Aston Villa’s Paul Lambert stops short of saying Luis Suarez dived

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Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert was quite sure about several things Saturday following his team’s well-earned 2-2 draw at Liverpool.

He was sure his team had been outstanding in holding the Premier League contenders to a draw, doing so at fabled Anfield, no less. and was absolutely certain he had seen some big performances from his men that day.

But when it came to the question of Luis Suarez’s integrity – My, oh my, haven’t we all been here before? – Lambert wasn’t quite so fast to deliver the hardball opinion on Liverpool’s habitually notorious striker. Lambert worked his way around the edges rather than biting right into the gooey center when asked about Saturday’s controversial, highly impactful penalty kick.

Liverpool’s second-half equalizer (Villa had taken a surprise 2-0 lead) came when Suarez crumbled beneath a Brad Guzan challenge. Replays showed minimal contact between Guzan, the U.S. international, and the high-scoring Uruguayan.

Lambert, a politician in the making, apparently, said a lot without actually saying it. What Lambert said in the post-game news conference:

I think Guzan pulled his arms away, I don’t think he … listen, it’s hard for the referee to judge it. But I’ve just seen the tape, and Brad has pulled his arms away.

So, does that mean Lambert believes Suarez took a deceptive spill?

I’ll let you say that … but my view is that he’s pulled his arms away. 

Mauricio Pochettino announced as new Chelsea boss

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Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has crossed the London divide and has agreed to join Chelsea as their new head coach.

Pochettino has signed a two-year contract (with the option of a third) at Stamford Bridge and the Argentine coach is back in the Premier League after a spell as Paris Saint-Germain manager where he won the Ligue 1 title during the 2021-22 season.

He brings Jesus Perez, Miguel d’Agostino, Toni Jimenez and Sebastiano Pochettino to Chelsea as his coaching staff.

[ MORE: Who should be next Chelsea boss? | Sterling brace in Forest draw ]

After a season of turmoil which ended in a lowly 12th-place finish under their new American ownership, Chelsea have taken their time to appoint a new permanent boss.

Thomas Tuchel and then Graham Potter were both fired and Frank Lampard was named as caretaker boss as things further spiralled out of control in the final months of the season.

Now they have Mauricio Pochettino in charge, Chelsea have a clear direction and it will be intriguing to see how Pochettino gets on back in the Premier League.


What is the main aim for Pochettino? – By Nick Mendola

Known for taking young talent to the next level, Pochettino would take over a Chelsea squad with plenty of it.

The Blues have added myriad u-23 aged players to their first team in recent seasons, including:

  • Benoit Badiashile (22)
  • Wesley Fofana (22)
  • Enzo Fernandez (22)
  • Mykhailo Mudryk (22)
  • Noni Madueke (21)
  • David Datro Fofana (20)
  • Joao Felix (loan, 23)

A good fit for the Blues? – By Joe Prince-Wright

On paper this all makes sense. Pochettino, Luis Enrique, Marco Silva, and Julian Nagelsmann had all been linked with the Chelsea job but Pochettino always seemed like the best fit.

Chelsea need structure and Pochettino and his staff provide it. They know the Premier League inside out and the work he did at Southampton and Tottenham are right up there among the best jobs in Premier League management over the last 10 years.

He is a coach who demands nothing but total commitment on the training pitch and loves to work with a small squad of players and develop young talent. So the first thing he will do is trim this squad and he now has a season without European competition to work them hard on the training ground and drill his ideology of intense, high-pressing football into the Chelsea squad.

Given the caliber of players that Chelsea have, and can buy, this is the chance Pochettino has been waiting for as his stint at PSG didn’t really work due to issues behind-the-scenes and with the playing squad.

Now we will get to see if Pochettino can take Chelsea’s expensively assembled squad and give them a structure to express themselves and get back to challenging for trophies and a top four finish (at the very least) in the Premier League.

PST’s Big 2022-23 Premier League Awards post

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The 2022-23 Premier League season featured so many shocks that even an outcome predicted by many wound up feeling a bit like one.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

When it comes to the official Premier League awards dished out, Erling Haaland was named the Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year awards. And rightly so. He set a new record for the most goals scored in a single Premier League season. Enough said.

