GRADES: How did each Premier League team fare in the Summer Transfer Window?

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After the 2015 Summer Transfer Window slammed shut at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 1, we can now start to analyze the moves each team made over the last two months.

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Premier League teams have spent a whopping $1.3 billion during this transfer period, which is a record for any window involving England’s top-flight, but have they spent that cash wisely?

Let’s break down the business they managed to do. Here is a grade for all 20 PL teams after their deals.

   GRADE

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A Manchester City: After buying Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Nicolas Otamendi, then adding Kevin de Bruyne, City have become title favorites. The have spent over $220 million on transfer fees and Pellegrini’s boys are set up to challenge for the PL title and the Champions League.
source: B+ West Ham: The Hammers had a great Deadline Day, and they added 13 players in total. Top business from new manager Bilic as Moses, Song, Ogbonna, Lanzini, Jelavic and Antonio will make a big difference.
source: B +   Swansea City: Garry Monk continues to excel in the market as he brought in Andre Ayew in attack on big wages but for no transfer fee, plus Eder and a bunch of players to augment his strong squad. Top window for Swans.
source: B + Crystal Palace: The Eagles have added Cabaye, Bamford, Wickham, McCarthy and Sako to strengthen throughout their spine. Pardew didn’t lose any important players. Great business.

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B ChelseaMany complained that Chelsea didn’t get the big-name signings but they did land Pedro, and grabbed Falcao and Begovic early on. Mourinho didn’t sign Stones but added two CBs in Hector and Djilobodji. 
source: B Stoke City: A busy, busy window for the Potters. They lost Nzonzi and Begovic but brought in Afellay and Shaqiri in shock moves. All in all, Potters look like a top 10 team once again.
source: B Manchester UnitedScratching your head, yeah, me too. David de Gea’s move collapsed at the last minute, then United seemed to panic buy teenager Martial late on for $55 million. That said, Darmian, Depay, Romero, Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin have all settled in well. Decent business, but plenty of lost opportunities.
source: B Newcastle UnitedFour key players arrived in the window for the Magpies as Thauvin, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic and Mbemba arrived for $80 million in total. Steve McClaren has strengthened the side.
source: C+ WatfordThe Hornets have spent lots of money and bought more players than any other PL team. That will give them a chance of staying up, but most are unproven in England and that will be a big challenge.
source:  C+ Southampton: After losing Schneiderlin, Clyne and Alderweireld, Koeman has pounced to bring in plenty of new faces. Jordy Clasie, Oriol Romeu, Martina, Cedric, Caulker and Virgil van Dijk arriving from Celtic was a big signing at CB. Keeping hold of Mane was huge for Saints.
source: C+ Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers took a different route this season and signed players early and bought from within the PL. Ings, Milner, Clyne and Benteke arrived, while Gomez and Firmino may take longer to settle in. They lost Sterling (a big blow) but overall, a decent window.
source: C+ BournemouthThe Cherries weren’t scared to splash some cash and the arrival of Max Gradel and Glenn Murray in attack will boost their chances of survival. Sensible business from the new boys.
 source: C Aston VillaSherwood has gambled on the French market and so far the jury is out. Gueye has been superb but Ayew, Amavi and Veretout have struggled to settle. Let’s see if Richards, Gestede and others settle quicker.
source: C  Leicester CitySome shrewd buys from the Foxes as Ranieri brought in Okazaki, Inler, Kante and Huth. Solid buys throughout their spine should improve their chances of staying up after a spectacular start to the season.
source: D EvertonThe big thing about this window was keeping John Stones around, and the Toffees have done that despite Chelsea offering $60 million. Martinez has added Cleverley, Lennon and Mori, but apart from that it was pretty uneventful.
source: D- Tottenham: Harry Kane needs help and although Son and Clinton have arrived in attack, Spurs’ new boys are unproven in the PL. Bringing in Wimmer, Trippier and Alderweireld bolsters their defense and Pochettino has trimmed his squad but not grabbing Berahino or a top striker to help Kane will hurt Spurs.
source: D- West BromBerahino did not leave on Deadline Day but he is now refusing to play for the Baggies. Huge blow. They have signed Rickie Lambert and Salomon Rondon in attack, plus Jonny Evans in defense, but overall Berahino’s situation could be very harmful.
source: F Arsenal: Yeah, that striker never arrived did he? The Gunners are the only team in the top five leagues in Europe to not add a new outfield player this summer. They signed Petr Cech, which was great, but how did Wenger not grab a striker and a DM to strengthen this summer?
source: F Norwich City: The Canaries failed to sign a striker and with Alex Neil serious about keeping Norwich up, they have to buy a predatory forward. Norwich failed in late bids for several strikers and right now, their chances of staying up look bleak.
source: F SunderlandSpeaking of bleak survival chances, Sunderland signed plenty of players in the window but you have to argue if they were any better than those Dick Advocaat had before. Lens, Toivonen, Yedlin and Kaboul aren’t really upgrades. Another season of struggle ahead.

