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Tottenham’s Emmanuel Adebayor fails to report for international duty with Togo

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Once a dynamic goalscorer in the Premier League, Emmanuel Adebayor’s career has taken a dramatic downturn in the past few years.

Yesterday, the 31-year-old striker was essentially cut from Tottenham, being left off of Spurs’ roster for the PL and the Europa League. Adebayor is currently in the last season of his contract, which pays him about $150,000 a week, and Spurs were unable to offload him over the transfer window.

[ RELATED: EURO 2016 qualifying roundup ]

Today, he did not show up for international duty with Togo, who defeated Djibouti 2-0 in AFCON qualifiers without the country’s all-time leading goalscorer.

A Togo official told Sky Sports that there was no contact between the player and the federation about his no-show, saying “He has not given us a reason. He was in the squad but he has just not shown up.”

Adebayor had his captaincy taken away from him earlier this year after having a fall-out with Togo’s manager Tom Saintfiet, after which the striker questioned if he would return to play for the national team.

[ EXCLUSIVE: JPW sits down with U.S. Olympic coach Andi Herzog to talk Rio 2016 & more ]

Recently he has been training with Tottenham’s reserves, as no teams were willing to pay his massive wages on a player that hasn’t been in form for quite some time.

It looks as if Adebayor is happy to not play and continue collecting paychecks, as he reportedly gets chauffeured to training with the reserves in a Rolls Royce everyday, seemingly flaunting his wages in Tottenham’s face.

Failing to show up for national team duty is not only ridiculously unprofessional, but is almost never heard of as playing for your country is one of the highest honors a player can receive. Adebayor’s Premier League career is all but over, and it looks possible he could be on his way out of football for good.

VIDEO: Cicerone scores another screamer in college soccer

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Russell Cicerone is a top talent in collegiate soccer.

And goals like this will continue to enhance his reputation.

[ MORE: Chicharito says goodbye to United ]

Cicerone, a junior midfielder at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB to most people), trained with the Columbus Crew over the offseason and scored for their reserve squad, making a positive impression in Major League Soccer circles.

The video below shows the Michigan native hammering in a stupendous free kick from over 35-yards out in UB’s 4-2 win over city rivals Canisius on Wednesday.

And just in case his name rings a bell, he is the same Russell Cicerone who scored an overtime winner from the halfway line last season to end a game in dramatic fashion. Take another look at that, here. 

It’s safe to say we will be seeing a lot more of this kid at the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, and beyond.

How did David de Gea’s move to Real Madrid collapse? Here’s a few answers

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After a dramatic evening on Monday which saw Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea have his hopes of a late move to Real Madrid dashed at the final moment, we are still trying to piece together exactly why the deal wasn’t concluded.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ]

De Gea, 24, has one-year left on his current United deal and will be able to sign a new contract with non-English teams in January ahead of a free transfer next summer. Many believe Real will now hold out until next summer to rubber-stamp DDG’s arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu, while others smell something a little fishy with this last minute collapse and believe maybe Real are getting their own back on United after Fabio Coentrao’s late move to United from Real collapsed two years ago. Who knows.

[ PL Playback: It’s time to change the rules of the transfer window ]

Let’s take a look at what we do know and try to decipher whether or not this deal is capable of being salvaged in the coming hours, as Real Madrid have since released their version of events. 

It’s best to break this down in a timeline of events, as a crazy evening unfolded with the Spanish transfer deadline occurring at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, 24 hours before the deadline in England.

  • Real Madrid agree to pay $40 million for De Gea
  • De Gea is in Madrid at his girlfriends house (currently on international duty with Spains), is said to have already ordered a new suit for his unveiling at Madrid on Tuesday
  • Keylor Navas is said to be moving in the opposite direction, but is unhappy with certain parts of contract, forcing changes
  • Contrary to initial reports, United file paperwork to FIFA via the digital TMS system (no paperwork here) on time
  • Reports say Real Madrid received paperwork but format was incorrect, couldn’t complete in time
  • Another reports say La Liga never received paperwork from Real asking to add De Gea to their squad
  • An appeal to FIFA and UEFA from both clubs was likely, however La Liga unlikely to back Real as paperwork was not filed so the Spaniards appear to have given up, leaving both players in limbo

Premier League Playback: How can Manchester United get best out of Wayne Rooney?

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ROONEY DILEMMA CONTINUES

Wayne Rooney has scored just four times in his last 22 appearances for Manchester United in the Premier League.

[ WATCH: Stream every PL game via Live Extra

He is their captain, talisman and should be their biggest goal threat. However, Rooney has come under plenty of criticism in the opening three weekends of the new PL season and after hitting back at critics last week, he put in another lackluster display against Newcastle United during his team’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The big question remains: how can Louis van Gaal get the best out of Rooney?

