2014-15 Premier League season review: PST’s Best XI of the Season

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All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2014-15 Premier League season. From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the 380 games as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

[ ARCHIVE: All of PST’s PL season reviews ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, we crown our Best XI of the Season.

Here’s what our writers had to say about their selections…

Joe Prince-Wright selects…

David De Gea; Nathaniel Clyne, John Terry, Jose Fonte, Ryan Bertrand; Eden Hazard, Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho, Nemanja Matic; Harry Kane, Diego Costa

Had to selects De Gea who had a phenomenal season for United. Three of Southampton’s back four get the nod, while John Terry leads the back line. His reading of the game and leadership is something that just can’t be taught. I’ve gone for a loaded midfield with Nemanja Matic sitting in to allow Hazard, Sanchez and Coutinho to attack. Up top, Sergio Aguero is unlucky to miss out but I think Kane and Costa would be one heck of a partnership. Bruisers.

Nick Mendola selects…

David De Gea; Ashley Williams , Martin Skrtel, Jose Fonte; Santi Cazorla, Yaya Toure, Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic; Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane

I considered trumping my own XI from a month ago by inserting Daley Blind and/or David Silva in place of Fabregas and/or Toure, but the fact is that second-guessing is often the wrong route. John Terry, Philippe Coutinho and Alexis Sanchez fall victim to the numbers game, and Wilfried Bony’s move to Manchester City costs him here.

Kyle Bonn selects…

De Gea; Fonte, Terry, Ivanovic; Hazard, Coutinho, Matic, Cazorla, Alexis; Aguero, Kane.

Tough on Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, but there’s more than renough Chelsea blue to go around. The two Gunners on here also had seasons to remember, and should be the focal point of their title challenge next year.

Andy Edwards selects…

Thibaut Courtois; John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Pablo Zabaleta, Nathaniel Clyne; Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic, Santi Cazorla; Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane

Kyle Lynch selects…

David De Gea; Ryan Bertrand, Jose Fonte, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic; Santi Cazorla, David Silva, Nemanja Matic, Eden Hazard; Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero

De Gea was a rock for Manchester United, while the Southampton and Chelsea back lines continuously shut down opposing attackers. Cazorla, Silva and Hazard are all wizards in the midfield, while Matic sneakily could have been Chelsea’s most important player. Up top, it’s the men who scored more goals than anyone else.

Duncan Day selects…

David De Gea; Nathaniel Clyne, Jose Fonte, John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta; Alexis Sanchez, David Silva, Ander Herrera, Eden Hazard; Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa

A Chelsea-heavy lineup, and Harry Kane would be the dangerous substitute at forward. Fabian Delph is also on the bench, ready to go early perhaps, based on how the midfield performs.

Italy women’s team awarded for ’emancipating’ female game

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ROME (AP) The Italy women’s national soccer team was awarded the Foreign Press Association’s Invictus award Monday for promoting and “emancipating” the female game in the country with its run to the World Cup quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Sheffield United beat Arsenal with stellar defensive display (video) ]

Head coach Milena Bertolini and forward Barbara Bonansea were given the award during a ceremony at the Rome-based association.

With soccer dominated by men in Italy and few opportunities for girls, Bertolini recounted how she had to dress up as a boy to play as a kid.

“Now things are changing, thanks to the Italian federation’s school programs,” Bertolini said.

Bertolini and Bonansea lamented that female players are still not considered professionals and therefore are not permitted to earn more than $33,500 per year by Italian law.

“It’s not about the money, it’s a question of rights,” said Bonansea, who also plays for Italian champion Juventus.

[ MORE: Referee officials explain VAR decision on Rashford goal ]

While Italy’s men’s team is a four-time World Cup champion, the women had not played in a World Cup for two decades and entered as a prohibitive underdog during its opening match against Australia in France in June. But the Azzurre came back from a goal down for a 2-1 win courtesy of Bonansea’s two scores , with her second coming in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

“That goal shaped our World Cup, both in terms of results and in terms of promoting women’s soccer in Italy,” Bertolini said. “The strong emotions on the field were transmitted to everyone who was watching. I still get goosebumps now just thinking about that goal.”

The Azzurre went on to win their group then beat China in the first knockout round before losing to eventual finalist the Netherlands.