USMNT’s Green flying high with new manager, new position

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The early season report that 2.Bundesliga side Greuther Fuerth manager Stefan Leitl wants to tie Julian Green down to a new contract are making a lot of sense with three league matches in the books.

Playing as a No. 8, Green has gone 90 minutes in all three league matches under Leitl this season, scoring against FC St. Pauli and Jahn Regensburg. That gives him five goals in 15 matches since Leitl was hired late last season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Green turned 24 this summer, a number that feels even younger considering his goal against Belgium at the 2014 World Cup seems like it happened about 150 years ago.

It’s a small sample size, but after three games Green is the 8th-ranked performer in the entire German second division by advanced statistics site WhoScored. And for those who sleep on the English Championship and 2.Bundesliga, it’s worth noting that is one of only two second tiers the web site bothers rating on a week-to-week basis.

In addition to his pair of goals, Green is completing 89.2 percent of his passes in the center of the park, making 1.7 tackles per match, and has drawn 3.3 fouls per match. That last figure is fourth in the league.

Green isn’t a flashy personality and even says in the above article that he’d rather his play do the talking, but you have to think he’s on the radar of Greeg Berhalter for next month’s USMNT friendlies with so many Americans on new club teams and MLS in the thick of its stretch run.

Green had certain success under USMNT interim boss Dave Sarachan but has yet to be called up by Berhalter, a man who knows the value of the 2.Bundesliga having helped Energie Cottbus to Bundesliga promotion as a player.

And as a No. 8, or even further up and central? Nice.

If he doesn’t re-up with Furth, it will be intriguing to see where he winds up next season (especially if Furth manages to get promoted).

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 2

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Boy do I love getting yelled at, so let’s invite more criticism with Week 2 of the Premier League Power Rankings.

Let’s also get something out of the way, though: While a round-robin tournament such as the Premier League doesn’t need power rankings by the end of the season given the balanced schedule, the early season is ripe for these sorts of debate because of the performances and opponents.

[ MORE: Wolves 1-1 Man Utd | Nuno reacts ]

Additionally, we like having fun. Because this is sports. And sports are supposed to be fun. Even if you support Newcastle and the idea that sports are supposed to be fun sounds like someone telling you something you’re allergic to is goooooood eatin’.

Excited for the furor. Let’s party in the comments section.

20. Newcastle United — For all the promise Miguel Almiron showed under Rafa Benitez, the Paraguayan looks like absolutely clueless under Steve Bruce.
Last week’s ranking: 16
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Norwich City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Spurs

19. Watford — The Pozzo Family is known to change managers on a whim, and Javi Gracia will be wondering if his wonderful 2018-19 is fresh enough in the owners’ minds following an insipid loss to Brighton and a two-shot performance at Everton.
Last week’s ranking: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham

18. Crystal Palace — Unlike Newcastle at Norwich, the Eagles probably deserved a point in losing to a newly-promoted side. They still did, however, lose to a newly-promoted side. Will Wilfried Zaha torment his old club (Man Utd) and teammate (Aaron Wan-Bissaka) on Saturday? Also, those away jerseys…
Last week’s ranking: 14
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Manchester United

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17. West Ham United — Manuel Pellegrini will be under deserved pressure if he can’t manufacture a result at Watford.
Last week’s ranking: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Watford

16. Southampton — Thoroughly deserved a home point versus Liverpool, but that does not totally make amends for a terrible Week 1.
Last week’s ranking: 19
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton and Hove Albion

15. Aston Villa — Dean Smith knows the mistakes made early against Bournemouth can’t happen in the Premier League, but the Villans were the better team in a loss to Bournemouth.
Last week’s ranking: 8
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday v. Everton

14. Bournemouth — Eddie Howe, on the other hand, will be thanking his lucky stars that Tom Heaton decided to put Villa behind the 8-ball after just 45 seconds. We need to see better from the Cherries, and it’s probably not coming when Man City visits on Sunday.
Last week’s ranking: 15
Last match: Won 2-1 at Aston Villa
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Man City

13. Sheffield United — The Blades have been a pesky problem in collecting four points from Bournemouth and Palace. Saturday’s visit from Leicester City will be a bird of a different feather.
Last week’s ranking: 13
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Leicester City

12. Norwich City — Teemu Pukki was lethal against Newcastle, and the Canaries probably could’ve scored thrice on Opening Day at Anfield. That, folks, is what we call encouraging stuff for a newly-promoted group.
Last week’s ranking: 17
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea

11. Chelsea — There’s a lot to say about Frank Lampard as a manager, but we can’t stop thinking about how gigantic he looked standing next to Brendan Rodgers after the match. Will we have the chance to see it again when Chelsea visits Leicester City on Feb. 1?
Last week’s ranking: 12
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Leicester City
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City

(Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

10. Leicester City — So far, so okay for Brendan Rodgers and the Foxes, who took points from two tricky fixtures. Nothing but three points will be acceptable this weekend at Sheffield United.
Last week’s ranking: 10
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United