Manchester City won its third-straight Premier League title after spending most of the season looking up at surprise package Arsenal, while almost everyone else had an unpredictable season.

Seriously, look at the table. Did you have Chelsea with the fourth-fewest goals in the league and the sixth-fewest wins? Did you have Tottenham entering the final week with Europe not assured? How about Liverpool needing a red-hot surge to likely finish fifth?

Did you have Newcastle, Brighton, and Brentford as season-long competitors for European places? How about Leicester City, West Ham, and Wolves as bottom-half for most of the campaign?

Twelve teams changed coaches at least once. The Premier League single-season goals record was smashed. Liverpool won games 7-0 (against Man Utd!) and 9-0 but lost by three or more goals thrice and twice went four matches without a win.

In other words, the Jim Halpert “What is going on?” gif was the unofficial sponsor of the 2022-23 season.

So who and what really were the best and worst parts of this wild and woolly season? Our lead writer Joe Prince-Wright was joined by Andy Edwards and Nick Mendola to pick everything from Best XI to Biggest Disappointment.


Goalkeeper of the Year

JPW: Nick Pope – Key man in Newcastle’s top four finish and made some stunning saves as the Magpies were so solid at the back.

Nick Mendola: Alisson Becker — Only Bernd Leno prevented more goals than the Liverpool backstop, and the Reds are currently more than 11 goals better than xGA.

Andy Edwards: David Raya


Defender of the Year

JPW: William Saliba – What a season from the French center back. Arsenal’s late-season collapse coincided with his injury and that tells you how important he is.

Nick Mendola: Saliba — Ruben Dias was the best part of the league’s best defense and Kieran Trippier a sexier pick, but Arsenal’s steep drop-off without Saliba says it all.

Andy Edwards: Kieran Trippier


Young Player (U23) of the Year

JPW: Bukayo Saka – Tore teams apart all season long and was unplayable at times. He and the other Arsenal youngsters are so in-sync.

Nick Mendola: Saka — Faded badly down the stretch but is still just 21 and reached double digits in goals and assists.

Andy Edwards: Bukayo Saka


Manager of the Year

JPW: Mikel Arteta – To go from 5th to 2nd is a huge leap and Arteta deserves huge praise for getting the Gunners back in the Premier League. With a deeper squad he can have them challenging for the title again.

Nick Mendola: Eddie Howe — Pep’s the best to do it (maybe ever), but Howe’s at least a year ahead of schedule by getting Newcastle into the Champions League. He kept the Magpies level while missing marquee signing Alexander Isak for November, December, and January. Newcastle only lost back-to-back league games once, and that was a Liverpool-Man City double whammy.

Andy Edwards: Eddie Howe


Best XI

JPW

Nick Pope

Kieran Trippier — William Saliba — Ruben Dias — Luke Shaw

Rodri — Kevin De Bruyne — Martin Odegaard

Bukayo Saka — Harry Kane

Erling Haaland

 

Nicholas Mendola

Alisson Becker

Kieran Trippier — Wiliam Saliba — Ruben Dias

Rodri — Bruno Guimaraes

Kevin De Bruyne — Martin Odegaard — Bukayo Saka

Harry Kane — Erling Haaland

 

Andy Edwards

David Raya

Kieran Trippier — Manuel Akanji — Ben Mee — Fabian Schar

Bruno Guimaraes — Kevin De Buryne — Martin Odegaard

Bukayo Saka — Erling Haaland — Harry Kane


Player of the Year

JPW: Erling Haaland – Who else!? Broke the Premier League goalscoring record and was the missing piece of the jigsaw for City. A machine.

Nick Mendola: Erling Haaland — This could’ve been Martin Odegaard until Arsenal’s flame-out, as the Gunners went away with a whimper.

Andy Edwards: Erling Haaland


Non-Erling Haaland Player of the Year

JPW: Bukayo Saka

Nick Mendola: Toss-up between Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah. So… Rodri.

Andy Edwards: Bukayo Saka


Best Performance on a Relegation-Threatened or Relegated Side

JPW: Romeo Lavia – The teenager is a star in the making and will surely leave relegated Southampton and get snapped up by one of the top six this summer. 19 years of age and already a Belgian international, Lavia is going to the very top.

