Premier League table for the calendar year 2015

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5…4…3…2…1… Happy New Year! OK, OK, so 2016 is still a few hours away (depending on where you are in the world), but for all intents and purposes, it’s 2016 in the Premier League.

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With 19 rounds of fixtures already played to begin the 2015-16 PL season, and 19 rounds of fixtures having been played to conclude the 2014-15 season, it all makes for a nice and tidy league table for the entire year.

Without further ado, we present to you, the Premier League table for the calendar year 2015…

Team 1st half 2nd half Total GD
1 Arsenal 42 39 81 +39
2 Manchester Ciy 36 36 72 +38
3 Tottenham Hotspur 33 35 68 +23
4 Leicester City 28 39 67 +17
5 Manchester United 34 30 64 +17
6 Liverpool 34 30 64 +3
7 Crystal Palace 32 31 63 +13
8 Chelsea 41 20 61 +8
9 Stoke City 29 29 58 +6
10 Everton 26 26 52 +7
11 Southampton 27 24 51 +7
12 West Bromwich Albion 27 23 50 -9
13 Swansea City 28 19 47 -12
14 West Ham United 16 29 45 -5
15 Sunderland 18 12 30 -30
16 Newcastle United 13 17 30 -32
17 Watford N/A 29 29 +4
18 Aston Villa 17 8 25 -34
19 Norwich City N/A 20 20 -10
20 Bournemouth N/A 20 20 -12
21 Hull City 19 N/A 19 -10
22 Burnley 17 N/A 17 -10
22 Queens Park Rangers 12 N/A 12 -18

Congratulations, Arsenal, you’re the 2015 Premier League champions! Unfortunately, as we all know, each PL season runs from August to May, not January to December, which means to win the this season’s league title, you’ll have to put together a third consecutive stellar half-season. Is it too much to ask? Only time will tell.

Man City and Tottenham finish the calendar year second and third, respectively, but find themselves one spot lower in the real-life table, thanks to those pesky Foxes from Leicester, who have been the fourth-best team in the PL over the last 12 months. For a club that spent less than $57 million combined during the last three windows (Arsenal, Man City and Spurs spent $147 million, $325 million and $114 million in that same time), Leicester are currently punching roughly five classes above their weight.

[ MORE: Top Premier League stories of 2015 | American soccer ]

No matter how much money Man United and Liverpool spend, or how many managers the two northwest clubs hire and fire, or how much they may hate each other, they eventually end up together again. The Red Devils and Reds mirrored one another during both halves of 2015, grabbing 34 points from January to May, followed by a disappointing 30 from August to December.

No side in the PL had a greater difference in points won from the first half of the year to the second, or vice versa, than Chelsea (21-point decline). The Blues’ woes have been discussed ad nauseam this season, so the less said about them now is probably for the better. West Ham’s 13-point improvement under Slaven Bilic has the Hammers currently sitting eighth in the real-life table, up 10 places from their 18th-place standing during the second half of 2014-15.

[ MORE: All of PST’s festive features

Having already won 20 points this season, newly promoted sides Norwich City (15th) and Bournemouth (16th) are right on pace for the magical 40-point mark that typically means avoiding relegation. Fellow PL newcomers Watford (9th) are nearly three-quarters of the way their themselves, on 29 points.

And then there’s Aston Villa, who in 38 games played during 2015 won four fewer points than Watford, who were promoted in the summer and played just 19 Premier League games in 2015. Goodbye, Villa, it was swell knowing you. And so long to 2015.

American coach Marsch lauds players after Salzburg wins Austrian Cup

Jesse Marsch
Photo by ERWIN SCHERIAU/APA/AFP via Getty Images
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American coach Jesse Marsch has now managed a team to a silverware on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean following Red Bull Salzburg’s Austrian Cup triumph on Saturday.

Marsch’s men beat Lustenau 5-0 in the Austrian Cup Final, celebrating with a social distance-inspired celebration. Dominik Szoboszlai had a goal and an assist in the win, while Hee-chan Hwang posted two assists.

[ MORE: Thuram, Sancho honor George Floyd after scoring ]

The side’s red-hot start to the season dipped upon return from winter break after Salzburg sold a number of stars including Takumi Minamino (Liverpool), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), and Marin Pongracic (Wolfsburg).

Salzburg is back atop the Austrian Bundesliga after rivals LASK Linz lost six points for team training during the coronavirus pandemic.

Marsch, 46, won the 2015 Supporters’ Shield as New York Red Bulls coach, and was a regular trophy collector as a player with DC United and the Chicago Fire.

His Salzburg side impressed in a challenging Champions League group and the LASK punishment gives Marsch a look at the domestic double. There are 10 matches left in the Austrian Bundesliga season, which runs through July 5.

Sancho hits hat trick in Dortmund rout

Paderborn v. Borussia Dortmund recap and video highlights
Photo by Lars Baron / Getty Images
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Borussia Dortmund clobbered bottom-dwelling Paderborn 6-1 on Sunday, piling on the goals late at Benteler Arena.

Jadon Sancho scored three goals in his return to the Starting XI, celebrating the first by removing his jersey to reveal a “Justice For George Floyd” message on his undershirt.

Dortmund stays seven points back of Bayern Munich with five matches to play and moves four points clear of both Gladbach and Bayer Leverkusen. RB Leipzig is five points back of second and plays Monday versus Koln.

