.

84′ — Hansen cleans up at the back post for 3-2 — Jake Gleeson made a spectacular reaction save to deny Kamara his second goal of the game, but the rookie, making his MLS debut, was in the right place at the right time.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Wil Trapp

Goalscorers: Asprilla (4′), Meram (11′), Kamara (19′), Adi (45+3′), Hansen (84′)

Andorra’s 11-year, 58-game losing streak is over

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rarely has a scoreless stalemate in front of the home fans tasted so sweet.

But 11 years of nothing but losing will do that to a team.

Andorra’s 0-0 draw with fellow minnow Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Saturday ended its run of 58 competitive defeats.

It was the first point in qualifying for the Pyrenees mountain principality, population 80,000, since a scoreless draw with Finland in 2005.

Faroe Islands finished with 10 men after Joan Edmundsson was booked a second time with 15 minutes to play.

World Cup qualifiers: Dutch disaster persists; Greece hold Belgium

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying fixtures, as Groups A, B and H hit the halfway point in Europe…

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Bulgaria 2-0 Netherlands

Spas Delev scored both Bulgarian goals (5th and 20th minutes) to secure all three points and send Danny Blind’s Netherlands side (7 points) into fourth place in Group A, six points back of leaders France and three back of second-place (qualifying playoffs) Sweden.

17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was handed his international debut for the Dutch; he was ultimately at fault for both of Delev’s goals; he was subbed off at halftime (as was Georginio Wijnaldum).

Luxembourg 1-3 France

Olivier Giroud scored twice (28th and 77th minutes) for France, and Antoine Griezmann added the other (37th minute – penalty kick), as Les Bleus maintained their three-point lead in Group A. Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old rising star, made his international debut in the 78th minute, when he replaced Dimitri Payet.

Portugal 3-0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the 69th and 70th goals of his international career (36th and 65th minutes), as Portugal (12 points) kept pace with an unbeaten Switzerland side (15 points) which managed a 1-0 victory over Latvia to keep their 100-percent record intact. Andre Silva scored the opener (32nd minute) for Portugal, the 21-year-old Porto striker’s fifth goal in six international appearances.

Belgium 1-1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku‘s 89th-minute rescued a point for Group H leaders Belgium (13 points), but it did little to mask an otherwise uninspiring performance from Roberto Martinez’s side. Kostas Mitroglu put Greece ahead in the first minute of the second half, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute, and that was the start of Greece’s unraveling. The draw was just enough to keep Greece (11 points) in second, ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose 5-0 thrashing of Gibraltar moved them to 10 points with a superior goal differential.

Elsewhere in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying

Group A

Sweden 4-0 Belarus

Group B

Switzerland 1-0 Latvia
Andorra 0-0 Faroe Islands

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar
Cyprus 0-0 Estonia