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January Transfer Deadline needs for every Premier League club

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With the transfer deadline coming to a close on Monday, Premier League teams have precious few days left to find fixes for what ails them (or strengthen their depth).

Leicester City – The Foxes could use more depth, but they already have players like Gokhan Inler on the bench. A striker as insurance for Jamie Vardy would be a welcome addition.

Manchester City – Depth at the back can help City deal with the congested schedule of a late season run through European and English competitions. When will Vincent Kompany return?

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup ]

Arsenal – The mistake people make when saying Olivier Giroud is under-appreciated is not realizing Arsene Wenger can carry multiple out-and-out strikers. Another point man up top sure would help the title push.

Tottenham Hotspur – At the risk of sounding like a broken record across so many of these team needs, Spurs could use another striker to pair with Harry Kane. A center back to help out in the absence of Jan Vertonghen would be a boon, too.

Manchester United – There’s a lot of quality on United, and it’d be a good look for Louis Van Gaal to fiddle with his tactics. In terms of additions, though, why not take a look at a veteran attacker, or even a low-cost option like Blackburn’s Jordan Rhodes.

West Ham United – Rhodes makes sense here, too, but Slaven Bilic has been linked with a loan for Nigerian striker Emmanuel Emenike. Cover at the back could also be welcomed at the Boleyn Ground. Sam Byram looks the part to help that in a big way, though.

Liverpool – Still could use options to help their center back depth in the wake of injury and continued European play, and competition for Alberto Moreno isn’t a bad idea, either.. Should also allow their new-ish players more time to adapt to England, as Roberto Firmino will continue to improve.

[ MORE: Liverpool reportedly tables bid for Schalke’s Matip ]

Southampton – Honestly would do well to get rid of the malcontents Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama, but only if they can find suitable replacements in the interim. Also like the idea of Matty Phillips joining his ex-QPR teammate Charlie Austin at St. Mary’s.

Stoke City – An out-and-out striker to capitalize on what’s created by Bojan Krkic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic.

Watford – An experienced striker to back up Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney.

Crystal Palace – They picked up Emmanuel Adebayor to help their strike force, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a more, um, stable solution in mind for Alan Pardew‘s currently stumbling Eagles.

Everton – A right back to spell Seamus Coleman, and perhaps a long-term answer at goalkeeper if Tim Howard is really set to skip town for Colorado.

Chelsea – Gamers. While Chelsea has sold Ramires and added Alexandre Pato and maybe USMNT back Matt Miazga, Guus Hiddink could use the sort of players who would sell the farm to a win a ball. That’s not a position, per se, but undeniably a need.

[ MORE: Chelsea confirms sale of Ramires to Chinese Super League club ]

West Bromwich Albion – The Baggies need offensive flair and attacking, but Saido Berahino is rooted to the bench and, given Tony Pulis‘ defense-first managing style, maybe this is about the tactics, not the technicians.

Swansea City – Like everyone else, Swansea could use depth at striker. Also could use someone to fill the Jonjo Shelvey role since the Englishman has been sold to Newcastle.

Bournemouth – Really, the Cherries need better health for their team altogether. Otherwise, they may have enough to stand pat.

Norwich City – A stalwart defender or two. Think of the 6-2 loss to Newcastle and the 5-4 loss to Liverpool; Make a stop, boys.

Newcastle United – Aleksandar Mitrovic‘s track record says he’ll start finishing his chances eventually, but that can’t be enough for Steve McClaren. Newcastle needs to add a striker, and could use depth at the back as well.

Sunderland – A metronome would be nice, though Sunderland still lacks consistent scoring beyond Jermain Defoe.

Aston Villa – Quality everywhere. Not being harsh, but Remi Garde will do far better once he’s flipped some of Tim Sherwood‘s mistakes.

Court date for USWNT’s law suit versus U.S. Soccer delayed

USWNT equal pay
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A court case that has dragged U.S. Soccer’s administration through the mud and led to a change of leadership may drag into the summer.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A judge in California has delayed the May 5 trial of gender discrimination against the USSF until June 16 due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. A pretrial conference was also moved to June 1.

The federation is being sued by members of the two-time reigning World Cup champion USWNT under the Equal Pay Act.

The women are requesting more than $66 million in damages.

The extra month gives both parties more time to reach a settlement which could keep this ugly case away from trial. Given the uncertainty in our world, it could of course be delayed again.

The USSF has a new CEO in Will Wilson, who can make a major statement of change by stopping the trial from reaching court.