Paderborn’s three-match unbeaten run is done, the last-place side eight points back of the relegation playoff spot and nine back of automatic safety. Uwe Hunemeier scored from the spot for the hosts.

[ Bundesliga: Gladbach wins | Saturday roundup | Bayern blowout  ] 

Thorgan Hazard had a goal and an assist, as did Marcel Schmelzer. Achraf Hakimi also scored, with Mateu Morey and Axel Witsel picking up assists.

Sancho now has 17 goals and 17 assists in 27 Bundesliga appearances this season.

Dortmund controlled possession but Paderborn manufactured some minor chances early before the visitors came close.

That’s when Julian Brandt set up Raphael Guerreiro for a shot across goal that bounded wide of the frame.

Brandt had a chance to curl a shot on goal just before half, but sliced the effort.

The breakthrough came just under nine minutes after half when Paderborn goalkeeper Leopold Zingerle couldn’t hold Emre Can’s hard cross and Hazard was in the catbird seat to slot home.

Sancho then scored his first from close range before a controversial penalty awarded for a sliding block by Emre Can allowed Hunemeier to convert from the spot. That made it 2-1 in the 72nd minute.

The English winger bagged his second goal with a powerful striker Zingerle could only turn inside his near post in the 74th minute, and BVB scored three more times from the 85th minute.

American teen Giovanni Reyna came off the bench and had a goal ruled out in his 10-minute cameo. He had nine touches, completed all five of his passes, and registered a shot. Reyna both of his duels, drew one foul, and made a clearance (Stats by Sofascore).

Sancho, Thuram, Hakimi honor George Floyd after scoring (video)

George Floyd tribute
(Lars Baron/Pool via AP) (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
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Statements in support of George Floyd continued in German soccer on Sunday, as two African-European players used their goal celebrations to honor his memory and plead for justice.

Borussia Monchengladbach’s French star Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring a brace Sunday in a 4-1 defeat of Union Berlin.

Then Borussia Dortmund’s English winger removed his shirt to reveal a hand-drawn “Justice For George Floyd” statement on the front of his yellow undershirt. Later, Morocco teammate Achraf Hakimi would do the same.

[ PREMIER LEAGUE: Remaining schedule | Reaction to return ]

Floyd was killed Monday after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 1/2 minutes, and calls for justice have reverberated around the world.

The moments came a day after Dallas native and American midfielder Weston McKennie wore a black armband with the words “Justice For George” in Schalke’s match versus Werder Bremen.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN on Monday there have been widespread protests across the United States. Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with murder, authorities confirmed.

Thuram also turned to Instagram to confirm that his gesture referenced Floyd’s death.

Transfer news: Cavani freed by Icardi signing, Saul teases new home

Saul to Manchester United
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images
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Edinson Cavani is going to be one of the top targets in the free agent markets, as Paris Saint-Germain’s purchase of Mauro Icardi ushers the Uruguayan out of the Ligue 1 champions’ stable.

Icardi’s loan move to PSG from Inter Milan has been made permanent for big money, and the 33-year-old Cavani is set to bring his 259 goals somewhere else.

[ PREMIER LEAGUE: Remaining schedule | Reaction to return ]

Cavani scored 200 times in 300 matches with PSG after arriving from Napoli, scoring seven times despite being limited to just over 1000 minutes due to several injuries.

The target striker is free to negotiate with teams having nearly moved to Atletico Madrid in the January transfer window. Inter Miami has also been linked with Cavani, but that was before the coronavirus pandemic lowered the market and put an emphasis on free transfer targets.

Chelsea, Spurs, and Manchester United were (are?) also in a mix that is going to be very deep with suitors for Cavani, who has 50 goals in 116 caps for Uruguay.

Lille has received plenty of offers for young striker Victor Osimhen, but the club tells The Daily Mail that they’re expecting a fee close to what Arsenal paid them for Nicolas Pepe last season.

That was about $87 million, though Pepe had a better (not to mention full) season in 2018-19 than Osimhen’s strong 2019-20.

Pepe is about four years older than Osimhen and has 22 goals and 11 assists during his final Ligue 1 season. Osimhen, 21, has 13 and four in about 1100 fewer minutes and scored in the Champions League versus Chelsea and Valencia, so the comparison is closer than upon first look.

Here’s Lille owner Gerard Lopez:

“I am not being a sales guy because last year people didn’t believe that we had the offers we had with [Nicolas] Pepe and it turns out we had multiple of them. “Let me tell you with Osimhen, it is the same thing, whatever number you heard, the high number I have read is very much on the money of the offers that we have received. That’s where we are.”

Osimhen has been linked with Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, and a host of clubs outside the Premier League. He lit up the Belgian league with RSC Charleroi the previous season after failing to score in his teen years with Wolfbusgr.

Atletico Madrid star and reported Manchester United target Saul Niguez is teasing a new club for him, saying he’ll announce it in three days.

We cannot be sure it won’t end with some sort of new sponsored product, but the game-controlling center midfielder has featured in reports of a “practically done” transfer to United in recent weeks.

Saul, 25, has become an indispensable part of Diego Simeone’s midfield and was one of the steadiest parts of Atleti’s victory over Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.

He’s said to have an approximate $168 million release clause.