9. Burnley — Don’t bet against Sean Dyche. You’ll either lose, or be terrified at how angry you’ve made Sean Dyche in being right.
Last week’s ranking: 6
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Arsenal
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Wolves

8. Everton — After taking four points from two matches, the Toffees’ bring an extremely enticing start to the Premier League weekend on Friday at entertaining Aston Villa.
Last week’s ranking: 11
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Watford
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday at Aston Villa

7. Wolves — What they’ve done in drawing Leicester City and Manchester United while bombarded with Europa League fixtures and planning is laudable and acceptable.
Last week’s ranking: 9
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Manchester United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Burnley

6. Brighton and Hove Albion — Graham Potter‘s Blue and White Army are unbeaten through two matches and deserved three points against West Ham in a 1-1 draw. Leandro Trossard is a talent, and looks like what the Seagulls thought they bought last summer with Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
Last week’s ranking: 5
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. West Ham United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Southampton

5. Manchester United — Paul Pogba: Penalties as Shaquille O’Neal is to free throws. We’ll hang up and listen. The Red Devils should be 2-0 and sitting atop the league. Alas.
Last week’s ranking: 2
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Crystal Palace

4. Arsenal — 2-0 is 2-0, even if the wins come against Newcastle and Burnley. There’s no way Arsenal will be able to afford Dani Ceballos at the end of his loan stint if he keeps looking like an absolutely wondrous midfielder of the highest order.
Last week’s ranking: 7
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

3. Liverpool — The bad news is that Liverpool’s poor defensive summer has dragged into August and they are a competent Danny Ings flick away from drawing Saints. The good news is that the Reds are alone in first place despite the defensive foibles. Also, relax, you’re the European champions. It’s okay.
Last week’s ranking: 7
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Arsenal

2. Spurs — Took the most shots in the league in Week 1, and followed it up by scoring twice and taking a point from the Etihad Stadium. That’s something only one team did over 19 matches last season (Palace’s 3-2 memorable win around Christmas).
Last week’s ranking: 3
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Man City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Newcastle United

1. Manchester City — VAR did it’s job in enforcing a rule that is, at best, against the spirit of the game in supporting defenders unfairly in comparison to attackers. City took 30 shots against the Champions League finalists and deserved all three points. If you think they should be lower on the list, try this mental exercise which is at the heart of the PL power rankings: Based on what you’ve seen this season, tell me you’d rather play City than any other team in the league. You’re lying.
Last week’s ranking: 1
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Spurs
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Bournemouth

USMNT to play Cuba at Washington, DC

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CHICAGO (AP) The United States’ home game against Cuba in the first CONCACAF Nations League will be played at Audi Field in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11.

The site was announced Monday by the U.S. Soccer Federation, which has yet to say where the Nov. 15 home match against Canada will be played.

[ MORE: Wolves 1-1 Man Utd | Nuno reacts ]

As part of the new tournament, the U.S. plays Canada at Toronto on Oct. 15. The U.S. closes Nov. 19 against Cuba, a game that may be played at George Town, Cayman Islands.

In its first year under coach Gregg Berhalter, the U.S. has eight wins, three losses and one tie, losing to Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Americans have a pair of exhibitions next month, against Mexico on Sept. 6 at East Rutherford, New Jersey, and versus Uruguay four days later at St. Louis.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Manchester United’s Solskjaer on Pogba, Rashford penalty duty

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has issued his verdict on Paul Pogba taking (and missing) an ill-fated penalty over Marcus Rashford on Monday in a 1-1 draw against Wolves at the Molineux.

[ MORE: Recap | Nuno reacts ]

The Manchester United boss says both players have been given authority to sort out who takes a penalty (He promises. He has proof on his computer).

Pogba won Monday’s opportunity, and his well-hit effort was parried by Rui Patricio. the score stayed tied, and United didn’t find a winner.

“The two of them are designated penalty takers, it’s up to them there and then – ‘this is mine’.

“Sometimes players just feel they are confident to score. Paul has scored so many for us and today it was a good save. You can see the slides on the Power Point [that prove both are PK takers].

“The two of them have been confident before. Marcus scored last week but Paul was also confident. I like players with confidence.”

As for Rashford, he’s not crying over Pogba’s spilled penalty.

“Paul wanted to take it, it’s that simple,” says Rashford. “Anyone can miss a penalty, he has scored so many penalties and it is normal to miss one.”

Instead, he’s finding a silver lining in a “disappointing” loss by focusing on the fact that United was absolutely worked over at the Molineux last season and arguably deserved all three points this go-round (Wolves beat United 2-1 that day).

“It is of course disappointing, disheartening, but we can’t let it get to ourselves early in the season,” Rashford said. “The last time we came to the stadium they were the much better team, but today was a different story. It has always been a tough place to come and today proved it again.”

United hosts Crystal Palace on Saturday before visiting Southampton on Aug. 31.