As the stat above suggests, Rooney has been out of form in front of goal for a while and it seems to be playing on his mind. When he scored for United after five minutes against Newcastle but was flagged offside, despite replays proving he was level with the last defender when the ball was played, that summed up the way things have been going for him. You could argue that he is putting the team first and doing whatever he can to make sure they win, over personal glory, but after spending spells in midfield last season and then up top in the lone forward role this year, Rooney looks a shadow of his former self. Knowing him, the 29-year-old will come back and score a hat trick in United’s next PL game against Swansea on Sunday, as he always seems to answer his critics during a rough spell. But there is perhaps a simple answer as to how Rooney can snap out of this funk.

He is, and always has been, a maverick. A player who cannot be shackled down in one position and prefers to float around and help knit the attack and midfield together. Rooney’s best trait is finding space in and around the box and driving at defenders. Under van Gaal’s strict formations and belief in a team-first ethic, Rooney has struggled to find those gaps and especially when playing as the lone forward, he does not have license to drop deep and get involved but has to stay high and can be marked easily.

[ MORE: Standings | schedule | stats ] 

You could argue that Memphis Depay, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj have yet to deliver chances for Rooney to finish, but I’d argue that Rooney is being played out of position. True, there was a huge outcry of disbelief when Rooney was played in central midfield by van Gaal last season, but playing him in-between midfield and attack is the perfect position. If you look at his best season’s for United, he has played as a second-striker behind the likes of Robin van Persie, Ruud van Nistelrooy and even Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez. He has also been in tandem with Cristiano Ronaldo, and the point I’m trying to make is that he’s always had a partner in crime. He doesn’t have that at United anymore. Not yet, anyway.

Premier League Schedule – Week 3

Result Recap & Highlights
Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool Recap and watch here
C. Palace 2-1 Aston Villa Recap and watch here
Everton 0-2 Man City Recap and watch here
Leicester 1-1 Tottenham Recap and watch here
Man United 0-0 N’castle Recap and watch here
Norwich 1-1 Stoke City Recap and watch here
Sunderland 1-1 Swansea Recap and watch here
Watford 0-0 Saints Recap and watch here
West Brom 2-3 Chelsea Recap and watch here
West Ham 3-4 B’mouth Recap and watch here

Van Gaal should sacrifice one of Depay, Januzaj or Mata and play Rooney as the central attacking midfielder in his 4-2-3-1 formation. Starting either Depay or Hernandez up top for Rooney to run off and link up with could help him snap out of his funk. At the very least it may open up space for others to score, as United have looked solid at the back with three clean sheets from their opening three games, but Januzaj’s deflected effort against Aston Villa is the only goal they have scored on their own as Kyle Walker’s own goal on the opening day handed them the win over Tottenham.

For spells against Newcastle they looked better going forward, but Rooney was snatching at shots and struggled before being subbed out in the second half. United look a lot better defensively this season, but if they want to challenge for the title, they must figure out how to get the best out of their star man.

GRITTY CHELSEA REIGNITED BY PEDRO

Overcoming adversity is a major trait of a championship winning team and on Sunday’s showing, Chelsea will be right up there once again to defend their title.

[ NBC SportsWorld: A longform piece with Thibaut Courtois ]

Thibaut Courtois saved James Morrison’s first half penalty kick when it was 0-0, then the Blues raced into a 3-1 lead at half time thanks to the arrival of their new Spanish winger. Pedro Rodriguez, 28, stunned everyone by picking Chelsea over Manchester United at the last minute and the former Barcelona star scored the opener and set up Diego Costa for the second to slot right into life in the PL. His $34 million arrival at Stamford Bridge seemed to give Chelsea’s players a lift, especially going forward in the first half. For Cesar Azpilicueta’s goal, the left back scored Chelsea’s third, look at the stat below on the passing movement which set him up. That’s more like the Chelsea we saw early last season.

Sometimes it only takes one player to reignite an offense, and Pedro’s arrival could well get the best out of Costa, Eden Hazard and even Cesc Fabregas, as an attacking unit. Chelsea actually started more Spanish internationals (Costa, Fabregas, Azpilicueta, Pedro) than Real Madrid last weekend and that familiarity with his national team teammates could help Pedro slot in seamlessly this season. With John Terry getting sent off in the second half and Chelsea conceding soon after to make it 3-2, they had to hang on with 10-men for over 30 minutes. But they did, and Jose Mourinho’s side showed they could fight back after extreme criticism to grab their first win of the season after a difficult last 10 days on and off the pitch.

