Guardiola, Man City show true class

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LONDON — True champions dig deep in tough times and Manchester City did just that to put themselves on the brink of the Premier League title.

In their classy, dominant 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday they came out roaring in the first half as they set the tone after a disappointing 10-day spell.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

‘Mentality’ is a word Guardiola has pointed to time and time again about this group of players and after they lost three times (twice to Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals and to Man United in the PL last weekend), they dug deep. They could clinch the PL trophy on Sunday if Manchester United lose to West Brom, but it is more likely that moment will arrive next Sunday at home against Swansea.

When it happens City will have not only dominated the PL “their way” but they have also developed that winning mentality and toughness to continue to succeed.

As Kevin De Bruyne told NBC’s analysts after the game, “three games won’t define our season” and City’s incredible tally of 93 goals scored and 87 points with five games to go keep them on track to break every record going and KDB led the way as City put in a dominant display as Spurs lost for the first time in 15 games.

With Guardiola on the cusp of winning his first league title in England, to follow titles in Spain and Germany, he was asked where this trophy would rank.

“Yeah, it is one of the best by far,” Guardiola said. “One of the best but to win titles in every league is important. For example, first league in my club Barcelona was a dream come true and to come here in this stadium and win the Champions League against United was also so, so nice, especially the way we played. But of course Premier League, the moment we are going to win, it is going to be one of the nicest. Yeah. Definitely. We did it… we almost did it. We are so close and we did it in the way we wanted to do it and we arrive. For the capacity of the club, the club has spent a lot of money, like a lot of other club, but it looks just like us, but it is true that we spent a lot of money to have these amazing players. If not it is impossible to do that.”

Guardiola is always heaping praise on his players, always, but after a tough few days where his methods and his players have been questioned following their UCL exit to Liverpool and the crushing loss against United, Guardiola had an answer similar to KDB’s when asked about European disappointment: “Champions League is seven games.”

That is it. Guardiola is keen to move on, and quickly, from failure and instead focus on a grueling PL season where they have stamped their superiority time and time again. In a nutshell this display summed up their season. Starting fast, scoring often and even having the audacity to give opponents a sniff at grabbing a point before missing plenty of chances themselves.

Man City know that if they can keep doing what they’re doing and develop this team, many of whom are nowhere near their peak (De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson), then bigger achievements, such as the Champions League, will be ahead.

The way Guardiola and his players celebrated this win showed how much the PL success means and how relieved they were to get back to winning ways.

But winning the PL this season, in this manner, with this pressure on their shoulders, the season after Pep’s methods were questioned heavily as they finished third in his debut PL campaign, that shows they have the right mentality.

Guardiola knows the Premier League is one hard slog but his time have oozed true class and will be worthy champions.

“Physicality, weather conditions, amount of games. It is tough,” Guardiola said. “That is why winning the way, hopefully next Sunday, we are going to win, will remain in our hearts for the rest of our lives, that is for sure.”

Does Paul Pogba to PSG make sense?

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Paul Pogba‘s time at Manchester United could be nearing an abrupt end for the second time in his professional career.

And now, a club that was previously tracking the France international appears to be expressing heavy interest in the midfielder once again.

[ MORE: The latest Premier League player power rankings ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Paris Saint-Germain and Mino Raiola — Pogba’s agent — have been in contact recently over a potential move to the French capital at the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.

The report suggests that Raiola has been in talks with several other big clubs in regards to the availability of Pogba in the near future, however, a move to his native country could sweeten the deal for the 25-year-old.

The Frenchman has scored 10 league goals for the Red Devils since he re-joined the side in 2016/17 from Juventus.

Pogba has had an up-and-down relationship at Old Trafford with manager Jose Mourinho, which nearly caused a move for the attacker during the January transfer window.

Cross-town rivals Manchester City were heavily linked to Pogba at the time, however, nothing came to fruition as the Citizens went on to claim the Premier League title with several matches remaining on their calendar.

While PSG seems like a logical fit given the club’s free-flowing attack and recent willingness to acquire massive talents, including Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the Ligue 1 giants may not be able to financially support another big-time addition like Pogba.

UEFA’s Financial Fair Play laws have been tested by PSG, particularly during last summer’s transfer window when the club acquire both Neymar and Mbappe for over $400 million combined.

