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Premier League clubs begin busy preseason schedules

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Most of the running tests are out of the way and now managers and players are getting down to business.

[ MORE: Full PL preseason schedule ]

The preseason games ahead of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign are about to come thick and fast.

Below is a look at the games for all 20 Premier League games this weekend and next (with the results of the opening preseason games also listed for each club) with plenty of teams playing at least two games as their preparations are cranked up a few notches, with plenty more games on the way in late July and early August.

Bonus: Manchester United, Manchester City, Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur will all play in the USA in the coming days.


Arsenal
12 July: Sydney FC 0-2 Arsenal – Recap & video
15 July v Western Sydney Wanderers, ANZ Stadium, Sydney Details
19 July v Bayern Munich (Shanghai Stadium) International Champions Cup Details
22 July v Chelsea (Bird’s Nest Stadium, Beijing) Details

Bournemouth
15 July v Estoril Praia, Stadium Municipal, Marbella Details
22 July 
v Portsmouth, Fratton Park, Portsmouth Details

Brighton
14 July v Fortuna Dusseldorf, Sportplatz St Ulrich, Austria Details
22 July v Crawley Town, Checkatrade.com Stadium, Crawley

Burnley
14 July v Shamrock Rovers, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin Details
22 July v Kidderminster Harriers Details
22 July v Alfreton Town Details

Chelsea
22 July v Arsenal, Bird’s Nest Stadium, Beijing Details

Crystal Palace
15 July v Maidstone United, Gallagher Stadium, Maidstone Details
19 July v Liverpool, Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong (PL Asia Trophy) Details
22 July v West Brom/Leicester City, Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong (PL Asia Trophy) Details

Everton
13 July: Gor Mahia FC 1-2 Everton – Video & recap 
19 July v FC Twente, SV De Lutte, Overijssel Details
22 July v KRC Genk, Luminus Arena, Genk Details

Huddersfield Town
12 July: Accrington Stanley 0-1 Huddersfield
16 July v Bury, Gigg Lane Details
22 July v Barnsley, Oakwell, Barnsley Details

Leicester City
19 July v West Brom, Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong (PL Asia Trophy) Details
22 July v Crystal Palace/Liverpool, Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong (PL Asia Trophy) Details

Liverpool
12 July: Tranmere Rovers 0-4 Liverpool
14 July v Wigan Athletic, DW Stadium, Wigan Details
19 July v Crystal Palace, Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong (PL Asia Trophy) Details
22 July v West Brom/Leicester City, Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong (PL Asia Trophy) Details

Manchester City
20 July v Manchester United, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas (International Champions Cup) Details

Manchester United
15 July v LA Galaxy, Stubhub Centre, Los Angeles Details
17 July v Real Salt Lake, Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah Details
20 July v Manchester City, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas (International Champions Cup) Details

Newcastle United
14 July v Heart of Midlothian, Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh Details
22 July v Preston North End, Deepdale, Preston Details

Southampton
15 July v St Gallen, Goldach, Swwitzerland
22 July
 v Brentford, Griffin Park, Brentford Details

Stoke City
10 July: Neuchatel Xamax 0-1 Stoke City
12 July: Young Boys Bern 2-2 Stoke City (Stoke win 3-4 on pens)
15 July v AS Monaco, Neutral venue, Martigny, Switzerland Details
22 July v Amiens, Stade de la Licorne Details

Swansea City
12 July: Barnet 1-0 Swansea City
15 July v Philadelphia Union, Philadelphia, US Details
19 July v Richmond Kickers, Richmond, US Details
22 July v North Carolina, Sahlen’s Stadium, US Details

Tottenham Hotspur
22 July v Paris Saint-Germain, Camping World Stadium, Orlando (International Champions Cup) Details

Watford
15 July v AFC Wimbledon, Cherry Red Records Stadium, Kingston Upon Thames Details
18 July v Viktoria Plzen, TBC, Austria Details
22 July v SD Eibar, TBC, Austria Details

West Bromwich Albion
19 July v Leicester City, Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong (PL Asia Trophy) Details
22 July v Crystal Palace/Liverpool, Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong (PL Asia Trophy) Details

West Ham United
No games in next 10 days, first preseason friendly on July 28
28 July v Werder Bremen, Osterwald Stadion, Schneverdingen (Betway Cup) Details

 

Cristiano Ronaldo captures Best Male Player at FIFA awards

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The yearly debate as to whom the best player in the world is won’t be settled in the minds of fans across the globe, but on Monday, FIFA gave its two cents.

Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo took home Best Male Player honors at the FIFA Best awards, beating out Lionel Messi and Neymar for the title.

[ MORE: Mbappe wins Golden Boy award, beats out Pulisic, others ]

Meanwhile, all three superstars were named in the FIFA Best XI for the year, alongside the likes of Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and Andres Iniesta.

Here’s a look at some of the other winners from Monday’s FIFA awards.

Best Male Player: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

FIFA World XI: Gianluigi Buffon; Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos, Leonardo Bonucci, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Andres Iniesta; Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar.

FIFA Men’s Coach of 2017: Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

Puskas Award for Best Goal: Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

Best Female Player: Lieke Martens (Netherlands)

PST names Best XI for 2017 MLS season

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The 2017 MLS regular season saw some of the finest performances from players across the league.

New arrivals in Atlanta, such as Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron, garnered a great amount of attention, while Chicago Fire striker Nemanja Nikolic went on to capture the Golden Boot in his first season in MLS.