In a country of 60 million people, a total of more than 20 million spectators watched Italy’s five matches on RAI state TV, setting audience records for women’s soccer game after game.

The Invictus award is dedicated to “promoting the positive effects of sports in terms of integration and emancipation by the vulnerable sections of society.”

UCL preview: Spurs desperate for a win; Man City host Atalanta

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By the end of the week, we’ll be at the halfway point of the UEFA Champions League group stage, and while some Premier League clubs (Manchester City and Liverpool) are currently in rather strong positions, a couple others (Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea) have some serious work to do to rescue their respective campaigns.

[ MORE: Sheffield United beat Arsenal with stellar defensive display (video) ]

Tottenham’s start to the group stage has gone about as poorly as it could have done, considering the positions in which they’ve found themselves early in games. Going from 2-0 up to a 2-2 draw away to Olympiacos was bad enough, but going from 1-0 up to a 7-2 home defeat to Bayern Munich was the real demoralizer.

Now, last year’s UCL runners-up find themselves third in the group with just one point. However, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side is set for a back-to-back home-and-away with (presumed) doormat Red Star Belgrade, beginning Tuesday when the Serbian side visits the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs will continue to be without goalkeeper Hugo Lloris following his dislocated elbow, while midfielders Christian Eriksen and Giovani Lo Celso are back in full training and expected to be available for selection. Tanguay Ndombele was only involved as a second-half sub during Spurs’ draw with last-place Watford over the weekend, so he is likely to return to the starting lineup.

[ MORE: Referee officials explain VAR decision on Rashford goal ]

Man City, meanwhile, are coming off a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace and feeling a renewed sense of PL title contention after Liverpool dropped their first points of the season. While a domestic three-peat is undoubtedly high on the list of priorities for Pep Guardiola‘s side, it’s probably safe to assume that breaking though in the UCL is the main objective for 2019-20. Since Guardiola took over at the Etihad Stadium, City have reached the quarterfinals twice and the round of 16 once. Under the direction of Manuel Pellegrini, City reached the semifinals the season before Guardiola’s arrival.

Outside of long-term knees injuries to Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane, City have a clean bill of health.

Tuesday’s full UEFA Champions League schedule

Atletico Madrid v. Bayer Leverkusen — 12:55 p.m. ET
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Dinamo Zagreb — 12:55 p.m. ET

Tottenham Hotspur v. Red Star Belgrade — 3 p.m. ET
Manchester City v. Atalanta — 3 p.m. ET
Galatasaray v. Real Madrid — 3 p.m. ET
Juventus v. Lokomotive Moscow — 3 p.m. ET
Brugge v. Paris Saint-Germain — 3 p.m. ET
Olympiacos v. Bayern Munich

The 2 Robbies podcast: Man United 1-1 Liverpool; Struggles in North London

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe review the key results from Matchweek 9 in the Premier League focusing on Manchester United and Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford (0:50). The chaps also discuss Manchester City’s win at Crystal Palace (16:50), Arsenal’s defeat at Sheffield United (23:25), Tottenham’s draw at home to Watford (35:25) and debate who currently is the 3rd best team in the Premier League (42:05). Finally, the guys name their under-appreciated performances of the weekend (50:50).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

FA Cup qualifier to be replayed after team walks off for racist abuse

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LONDON (AP) The FA Cup qualifying match between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town that was abandoned following racist abuse will be replayed next week.

[ MORE: Sheffield United beat Arsenal with stellar defensive display (video) ]

The Football Association said Monday that the match will be replayed from the start on Oct. 29 at Haringey’s home ground.

Saturday’s game saw the players walk off in the 64th minute, shortly after Yeovil had gone 1-0 up via a penalty. Haringey officials said after the game that its Cameroonian goalkeeper Valery Pajetat and defender Coby Rowe had both been targeted by racial abuse by visiting fans.

London police said they had arrested two men, age 23 and 26, on Monday on suspicion of racially aggravated common assault in connection with the incident.

[ MORE: Referee officials explain VAR decision on Rashford goal ]

The FA said: “Following the incident in the original tie and the two arrests already made, the FA’s investigation is ongoing. We are continuing to work with the relevant authorities on our investigation into the matter.”

The winner of the game will advance to the first round of the FA Cup.