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Biggest snubs in Premier League Team of the Year

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With 11 players announced for the PFA Premier League Team of the Year on Wednesday, there is plenty of debate flying around about who deserved to make it and which players were snubbed.

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Bearing that in mind, below is a look at some of the biggest snubs as five players from Man City made it in the team, three for Tottenham and one each from Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool.


Goalkeepers
David De Gea is a worthy selection in the PFA Team of the Year for the fourth-straight season, but Man City’s Ederson will have been a little disappointed. The Brazilian has made a huge difference to City’s defense and ever single defender seems more confident with him in goal, even if he takes risks with his exceptional range of passing. Nick Pope has also had a great season for Burnley after standing in for the injured Tom Heaton.

Defenders
You can’t argue with Kyle Walker at right back. He’s been solid all season long and although Antonio Valencia and Kieran Trippier have been steady, they don’t have the same attacking impact as Walker. As for central defenders, well, Nicolas Otamendi and Jan Vertonghen getting in wasn’t really a surprise such was the lack of competition in that area. Cesar Azpilicueta and James Tarkowski will feel hard done by, while Virgil Van Dijk has had a strong start to life at Liverpool since arriving at Anfield in January. Otamendi deserves it, but if Toby Alderweireld was fit and playing regularly then he may have been selected over Vertonghen. At left back there aren’t many options and if Benjamin Mendy was fit he would’ve been a strong contender. Ashley Young has been great this season and Andrew Robertson from Liverpool must have been close, such was Robertson’s strong second half of the campaign after becoming a regular.

Midfielders
The only other player you could say should’ve made this midfield is Fernandinho. His destructive style laid the foundation for Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva to be otherworldly (and get in the PFA Team), yet Christian Eriksen has been immense for Spurs and probably deserves to just edge in ahead of Fernandinho. Nemanja Matic‘s strong start should be noted, as to should N'Golo Kante plodding along nicely and Eden Hazard, on his day, ripping teams apart.

Forwards
Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane simply had to be in this team, and they are. Yet the other spot is a real tricky one. Sergio Aguero got the nod as the third striker and with the Argentine waiting seven seasons to get in a PFA TOTY, now was his time as he has 143 goals in 206 PL appearances. AKA the best minutes per goal rate in PL history. Yet when you look around the league, the likes of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane will feel aggrieved to not get in this team. Perhaps Sane and Sterling could’ve been in midfield over Eriksen, while Firmino and Mane have been outshone by Salah’s goalscoring but have been hugely important in Liverpool’s fine season. You can only pick 11 players and you can make a solid argument that at least seven forwards deserved a spot…

Manchester United 0-1 West Brom: Red Devils concede title

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  • Win clinches league for Man City
  • Foster makes key saves
  • Rodriguez scores winner

A shocking Jay Rodriguez goal gave West Bromwich Albion a rain-soaked 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, meaning United cannot catch crosstown rivals Manchester City in the race for the Premier League crown.

It’s a first Premier League title for Pep Guardiola, whose team has 87 points, 93 goals, and a 16-point lead on second place United.

West Brom is dead last in the Premier League, now nine points back of safety with four matches to play. But caretaker manager Darren Moore has picked up a beautiful feather for his cap in Manchester.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ander Herrera was denied an early penalty off a Romelu Lukaku feed, and United was very much on the front foot against Ben Foster and the Baggies.

Jesse Lingard thought he’d get a penalty for handball in the 64th minute, as the substitute tried to lead a United breakthrough.

Foster made an outstanding slap save on a Lukaku header in the 66th minute, and the Baggies dealt with a pair of ensuing efforts to keep it scoreless.

Lingard hammered a shot that took a slight turn off Chris Brunt, but it wasn’t spotted and West Brom got a goal kick.

Craig Dawson then headed a cross down to the center of the box, where Rodriguez dove to head an opener past David De Gea.

Foster collected a Chris Smalling header at the back post deep into stoppage time.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Three things we learned: Tottenham v Man City

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LONDON — Manchester City beat Tottenham 3-1 on Saturday to edge closer to the Premier League title.

A dominant display saw Pep Guardiola‘s men bounce back from three-straight defeats in style, with goals from Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling doing the damage, as they will soon be crowned as the Champions of England.

Here’s what we learned from Wembley.


