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Listing the top snubs for PFA Team of the Year

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The PFA’s Team of the Year for 2016-17 in the Premier League was announced on Thursday and there were some notable absentees.

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Remember: this XI is put together after each PL player votes for his XI in a 4-4-2 formation. So, it is the players who vote for this team and therefore it may not be the most accurate representation of the top players in each position.

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Here is the PFA Team of the Season in full with David De Gea and Eden Hazard both named in the team of the fourth time in the past five seasons, while Harry Kane gets the nod for a third-straight campaign.

Below is a look at the biggest snubs, as plenty of people are particularly disappointed with the inclusion of Gary Cahill and De Gea.


Hugo Lloris – It seemed to be a toss up between Lloris and De Gea and the Tottenham goalkeeper has marshaled the best defense in the PL while also always looking calm and composed. In the 2-2 draw at Man City he had a rare lapse of concentration but apart from that he’s been flawless.

Tom Heaton – Maybe because he plays for Burnley but Heaton has been superb not only with his shot-stopping but also his leadership as the Clarets’ captain. When you look around the league at top goalkeepers, only De Gea, Lloris and Thibaut Courtois are ahead of him.

Toby Alderweireld – Perhaps the most puzzling absentee, Alderweireld has been an absolute rock at the heart of Spurs’ defense and he makes everything looks so easy. Good on the ball, powerful in the air and never puts a foot wrong, I thought Alderweireld would be a lock for this XI.

Jan Vertonghen – See above. Alongside his Belgian teammate Alderweireld they’ve formed a formidable partnership with the only reason I can think of for them both being left out is some time on the sidelines through injury. Still, their teammate Danny Rose has missed a large chunk of the season and he’s still been included. Bizarre.

Cesar Azpilicueta – He has arguably been Chelsea’s best defender all season long but David Luiz and Gary Cahill have been picked ahead of him. A real head-scratcher but maybe this is because he’s played at wing back as well as the right-sided center back in a 3-4-3 formation? Still, the Spaniard deserves to be in this team.

Ander Herrera – The only other Manchester United player alongside De Gea and Zlatan who deserves a shout. So consistent all season and Mourinho’s general in midfield. Kante gets in ahead of him though.

David Silva – Anybody who has watched City regularly this season can tell you Silva has been the hub of Guardiola’s team. His genius is often overlooked.

Christian Eriksen – Has the most assists in the PL and Pochettino called him Spurs’ “special one” in recent weeks. Should he be in ahead of Dele Alli?

Alexis Sanchez – The Arsenal forward has been in fine form for most of this season despite his, and Arsene Wenger‘s, future up in the air. The Chilean star is up for the PFA Player of the Year award but didn’t do enough to go in ahead of Lukaku, Kane, Hazard or Mane. Maybe should’ve pushed Mane out of the XI but a very close call.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Again, another player who is up for the PFA Player of the Year but wasn’t selected in this team. Ibrahimovic has scored big goals at big moments for United but the veteran has missed some really good chances throughout the season. Maybe that’s why his peers thought the clinical duo of Kane and Lukaku deserved it more.

MLS Snapshots: Hat trick for Accam; MNUFC come back from 2-0

Photo credit: Chicago Fire / Twitter: @ChicagoFire
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The game in 100 words (or less): All hail King David Accam, the newest superstar of MLS — except, well, you know, he’s been doing this for a couple years now. It’s not his fault you hadn’t already taken notice. For too long, it was Accam and not much else for the Chicago Fire, who finished bottom of the league two straight seasons, in 2015 and 2016. Now, with the likes of Dax McCarty, Nemanja Nikolic and Bastian Schweinsteiger joining him in Bridgeview, Accam has ascended to his rightful throne as an MVP candidate. The 26-year-old Ghanaian international strengthened his case on Saturday, bagging three goals and an assist, playing a key part in all four goals, in Chicago’s 4-0 drubbing of Orlando City SC. Accam’s season stats now sit at 10 goals and six assists, for the Eastern Conference’s second-place team. If these kind of performances persist, don’t be surprised when Accam follows in Fabian Castillo’s footsteps, right off to Europe.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

8′ — Accam rounds Bendik for 2-0 — The long-ball distribution from Bastian Schweinsteiger is perfect, but Accam still has a ton to do from there. He corrals the ball with his first touch, quickly goes around Joe Bendik, gets his wits about him and fires through an opening to make it David Accam 2-0 Orlando City SC. This one came just six minutes after his brilliant backheel finish for the opening goal.

52′ — Accam sets up Nikolic for 3-0 — The time and space afforded Accam is inexcusable from Orlando’s midfield remaining players in their defensive half of the field, but the through ball still required inch-perfect precision to find Nikolic.

63′ — Accam converts from the spot — No doubt about this one, as Accam slams home from the penalty spot to complete his much deserved hat trick.

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Man of the match: David Accam

Goalscorers: Accam (3′, 8′, 63′ – PK), Nikolic (52′)


Minnesota United 2-2 Vancouver Whitecaps

Three moments that mattered

45+2′ — Tchani heads a rocket past Shuttleworth — You’re not going to find many headers with more power behind them than this one from Tony Tchani, anywhere in the world, anytime.

