Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Premier League Power Rankings: Northeast in the nether regions

Leave a comment

The Premier League Power Rankings don’t see much tumult this time of year, with the desperation of the relegation and Top Four chases often mirroring the positioning on the PL table.

With three traditional top teams — Manchester United, Manchester City, and Arsenal — idle thanks to last weekend’s EFL Cup Final, there certainly wasn’t much movement up top.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

As for the bottom, well, here is the latest batch of Premier League power rankings…

20 (19) Sunderland: No happy reunion for David Moyes at Goodison.
200px-Middlesbrough_crest 19 (16) Middlesbrough: Boro risks relegation almost exclusively on their failure to finish, as Aitor Karanka‘s side is not poor in defense and simply hasn’t found consistent quality in attack. The Palace loss was baffling.
source: 18 (20) Crystal Palace: Their 1-0 win over Boro feels a bit more like a match they didn’t lose, but the three points are all that matter.
Hull City logo 17 (17) Hull City: Decent performance in draw versus Burnley. Now have the only true six-pointer of the weekend with a visit to resurgent Leicester.
source: 16 (15) Bournemouth: Four-straight losses after loss at the Hawthorns.
source: 15 (13) Swansea City: Not much shame in losing at Chelsea.
Leicester City logo
14 (18) Leicester City: Well that was a coming out party following the firing of Claudio Ranieri, though the pure enthusiasm and effort in defeating Liverpool feels damning on the character of the players.
source: 13 (14) Watford: The Hornets pick up another point en route to safety.
source: 12 (12) Southampton: DNP
source: 11 (11) Stoke City: Absolutely clobbered by Spurs in a brutal performance. Hopefully a reunion of Geoff Cameron and Glenn Whelan can steady the middle of the park.
burnley fc crest 10 (10) Burnley: Showed good fight back in 1-1 draw at Hull.
source: 9 (9) West Ham United: Didn’t take the next step, again, and are proving they’re simply a mid-table team.
source: 8 (7) Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp, right now at least, is answerless.
source: 7 (8) West Bromwich Albion: Tony Pulis and the Baggies continue to overachieve, beating the teams they should more often than not.
source: 6 (5) Arsenal: DNP. Off to Anfield on Saturday in a must-win for both sides’ sanities.
Source: Everton FC
5 (6) Everton: Ronald Koeman‘s guys wouldn’t hate starting the table at zero right now. Very good litmus test coming up Sunday at White Hart Lane.
source: 4 (4) Manchester United: DNP. Hosts Bournemouth in the early match on Saturday.
source: 3 (3) Tottenham Hotspur: Throttled Stoke City in infuriating fashion given the Europa League decision versus Gent.
Logo_Manchester_City 2 (2) Manchester City: DNP. Sunderland’s next.
source: 1 (1) Chelsea: Ten-point lead ahead of a fierce-looking Monday afternoon trip to West Ham for a London Derby.

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.