Stars like Sebastian Giovinco and David Villa continued to leave a lasting impression on the league, but with only 11 spots available for selection, some of game’s best had to be left off.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Budding U.S. Men’s National Team figures have emerged throughout the MLS scene, including from each of last season’s MLS Cup final squads.

Below is the PST built its Best XI for the 2017 MLS season.

MLS Best XI via Lineupbuilder

Players that just missed the cut

GK: Luis Robles, Bill Hamid

Defense: Roman Torres, Ike Opara, Andrew Farrell, Joevin Jones

Midfielders: Lee Nguyen, Sacha Kljestan, Alex Ring, Romain Alessandrini

Forwards: Miguel Almiron, Sebastian Giovinco, Justin Meram


Which players would you have included in your Best XI? Who was the best player in the league? Tell us below.

Justin Meram discusses Crew’s hot form, facing Atlanta and more

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The Eastern Conference has established itself within the ranks of Major League Soccer given the quality of the sides at the top.

While Atlanta United — in its first MLS season — and Toronto FC dominate headlines, alongside New York City FC, lost in the shuffle is Columbus Crew SC.

[ MORE: Impact fire Mauro Biello after team loses nine of last 10 matches ]

The Crew finished fifth in a congested East after settling for a 2-2 draw on Decision Day against NYCFC, however, Greg Berhalter’s squad has been among the best in MLS for the second half of the season.

Pro Soccer Talk caught up with Crew midfielder Justin Meram ahead of his side’s first-round matchup against Atlanta in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

“I wouldn’t say there’s less pressure on us,” Meram told PST. ” We might be written off in terms of the attention that they have had this season. Some networks have come out by saying that they [Atlanta] are the favorites, but nothing changes with this group.

“We let all that outside noise stay outside and we don’t let it affect us. Whether they have us winning a game, or whatever the case may be, we have a game plan and a style of play that we look to execute no matter where we go.”

Decision Day around MLS has created havoc — and a great narrative — but Sunday’s result against NYCFC proved to be the difference between potentially hosting a playoff game, or possibly having a bye, versus now having to travel to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Obviously that’s what makes Decision Day so much more exciting,” Meram said. “We didn’t control our own destiny, but the way things went with Atlanta and Chicago we could have jumped from fifth to second. It’s just one of those things that didn’t go our way.

“We didn’t play our best in the first half, but we also faced a really good team and I was pleased with how we bounced back. I think that showed our quality and our ability to claw back into games on the road, which is crucial during the playoffs.”

The Crew have been one of the league’s top home sides in 2017, winning 12 matches at MAPFRE Stadium — which ranks second in MLS behind only Toronto FC.

However, Meram and his side now face a stiff test against an Atlanta team that has lost just one of its eight matches since moving over from Bobby Dodd Stadium in mid-September.

“I need to be at my very best on Thursday,” Meram said. “We all need to be on top of our game because we need a collective effort in order to beat Atlanta.”

Scheduling has a funny way of factoring into the outcomes of matches at times, but given the fact that the Crew and Atlanta haven’t met since July 1 all bets are off in terms of which side is the  favorite to advance.

Atlanta won both matches earlier in the season as the two clubs met in home-and-home fixtures over a span of three weeks, but Meram remains confident that his side’s current form will help them prevail.

“Their attack is lethal,” Meram said when asked about facing an Atlanta side that scored 70 regular season goals. “One small little mistake allows them to pounce on chances. They punish you.

“We have to be clinical with our build up play and shape throughout the match. When we get our half-chances we need to bury them. When we played Atlanta the first time, we had a couple of breakaways that we didn’t put away and it hurt us.

“We have the quality, but playing at their home, with their fans, we need to focus on finishing our chances in order to advance.”

The topic of relocation has come as a shock not just in Columbus, but throughout MLS since last week’s announcement that owner Anthony Precourt would explore his options for the club moving forward.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Meram has insisted though that he and his Crew teammates remain focused on winning MLS Cup — which would be the club’s second in franchise history.

“Obviously we haven’t let it affect us,” Meram told PST. “We played a really good game on Sunday. We’re just staying with the same mindset that we’ve had the second half of the season, which doesn’t reflect the owner’s announcement.

“There’s not much I can say. I have a job to do. He [Precourt] has a job to do. The fans have their job to do. Right now, it’s about focusing on the playoffs and seeing what happens. There’s nothing definitive about staying or going, so I can’t speculate at this point.

“At the end of the day, I want a championship, and I believe that’s the feeling for all of our guys right now. That’s how it has to be from the player’s perspective because the second we shift our mindset we’re going to get punished by other sides.”

Montreal fires Biello after Impact loses nine of last 10

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Mauro Biello is out.

The Montreal Impact have parted ways with its entire coaching staff following a terrible end to a disappointing 2017 season which failed to see them build on an Eastern Conference Finals run.

[ MORE: Yaya Toure to NYCFC? ]

Montreal lost nine of its last 10 despite beating Toronto FC in Toronto, finishing with 39 points. That’s 11 points out of a playoff spot, which looked all but certain before their miserable finish to the campaign.

This despite an MVP caliber season from recently-extended Ignacio Piatti, who scored 17 goals with five assists. That the Impact failed was a bit baffling, especially following the midseason addition of Blerim Dzemaili, who chipped in seven goals and 10 assists in 22 matches.

There are some interesting pieces for the next boss, should 24-year-old Anthony Jackson-Hamel and 18-year-old Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla stick around.

The 45-year-old Biello finishes his first managerial gig following a playing career with the Impact (pre-MLS), Rochester Rhinos, and several indoor sides including the Impact, Toronto Thunderhawks, and Buffalo Blizzard.

Follow @NicholasMendola