50′ — Calvo heads down and past Ousted — Take, for example, Francisco Calvo’s goal five minutes into the second half… not quite as much behind it.

63′ — Thiesson hits it low, through traffic, for 2-0 — Jerome Thiesson’s equalizer needed eyes to make its way through a penalty area full of bodies.

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Man of the match: Kevin Molino

Goalscorers: Techera (17′ – PK), Tchani (45+2′), Calvo (50′), Thiesson (63′)

MLS Snapshots: Manneh inspires Crew SC; Philly, Atlanta win at home

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Columbus Crew SC 4-1 Montreal Impact

Three moments that mattered

17′ — Higuain’s free kick beats Bush — Aided by a slight deflection off the top of the wall, Higuain put a free kick past Evan Bush to give the home side an early lead.

70′ — Manneh makes an immediate impact — The initial ball from Higuain is what you came here for, but the elementary defending by three Montreal defenders is what’ll keep you glued until the very end.

72′ — Manneh sets up Kamara for 3-1 — Kekuta Manneh had been on the field for all of three minutes, and he put a goal and an assist to his name. Most importantly, three points to that of Crew SC.

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Man of the match: Federico Higuain

Goalscorers: Higuain (17′, 88′), Jackson-Hamel (19′), Manneh (70′), Kamara (72′)


 

Philadelphia Union 1-0 D.C. United

Three moments that mattered

28′ — Blake gets down to deny Harkes from distance — Ian Harkes had picked out a spot just inside the far post, but Andre Blake was well up to the task of denying DCU’s homegrown rookie.

31′ — Picault slams Bedoya’s cross — Alejandro Bedoya’s cross has some serious loft on it, which it makes it so tough to keep the ensuing shot low and to hit it with such power. Fantastic finish from Picault.

70′ — Blake stone-walls Neagle from the spot — It’s a pretty poor penalty from Lamar Neagle, but it’s a massive moment so badly needed by Andre Blake who’s been well off his own standard this season. Don’t be surprised if it’s a season-turning save for the talented Jamaican.

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Man of the match: Andre Blake

Goalscorers: Picault (31′)


 

Atlanta United 1-0 Colorado Rapids

Three One moment that mattered

67′ — Martinez turns and beats Howard for the game’s only goal — You can’t give Josef Martinez this kind of space, and this kind of time, around the six-yard box. He’s shown us seven times already this season (in just seven games) how deadly he is from there.

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Man of the match: Josef Martinez

Goalscorers: Martinez (67′)

VIDEO: Accam’s slick backheel puts Chicago ahead

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For the last two years, David Accam has been, in my estimation, the best player in MLS that no one talked about.

[ MORE: NYCFC run rampant on Red Bulls, win NY derby 2-0 ]

Understandably so, of course, given the 26-year-old Ghanaian international and the Chicago Fire been rooted to the bottom of the league table for two years running. All of that has changed in 2017, though, as Accam finally has a forward (Nemanja Nikolic) who can not only put chances away, but create space and chances for his teammates, and a solid midfield base which allows him to cherry-pick counter-attacks just that little bit more.

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Entering Saturday’s game against Orlando City SC, Chicago sat second in the Eastern Conference, just four points back of Toronto FC, and Accam’s 7 goals and 5 assists (in 15 games) were a huge part of the why and the how. It didn’t take Accam long — two minutes, in fact, to put Chicago ahead of Orlando with a ridiculous backheel finish to Matt Polster’s cross.

 

Bravo fit again, but will he start Chile’s Confed Cup group finale?

Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images
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MOSCOW (AP) Claudio Bravo is fit again and could start in goal against Australia at the Confederations Cup on Sunday, Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said Saturday.

Bravo – who is Chile’s joint most-capped player with Alexis Sanchez – hasn’t played since April 27, when he injured his calf for Manchester City in a derby game with Manchester United.

“Claudio is fit, he’s managed to train the last couple of days just like his other teammates,” Pizzi said. “He’s ready and available to play.”

Pizzi brushed off concerns about a lack of match fitness, saying that “quite obviously we take into account that factor” but players like Bravo are “are of such good quality that it isn’t that important they haven’t played in the last couple of months.”

Stand-in Johnny Herrera played in Chile’s 2-0 group stage win over Cameroon and Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Germany.

Gary Medel was substituted with a minor injury while playing in defense for Chile against Germany. Teammate Francisco Silva said Saturday that Medel had complained of “a very small muscle contraction issue” but was now fit.

Pizzi said he will aim to tire out Australia with Chile’s trademark all-action style, even though his team struggled for energy in the latter stages against Germany.

“This energy drop we had in the second half didn’t damage us too much because the opposing team couldn’t maintain a high pace because of the demands we’d imposed on them,” Pizzi said of the Germany game.

“We’re going to try to get (the Australians) tired as well and use this to beat our opponent, and we hope this is going to translate into goals.”