Handicapping the Final Four of Premier League March Madness

Premier League March Madness
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Our Premier League March Madness results have been as topsy-turvy as the 2019/20 on-field campaign before coronavirus halted it last month.

Yes, the runaway No. 1 seed is alive, but the second, third, fourth, and fifth seeds have been expelled from the tournament within the first two rounds.

Voting in the semifinal round begins Thursday.

[ RESULTS: March Madness Round of 16 ]

Before we go any further, if you’re unfamiliar: To make sure you’re not missing out on either March Madness or the business end of the PL season, we’ve gone ahead and merged the two competitions. The March Madness Final Four and Championship game were due to take place this weekend in Atlanta but now you will be voting on Tottenham v. Arsenal instead of Duke v. Kansas.

Teams are seeded from 1-16 based on their current spot in the table, with Aston Villa winning the relegation playoffs on Monday to remain in the Premier League.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Before we handicap the semifinal matches, let’s take a look at where the field sits after your Wednesday voting.

No. 1 Liverpool v. No. 12 Everton
No. 6 Wolves v. No. 7 Sheffield United

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Look, all bets are off for the derby. The Everton faithful has shown up in a big way during voting, dispatching Manchester United and Chelsea.

That’s big time stuff, though Liverpool ended the dreams of our presumptive sleeping giant favorite Arsenal after beating West Ham in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Reds are going to have to not just been upstart Everton but overcome the legions of rival supporters who would happily click the Toffees’ box rather than see Liverpool gain the crown.

The other side of the bracket sees No. 7 Sheffield United looking to continue its surprising run in both the PL season and our voting.

The Blades knocked off Man City, potentially aided by the same phenomenon Everton hopes to see on Thursday.

Now they meet Wolves, who may be riding a crest of North American momentum in the form of affinity for El Tri hero Raul Jimenez.

Our prediction: Everton and Wolves in the Final.

RESULTS: Premier League March Madness Elite Eight

Premier League March Madness
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Everton continued its upset path toward in our Premier League March Madness voting, showing its sensational support and setting up a fantastic eMerseyside Derby in the Final Four.

Thousands of votes were cast Wednesday, and the Toffees upset isn’t even the top underdog story.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Chris Wilder’s Blades of Sheffield United won a back-and-forth affair with No. 2 seed Manchester City to move into the semifinals.

That’s where they’ll meet No. 6 seed Wolves, who powered past Leicester City as if it wasn’t a challenge.

If you want to see the full game schedule, seedings and bracket, here is the post you need as the tournament will run all week long:

Monday: Relegation semifinals, final – Aston Villa prevailed, Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford relegated
TuesdaySweet 16 results in full
Wednesday: Elite Eight
Thursday: Final Four
Friday: Championship game

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

IFAB: New handball rule can be adopted when games resume

Handball rule
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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) issued a letter from secretary Lukas Brud on Wednesday, outlining several changes to the game.

The “tee shirt line” handball rule may be coming to club football quicker than expected due to the coronavirus suspension of the 2019/20 season.

IFAB will allow leagues the choice to use the new handball rule when matches resume this season, also making changes to VAR protocol and vowing to review the offside rule.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The new handball rule states that the shoulder goes to the end of the shirt sleeve or the bottom of the armpit (though obviously not in the case of a long-sleeve jersey).

For the purposes of determining handball offences, the ‘arm’ stops at the bottom of the armpit

So… get ready for baggy, longer jersey sleeves, or the increased recruitment of players with the longest armpits.

Kidding aside, the handball rule desperately needed clarification and we’ll see if this gives enough to fans and players alike.

Referees will now be “expected” to go to the screen on the field when a call is subjective, forcing the official to either uphold or overrule his initial call.

This same post says IFAB will now allow accidental handballs in the run-up to a goal in certain situations.

“Accidental handball by an attacking player should only be penalized if it ‘immediately’ results in a goal or an obvious opportunity for the player and/or their team to score a goal (i.e. following the handball, the ball travels only a short distance and/or there are very few passes).”

Well, that needs some clarification.

Back to the timing issue for the new handball rule, it seems logical that leagues would want to introduce new laws with a new season but stand-by for the decision of your favorite league.

As for the offside rule, “The members agreed that the fundamental philosophy of offside is underpinned by a desire to encourage attacking football and the scoring of goals. It was further agreed, therefore, that Law 11 – Offside should be analyzed and reviewed with a view to potentially proposing changes reflecting this philosophy.”

It’s a lot to unpack, and we’ll surely here from proponents and opponents of the changes soon. As always, implementation will make the biggest difference in how these changes are received.