Nick Mendola: Amadou Onana — It might’ve been Tyler Adams had the American not been injured, but Onana was all-action and will fetch a king’s ransom even if Everton fall at the last hurdle.

Andy Edwards: James Maddison


Goal of the Year

JPW: Kaoru Mitoma for Brighton at Leicester. Amazing skill to cut inside and what a finish. One of the players of the season (along with fellow Seagulls Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister) as Brighton stunned everyone to qualify for Europe.

Nick Mendola: There have been some sensational bits of teamwork and some dazzlers from distance, and I’m going for the latter as unexpected rocket launcher Michael Keane let fly a knuckling and vicious late equalizer for Everton vs Tottenham.

Andy Edwards: Ivan Toney’s third goal of his hat trick versus Leeds on Sept. 6.


Best Signing not named Erling Haaland

JPW: Joao Palhinha – His importance to Fulham is huge and one of the best holding midfielders in the Premier League. The Cottagers will do well to keep hold of the Portuguese midfielder this summer.

Nick Mendola: Gabriel Jesus deserves a mention and Sven Botman is right there, but it’s Casemiro for me. The pair of red cards aside, he changed the entire feel of what it meant to for opponents to see Manchester United on the fixture list.

Andy Edwards: Casemiro


Club of the Year

JPW: Brighton – To finish in the European spots after losing Graham Potter early in the season is some achievement. And to do it the way they play with free-flowing, exciting and attacking football is even better. Roberto De Zerbi added a cutting edge to their attacking play and even though Brighton will lose plenty of stars this summer, their recruitment has been sensational and owner Tony Bloom has created the model club. Any young player on the planet will now want to sign for Brighton.

Nick Mendola: Brighton — Shouldn’t this say Man City? Maybe, but the Seagulls were forced to find a replacement for Graham Potter and nailed it, getting career seasons out of Pascal Gross and Solly March, turning Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister into the most-desired midfield duo in England, and even unveiling Kaoru Mitoma and Evan Ferguson as its next stars through the market and academy, respectively.

Andy Edwards: Brighton and Hove Albion


Favorite Moment of the Season

JPW: Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal – Title favorites squaring off in what felt like a decider and superstars dazzled for City.

Nick Mendola: The first Manchester derby of the year probably should be the date we agree the season arrived upon us. Manchester United had won four-straight after a slow start for Erik ten Hag and there wasn’t a pair of eyes in the Premier League that weren’t trained upon this one. That’s when Erling Haaland had three goals and two assists to tell the league to forget about the Golden Boot and Manchester that any red tide would need to wait a while.

Andy Edwards: Harry Kane scoring his 267th goal to become Tottenham’s record scorer.


Biggest Disappointment of the Season

JPW: Leicester City – From pushing for the top 4, being in Europe and winning the FA Cup to  basically relegation with pretty much the same squad. Huge season of underachievement.

Nick Mendola: The Big Six. You could make a case for three of the traditional big boys and maybe even four considering whatever Arsenal’s been doing since early April. Did you know the Gunners are no longer top two in expected points? Whether Liverpool’s mentality slippage and excuse making, Chelsea’s whirlwind everything, or Tottenham’s shocking waste of Harry Kane (and maybe Antonio Conte), well… wow.

Andy Edwards: Everything about Tottenham’s season that wasn’t Harry Kane breaking the club scoring record.


Biggest Headscratcher of the Year

JPW: Tottenham – From Antonio Conte’s meltdown to Harry Kane’s brilliance and so many superb and awful displays intertwined, the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde team in the Premier League. No idea what they were going to churn out from one week to the next.

Nick Mendola: Chelsea — Here are the teams to win fewer matches than the Blues with one matchday left: Forest, Leicester, Leeds, Everton, Southampton. We had questions after the ownership change meant unplanned exits for Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger, and more after Chelsea bought more than a dozen $10M-plus players and only uncovered one who will 100% definitely be a part of the big picture (Enzo Fernandez. We would’ve included Marc Cucurella but he’s reportedly unsettled).

Andy Edwards: Leicester sticking with Brendan Rodgers until April with relegation looming large.