DRAMATIC DRAWS AND WATER BREAKS

It was a weekend full of tense, tight action in the PL as six draws took place in the 10 games. On Saturday sweltering temperatures in England (that’s 86 degrees) saw water breaks take place in most PL games. This was met by much derision from fans, especially in the United States of America, but in fairness the recorded temps were over 85 degrees in the shade in most places and with the sun beating down and huge stadiums packed, the actual temperatures had to be closer to 100 Fahrenheit. Still, this guy wasn’t impressed…

Drinks breaks in both halves of the Saturday games not only helped the players to cool down but also set up dramatic finishes, with Leicester first conceding to Spurs in the 80th minute (19-year-old Dele Alli scored his first-ever PL goal) but then Riyad Mahrez scored a screamer a minute later to tie it up and keep the Foxes unbeaten. Other draws caught the eye with Sunderland pegging back Swansea in the second half at the Stadium of Light — Jermain Defoe canceled out Bafetimbi Gomis’ strike in eerily similar fashion — while Norwich fought back to tie Stoke at home. But the result of the day on Saturday was Bournemouth’s sensational 4-3 win away at West Ham United, their first victory, points and goals in the PL.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news

Callum Wilson scored a hat trick for the Cherries who raced into a 2-0 lead but were pegged back to 2-2 just after half time. Bournemouth then raced into a 4-2 lead and the Hammers had Carl Jenkinson sent off, but despite conceding another late on, Eddie Howe’s side celebrated at the final whistle in the “blistering” heat in London.

As an Englishman who lives in London, I can tell you 86 degrees and sunshine is very, very rare, plus very, very hot for anybody who is used to the weather in England. Honestly.

USMNT UPDATE: BAD WEEKEND FOR AMERICANS ABROAD

It was not the best weekend for the Americans Abroad as only one player avoided defeat. Geoff Cameron played the full 90 minutes at center back for Stoke City for the third-straight game but the Potters gave up an early lead to draw at Norwich City, 1-1. The two USMNT goalkeepers in action both tasted defeat, with Tim Howard’s Everton losing 2-0 at home to Manchester City and Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa losing 2-1 at Crystal Palace.

Howard will be disappointed at Aleksandar Kolarov firing home from a tight angle at his near post for City’s first, but he could do nothing about Samir Nasri’s delicate chip for the second and made some great stops to deny the Citizens on multiple occasions. As for Guzan, he got close to keeping out Bakary Sako’s curler but Villa has now lost two-straight since winning on the opening day.

Premier League Playback comes out every week as PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here

Premier League Sunday preview: Everton host Man City; Chelsea, Saints also in action

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League action kicks off with the defending champions, Chelsea, who find themselves mired in struggles and controversy — for right now, at least — at the start of the 2015-16 season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s full PL roundup ]

Sunday’s schedule finishes up with the last side not named Chelsea to win the PL title, just two years ago, Manchester City, who just last week put a real hurting on the Blues. We’re also still in the process of getting to know one of the newly promoted sides, Watford, who are set to face last year’s Cinderella side, Southampton.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Chelsea — 8:30 am ET, on USA and Live Extra

Chelsea come into Week 3 the talk of the PL, but for all the wrong reasons. Not only did they lose 3-0 to Man City last week, but manager Jose Mourinho continues to create unwanted and unflattering headlines for the club and his team. Since it’ll be fun to say the following and unlikely to happen for a very long time again: Chelsea currently occupy 18th place in the Premier League, which is the third and final relegation place. West Brom are one spot below them, also on one point from two games.

The Blues are expected to be without midfielder Oscar for a second straight game, while while West Brom have no new injuries to report (goalkeeper remains out following knee surgery last season). The home side won each of these two sides’ meetings last season (2-0 at Stamford Bridge and 3-0 at The Hawthorns), though West Brom’s victory came after Chelsea had already clinched the league title.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays | Standings | Stats ]

Everton vs. Manchester City — 10:30 am ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

While Chelsea toil away at the bottom of the table (for the time being), no one is flying higher than Man City, who are one of two teams (Liverpool) possess a 100 percent win record to go along with their league-leading +6 goal differential after two games. A return to grace for captain Vincent Kompany (two goals and two clean sheets in two games) has City firing on all cylinders these early days. On the other side, life is pretty good for Everton, as Roberto Martinez’s side has returned to its expected region of the league table, currently seventh, after struggling to an 11th-place finish a season ago.

Fabian Delph (hamstring) remains out of Manuel Pellegrini’s squad and it was announced this week that Pablo Zabaleta would miss close to a month with a knee injury. Meanwhile, the Toffees will be without Leighton Baines and Aiden McGeady. Man City took four points from their two meetings with Everton last season, winning 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 at Goodison Park.

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via Live Extra | Premier League all-access  ]

Watford vs. Southampton — 11 am ET, on Live Extra

Will this be a season of regressing to the mean for Southampton, who finished seventh a campaign ago (currently 17 with one point from two games), or can they establish themselves as a perennial top-half team? One stumbling block this year will undoubtedly be Europa League fixtures Thursday nights and league games being played on Sundays, as is the case this week. For Watford, a pair of draws (2-2 away to Everton and 0-0 at home against West Brom) have been a very good platform for Quique Flores’ bunch to build on in their first season back in the PL.

Saints will once against be without midfielder Jordy Clasie (hamstring) and defender Ryan Bertrand (knee), while the Hornets have a mostly clean bill of health. It’s been almost four years since these two sides last met in the Championship.