CITY ANSWER CRITICS: BUT CAN THEY BE MORE CLINICAL?

After the week they’ve had, Pep Guardiola’s men showed plenty of guts to dominate the first half and they deserved to lead by more than one goal at half time. Still, they got the job done and now thy could seal the title on Sunday if (a big ‘if’) Man United lose at home to West Brom.

With 87 points on the board and 93 goals scored, City have shredded opponents time and again and their performance under the Saturday night lights summed up their two previous outings. Wonderful first half displays where they could have been home and dry but then they unnecessarily got themselves in trouble.

Raheem Sterling scored once but could have had four on Saturday, and that was the case against Man United last weekend in the shock 3-2 defeat after leading 2-0.

It seems ridiculous to say that City could be more clinical as they’ve scored 130 goals in all competitions this season, but given the sheer amount, and quality, of chances they create each game, the fact they’ve scored just six times in their last four outings is low, very low, for City.

They’ve missed Sergio Aguero big time with the Argentine suffering from a knee injury and out of the squad altogether on Saturday, with the jury still out as to whether Jesus can replace him long-term. The Brazilian shanked an effort badly wide in the second half when clean through and Sterling delayed his shot after rounding Lloris and then having another effort blocked wide. City are an unstoppable attacking  unit and they moved one win closer to the title, but they could’ve easily won by five or six on Saturday.


DE BRUYNE SHOWS POTY CLASS

Kevin De Bruyne may well win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award this season (the votes for that award where collected a while back before Mohamed Salah went on his amazing goalscoring spree) and it will be richly deserved.

Amid Salah’s recent heroics, KDB’s brilliant season has become somewhat of an afterthought but the Belgian midfielder ran the show at Wembley, particularly in the second half, as he danced around tackles and responded well to crunching tackles from Eric Dier and Dele Alli in particular.

De Bruyne doesn’t have any weaknesses and his full repertoire was on show on Saturday with flicks, driving runs, and majestic passes. KDB has been consistently excellent and although he may lose some of the POTY awards to Salah, he’s been at a higher level all season long and delivered once again against one of the big boys.

It is a joy to watch KDB in full flow.


LLORIS BECOMING A LIABILITY

Hugo Lloris has made big mistakes in each of his last three Premier League games. The apocalypse is nigh.

So often a bastion of reliability, Lloris is having perhaps the worst spell of his Tottenham career since he joined in 2012 from Lyon. The Spurs and French national team captain is not playing well but it shouldn’t cost Spurs their top four spot as they still have a seven point cushion over Chelsea with five games to go.

But this really isn’t a new thing. Before this game Hugo Lloris had made 5 defensive errors which led to goals, with only Petr Cech having more (6) in the PL. Yet when you think about it, which goalkeepers in the PL are better than Lloris? David De Gea, Ederson and Thibaut Courtois, and that’s about it. This seems to be nothing more than a small blip in form for the Frenchman but the variety of his mistakes (flapping at a cross to let Morata score for Chelsea, hitting the ball off Diouf against Stoke and then lunging into a tackle to give away a penalty) will be concerning.

Lloris, 31, is entering his prime as a goalkeeper and the quintessential sweeper keeper is always eager to launch himself off his line whenever he can, as he did earlier in the first half to great effect. It is too harsh to call Lloris a liability but with mistakes in each of his last three games you can feel Tottenham’s fans not being as confident as they once were as he let in Sterling in the second half, flapped a bit to let in Sterling for City’s third and was too close to call on some of his passes.

Not yet: Pogba leads Manchester Derby comeback

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  • Kompany heads City in front
  • Gundogan coolly makes it 2-0
  • WATCH: City’s goals
  • Pogba’s quickfire brace levels it
  • Alexis Sanchez involved in 3 goals
  • City fails to clinch title

It took 16 minutes for Manchester City’s day to go from celebrating the Premier League title to losing to a rival for the second time in a week.

Paul Pogba scored twice in 100 second-half seconds to put Manchester City’s title celebrations on pause, and Chris Smalling made amends for an early error to lead United to a 3-2 win over City on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.

Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan scored to stake City to a halftime lead. City can next win the league with a win at Tottenham next week accompanied by a Man Utd loss versus West Brom.