Worst Sacking of the Season

JPW: Ralph Hasenhuttl – Southampton hadn’t backed Hasenhuttl in the transfer market for almost four years and the first time they did, they gave him 14 games with a group of talented youngsters. He had done a great job to steady the ship amid lack of investment and the new owners, Sport Republic, should have given him longer to turn things around and work with new recruits in the January window. What a mess Saints were as they hired and fired Nathan Jones and then basically were resigned to their fate when appointing assistant coach Ruben Selles. They now need to hit the reset button in a big way (Burnley style) in the Championship.

Nick Mendola: How to pick just one? Thomas Tuchel’s firing didn’t pan out for Chelsea, and Joe’s correct that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s dismissal wasn’t the answer, but at the risk of sounding biased I’m going with Jesse Marsch. The 49-year-old American was fired less than a week after the January transfer window slammed shut and even if you believe he needed to go, the club did not have a replacement ready for three matches. Eventually hiring Javi Gracia to solidify their defending, Leeds has kept a clean sheet on his debut, a 1-0 win over Southampton, and has not repeated the trick again.

Andy Edwards: Antonio Conte, for how long it took

Everton beat Bournemouth to save themselves from relegation

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LIVERPOOL – Everton saved themselves from a first-ever Premier League relegation on the final day of the season, as Abdoulaye Doucoure was the hero with his stunning winner against Bournemouth.

That sound you can hear is Everton fans exhaling.

FULL MATCH REPLAY

At half time Leicester were winning against West Ham which meant Everton were being relegated for the first time in the PL era and their hopes of extending their incredible top-flight active streak to 70-straight seasons were in real danger. Goodison was full of boos and images of doom at the final whistle.

But Doucoure smashed home a stunning goal with just over 30 minutes to go to send Goodison Park wild as Bournemouth pushed hard for an equalizer late on but Everton held on and got the win they needed to stay up.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Sean Dyche was a relieved man at the final whistle as Everton won five of his 17 games in charge to keep their pride top-flight history intact despite growing turmoil behind-the-scenes at the club.

 


Toffees shake off slow start to save themselves

They were set up with five at the back from the start and it was too negative. Dyche got it right though. All they needed was one loose ball to drop to the right onrushing central midfielder and it did in the second half as Doucoure hammered home. It was a brilliant finish in what wasn’t a brilliant game. But Everton and Dyche don’t care. With loads of injuries they found a way to get it done and the history books show that Everton have still never been relegated from the Premier League and only Arsenal have a longer active top-flight streak as they will be playing at England’s top table next season, their 70th consecutive at the top level. Off the pitch there are financial issues to solve which could impact them next season but Dyche has done his job and if Everton are smart they should give him the tools to rip things up and rebuild the squad. Just staying up like this can’t happen again to Everton. They said that last season but look what happened. This time they have to make sure they are never in the relegation scrap again. A club of Everton’s size should never be in this situation.


Sean Dyche: Everton proved they aren’t a broken club


Jordan Pickford: Toffees have to repay the fans


Everton’s hero Abdoulaye Doucoure: Hard to explain emotions


Stars of the show; Everton vs Bournemouth player ratings

Abdoulaye Doucoure: Scored a beauty to be the hero and was brilliant in midfield.

Mark Travers: Made some really good punches and clearances.

Alex Iwobi: Showed real leadership and character to dig in deep. Brilliant.

James Tarkowski: A man mountain at the back, clearing everything Bournemouth chucked at Everton late on.

Everton vs Bournemouth
Graphic via FotMob.com

How to watch Everton vs Bournemouth live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11:30am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Everton vs Bournemouth live analysis! – By Joe Prince-Wright at Goodison Park 

THEY HAVE DONE IT! EVERTON HAVE SURVIVED! FULL TIME: EVERTON 1-0 BOURNEMOUTH – It is party time here at Goodison.

SAVE! Jordan Pickford makes a fine save to deny a volley from Vina.

10 minutes of stoppage time. 10!

Bournemouth have a free kick as the clock ticks into the 90th minute…

Everton are doing their best to hang out but they are dropping deep. Bournemouth having a go. After Pickford was down for a wild getting treatment, there will be a lot of stoppage time.

GOALLLL! Everton 1-0 Bournemouth – Goodison Park has gone bonkers. Abdoulaye Doucoure smashes home a stunner to put the Toffees ahead.

WHAT A CHANCE! A free kick is flicked on and it falls to Demarai Gray 6 yards out. He heads it straight at Travers. Then Bournemouth somehow scramble clear. The home fans can’t believe it.