PSG is set to meet with UEFA on Friday though, which could give an indication one way or another as to how the front office can approach its spending habits in the months to come.

Watch Live: Burnley v Chelsea; Leicester v Saints

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Two big Premier League games are coming your way on Thursday as Burnley host Chelsea at Turf Moor, while Leicester welcome Southampton to the King Power Stadium.

WATCH BURNLEY-CHELSEA LIVE

Burnley are aiming to win six-straight games in the Premier League as reigning champs Chelsea head to Lancashire hoping to cut the gap on the top four to just five points.

In team news from Turf Moor, Burnley start Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes up top together as Sean Dyche looks to get at the visitors early with plenty of balls into the box. Chelsea rest Eden Hazard and Willian ahead of the FA Cup semifinal and start Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata up top together.

WATCH LEICESTER-SAINTS LIVE

As for Leicester against Saints the Foxes’ hopes of European action are all but over after a poor run of form, while Southampton are battling for their lives in the relegation zone but a win would move Saints to just two points from safety with four games to play.

The teams news from Leicester is that Kasper Schmeichel is out injured in goal, while Claude Puel has picked an attacking lineup with Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho up top and the Mahrez, Gray and Albrighton all starting.

Saints are unchanged from the team which started so well against Chelsea before collapsing to lose last time out.

Click on the links above to watch the games, which both kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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With the games coming thick and fast, it is time to take a look at which players were “en fuego” during the past weekend in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Full Power Rankings archive ]

Players from Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City dominate our latest rankings after their fine performances over the past PL weekend.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League and based on them actually playing in the previous Matchweek. If they didn’t play due to injury or suspension, they aren’t going to make this list.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


  1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
  2. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Up 8
  3. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – Up 10
  4. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – Up 14
  5. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) – Up 10
  6. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Up 5
  7. David De Gea (Man United) – Down 5
  8. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) – Down 8
  9. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Up 3
  10. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – New entry
  11. David Silva (Man City) – Down 2
  12. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Down 7
  13. Romelu Lukaku (Man United) – Down 7
  14. Kenedy (Newcastle) – Up 3
  15. Marko Arnautovic (West Ham) – Down 11
  16. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – Down 13
  17. Kyle Walker (Man City) – New entry
  18. Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) – New entry
  19. Nick Pope (Burnley) – New entry
  20. Jay Rodriguez (West Brom) – New entry

FIFA closes racism case from U-17 World Cup final

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA closed a racism investigation Thursday that involved a Spain player and an England opponent from the Under-17 World Cup final.

FIFA said its disciplinary panel dismissed the charge against the Spanish player because of a “lack of sufficient evidence that could corroborate the English player’s claim.”

It is the third recent case of a high-profile allegation of racist abuse of black players being closed without action.

The latest ruling, from England’s 5-2 win in India last October, followed “a thorough investigation,” FIFA said.

In March, UEFA ended two investigations because of a lack of verifiable evidence.

Those claims were made by Borussia Dortmund forward Michy Batshuayi against Italian club Atalanta, and Liverpool youth forward Rhian Brewster against a Spartak Moscow opponent.

Brewster also played in the Under-17 World Cup final, scoring the first goal in England’s comeback after trailing 2-0 in the first half.

“Despite the absence of a sanction, which can only be imposed on the basis of clear evidence, the disciplinary committee would like to restate FIFA’s unequivocal, zero-tolerance stance against all forms of discrimination,” the soccer body said in a statement.

In other rulings announced Thursday, FIFA imposed fines totaling more than $1.25 million.

The Laos soccer federation was fined 690,000 Swiss francs ($712,000) for several breaches of rules governing the eligibility of players to represent a national team.

Benfica and Sporting Lisbon were among five clubs found guilty of breaking rules which prohibit third-party investors having a stake in players’ transfer rights, and misuse of FIFA’s international transfer registration process.

Benfica was fined a total of 165,000 Swiss francs ($170,000) in two cases and Sporting was fined 110,000 Swiss francs ($114,000). In Spain, Celta Vigo was fined 65,000 Swiss francs ($67,000) and Rayo Vallecano was fined 55,000 Swiss francs ($57,000). Qatari club Al Arabi was fined 187,500 Swiss francs ($194,000).