United is now 13 points behind City and four points ahead of Liverpool and Tottenham.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The home support at the Etihad was screaming for a penalty when a sliding Antonio Valencia saw a cross bound off his hand.

United earned a corner kick when Ederson played short to Vincent Kompany out of the box. The Belgian’s pass was picked off by a surging Red Devils press.

Paul Pogba had a few timely interventions in the center of the park, though one was unaided by his teammates and led to David Silva lashing over the goal.

David De Gea made a right leg stop when Bernardo Silva got a tame in-tight effort on goal.

The poetics of Kompany getting on the board in the 25th minute aren’t lost on the blue side of Manchester, and he thundered by Chris Smalling to smoke a header beyond De Gea despite a strong tug on the back of shirt.

An ethereal turn from Gundogan put the title on their lips, as he finished a 1-2 by slipping a goal inside the far post.

Raheem Sterling skied two good chances to make it 3-0 over the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It wouldn’t have been a Manchester Derby with a drama-free second half, but Pogba made sure it was chock full of fun.

First, the United midfielder ran into the box to collect an Ander Herrera chest pass of Alexis Sanchez’s cross, and it was less than four minutes later that he deftly headed Sanchez’s cross directly to make it 2-2.

Jesse Lingard dragged a shot wide in the 60th minute as United looked to complete the comeback, but the Red Devils found their 3-2 lead through Smalling when the defender raced onto Sanchez’s free kick in the 70th minute.

Now down to a rival for the second time in a week, Guardiola introduced Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus. Then Sergio Aguero, who nearly won a penalty when Young skittered into his ankle inside the box after knocking the ball away from the Argentine.

The game descended into a foul and banter festival for about five minutes, as Martin Atkinson handed out yellow cards to Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero, and Paul Pogba.

De Gea didn’t have his A-plus game, but made an A-plus save on Aguero in the 89th minute. And he made an outstanding save when Sterling plunked a ball off the post and back toward the goal line on the ensuing corner kick.

Mourinho hits out at Man United’s critics, again

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Jose Mourinho is adamant his team deserve to finish in second place in the Premier League this season.

And he really, really wants you to know they deserve to finish the best of the rest after Manchester City as they sit in second on 68 points, two points ahead of third-place Liverpool and four points ahead of fourth-place Tottenham with seven games to go.

A defeat at crosstown rivals Man City next weekend will see City clinch the PL title in what will be a bitter moment for Mourinho and United, but the Portuguese coach has repeatedly hit out at critics and at the weekend pointed to his club still being “in transition” and is happy with the progress they are making.

Speaking after United’s 2-0 win against Swansea City on Saturday, Mourinho revealed he is sick and tired of hearing how the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are better teams than Man United.

“Manchester City is not important for me. What is important to me is that since the moment we left the first position, we have been second for the whole of the season,” Mourinho said. “We deserve to finish second no matter what the critics say. You all say the teams in third, fourth, fifth and sixth are all better than us, but they are not better than us. We have more points than them. We are going to fight in the seven matches we have left to go to finish second.”

Of course, he’s right from a pure points standpoint. But can you really argue that Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal aren’t better to watch than United when they’re at their best?

United’s pragmatic style under Mourinho has been lambasted by pundits and fans but he is getting results and racking up points with David De Gea having another fine season in goal to cover up any of United’s defensive deficiencies. Only City have conceded fewer than United’s 23 in 31 PL games this season but City, Liverpool and Tottenham have all scored more goals than United to add more weight to the argument that they’re more entertaining teams to watch.

Look, United are good. They are making progress from their sixth-place finish last season (although that is a little skewed given how they basically gave up on the league and went all-in on the Europa League in the final months of the season) in Mourinho’s first campaign at Old Trafford.

Despite three trophies last season and a return to the UEFA Champions League knockout round, they just aren’t as good as Man City.

Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino continue to get plaudits for the way their teams play and Mourinho will not get that anytime soon due to his overly defensive tactics in multiple games this season, not least their shock UCL exit at the Round of 16 to Sevilla.

There’s no doubt that Mourinho will park the bus at Man City on Saturday to try and stop Guardiola’s side from winning the title, so perhaps he’s just getting ahead of the game. Because if United set up in a 5-4-1 formation at City next Saturday, the next few days will be dominate by talk of how Mourinho lacks ambition and United aren’t entertaining to watch.