The second half is underway. No changes for Everton. It is very tense here.

HALF TIME: Everton 0-0 Bournemouth – Half time here at their are loud boos from the home fans.

SAVE! Mark Travers with a good punch away and he then pushes over James Garner’s curling shot from the edge of the box.

BLOCK! What a block from Yerry Mina after Bournemouth made the most of some poor Everton defending. Excellent from David Brooks there.

You get the sense things were very defensive from the start from Sean Dyche as he stated with a back five.

CLOSE! Senesi squirms a shot wide of the far post after Bournemouth cause havoc in the box. The atmosphere is very, very quite here.

First, as it stands of today – Leicester City have gone 1-0 up against West Ham. With Everton drawing here at Goodison against Bournemouth, that means the Toffees are going down. Chants of “going down, going down!” from the Bournemouth fans in the away end. Everton’s fans are stunned.

BIG CHANCEEE! Idrissa Gana Gueye is played in but his shot is tipped over. Should be 1-0 to Everton. Moments later Travers tips away a shot from distance

A cross is whipped into the box but there isn’t an Everton player anywhere near it. Huge roars of discontent from the home fans. They want more attacking intent from their team.

The home fans are driving their team on. Everton seeing a lot of the ball but it is mostly from wide positions.

Demarai Gray with a half chance as he wriggles free but his shot/cross is cleared at the near post.

KICK OFF! We are underway and it has been a tense start. Everton’s fans are urging their team on but they’re in a back five. Bournemouth have had some good chances to whip it in from the right but the quality hasn’t been there on the final ball.

The nerves continue to build here at Goodison. 45 minutes until kick off. Everton fans just want to get this started. This has to be excruciating for them. Meanwhile in the away end the Bournemouth fans are having a lovely time in the sun. Completely opposite atmosphere.

As we sit in the press box in the main stand at Goodison, you can hear a wall of noise approaching the stadium from every angle. Great atmosphere building here.

Team news is out and there are two changes for Everton as Conor Coady comes in for the injured Nathan Patterson. Demarai Gray starts up top in place of the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Looks like Coady is at right back and McNeil is at left back. Bournemouth are without captain and star goalkeeper Neto who misses out due to personal reasons.

Hello and welcome to Goodison Park, where the nerves are jangling, the sun is shining and the flares are plentiful! The equation is simple for Everton: win and they will stay up. Lose or draw and their safety is out of their hands. Get ready for an intense few hours.


Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Everton have really been through it with injuries in recent weeks and the fact that Calvert-Lewin is once again struggling means that Dyche may play without a recognized striker on the final day. Defensively they have issues at full back but they have hung in there and the home crowd has inspired them on several occasions as they are within one win of safety.

Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto has been exceptional, so too has Dominic Solanke and Dango Ouattara at the other end of the pitch as there has been a really nice balance about the Cherries over the last few months as they stayed up without much stress in the end. In the reverse game in November Bournemouth beat Everton 3-0 to spark ugly scenes in the away end as the Everton fans turned on their players and demanded and were hugely disappointed with the display.


Everton team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Seamus Coleman (hamstring), Dele Alli (groin), Ruben Vinagre (achilles), Andros Townsend (knee), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh), Nathan Patterson (thigh), Tom Davies (thigh), Vitalii Mykolenko (thigh), Ben Godfrey (groin)

Bournemouth team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Antoine Semenyo (leg), Ryan Fredericks (calf), Junior Stanislas (other), Joe Rothwell (thigh), Hamed Traore (ankle), Marcus Tavernier (thigh), Neto (personal reasons)


Premier League final table: Final standings for 2022-23 season

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If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

After the break for the 2022 World Cup, the Premier League returned with a bang and the start to 2023 delivered plenty of fun and it continued into the business end of the season.

Manchester City chased down Arsenal to win yet another Premier League title. Manchester United’s new-look side reclaimed a place in the top four, and so did Newcastle. Brighton and Aston Villa surprised by qualifying for Europe, while Liverpool dips into an unusual competition for its recent standards.

Teams were relegated. Managers were sacked. And here’s how the table looked when all was said and done.


Premier League final table – End of season

Premier League standings

NBC Sports’ standings and scoreboard



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