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Premier League 2016-17 season preview: Stoke City

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The Potters just keep plugging away.

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Steady progress has been the name of the game for Mark Hughes‘ side over the past nine years since they were promoted to the Premier League and this season will be no different. Having flirted with the top six for most of last season, they fell away at a pivotal stage of the campaign.

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Scoring goals has been a slight problem for Stoke but when everything clicks into place, they ooze class at the Bet365 Stadium. That venue is one of the most intimidating (and coldest) places to play in the PL and Stoke’s home record will once again be key if they’re going to finish in the top 10.

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Stoke will finally kick on and finish in the top six because… They have a strong defensive unit, plus new signing Allen will slot seamlessly into midfield to link up with the likes of Bojan and Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic.

Most likely they’ll finish ninth, again: After finishing in ninth in each of the last three PL campaigns, Stoke’s fans will want more but are unlucky to get it. With teams like Liverpool and Chelsea strengthening, plus Everton set for a new era under Ronald Koeman, they could struggle to finish in the top 10. The one area Hughes must strengthen up top with Diouf, Crouch and Joselu all hard workers but hardly prolific.


Best possible XI

—– Butland —–

— Cameron — Shawcross — Wollscheid — Pieters —

—– Allen —– Imbula —–

—- Arnautovic —- Bojan —- Shaqiri —-

—– Diouf —–


Transfers in: Joe Allen ($17 million, Liverpool), Ramadan Sobhi ($6.5 million, Al Ahly)

Transfers out: Ben Barber (Free, York City), Steve Sidwell (Free, Bright & Hove Albion), Yusuf Coban (Free, TGG 1899 Hoffenheim), Dominic Kurasik (Free, Brentford), Peter Odemwingie, Ed Dryden, Bobby Moseley, Ryan O’Reilly, Peter Skapetis, Maston Watkins-Clark (All released)

Last season: Stoke started the season superbly and in the first half of the campaign they’d racked up wins against Chelsea and Manchester City at home. They then faded towards the end of the season but still finished ninth for a third season running. Their aim was to better their record PL points tally of 54 from the previous campaign but they just came up short of that with 51 points on the board. All in all, another steady season for Stoke.

during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Britannia Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England.
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Star player: Marko Arnautovic – Austrian forward signed a new contract over the summer which was a huge boost for the Potters. “Arnie” was their top scorer in the PL last season with 11 goals and he may be given more opportunity to play in his preferred role out wide if the club are successful in recruiting a new striker. When he’s on his game there are few who can stop him. Pace, power and trickery, Arnautovic is a mercurial talent.

Coach’s Corner: Hugheshy has done incredibly well in his three season at Stoke so far. He’s spent wisely and built solidly on what Tony Pulis left behind. The way he has changed Stoke into an attractive team to watch has been subtle but focused and bringing in players like Bojan and Shaqiri has had its ups and downs but has certainly taken Stoke to the next level as they’ve established themselves as a solid top 10 club in the PL. Hughes will now look to push for the top six but he may need a lot more cash to spend on one or two key new players to do it.

Mark Hughes, Stoke City FC

PST predicts: Another season of solidity for Stoke as they’ll be in and around 10th place and if everything clicks and their star man stay clear of injury, they could flirt with a top six finish. Like last season, expect a good cup run from them.

Report: Inter Miami first in line to sign USMNT’s Boyd

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Inter Miami’s first big signing could turn out to be a player who just announced himself to mainstream U.S. Soccer fans.

According to a report in The Athletic, Inter Miami has gained the discovery rights to sign U.S. Men’s National Team winger Tyler Boyd. The 24-year-old only recently came to U.S. Soccer’s attention due to only having played in friendly matches for the New Zealand National Team, and the New Zealander-American filed his one-time switch in May to be eligible for the USMNT during the Gold Cup.

[READ: Terry backs Lampard for Chelsea manager job]

He immediately opened his account with two goals against Guyana and five shots, two on target in the USMNT’s 6-0 thrashing of Trinidad and Tobago.

Boyd is currently under contract with Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes, but he’s played little for them since joining in 2015. He spent the 2017-2018 season with Tondela in the Portuguese Liga and then spent the last six months in Turkey with MKE Ankaragücü, scoring six goals in 14 games to help them stave off relegation. According to multiple reports, Boyd is down to the final year of his contract with Guimaraes, and it’s possible that he could be off to Turkey again – reports in Turkey state Besiktas is interested – or potentially elsewhere.

That’s where Inter Miami come in. With the club expected to launch in the 2020 season, it could sign Boyd this summer – as a Designated Player or use Targeted Allocation Money to pay down his salary and transfer fee – and loan him out for six months before beginning life in the Miami area when the team begins play next season. There’s plenty of precedent for this, including with what New York City FC did with Frank Lampard and to an extent, David Villa, as well as what FC Cincinnati did in a sense – signing Fatai Alashe and Fanendo Adi and loaning them to the team competing in USL in 2018.

Based on the little we’ve seen for Boyd, he would surely be a success in any system that gives him the freedom to attack down the wing and cut in, creating shooting lanes for him and his teammates. Of course, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter may prefer for Boyd to play in Europe and test himself against a higher-level of opposition.

Terry: Lampard ‘will have an impact on young players and improve them’

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It’s not a surprise that John Terry is supporting his longtime teammate and fellow club legend Frank Lampard for the open Chelsea managerial role.

However, it is interesting why Terry thinks Lampard is right for Chelsea.

[READ: Derby County confirm Chelsea approach for Lampard]

With Lampard the bookies favorite to become the new Chelsea manager, Terry has come out in support of the former midfield great, stating that Lampard can finally fully open the pipeline between the Chelsea academy and the first team.

“For some time, perhaps only myself and Ruben Loftus-Cheek had come through the academy to become regulars and that has probably left many young players questioning their future,” Terry told the Daily Mail. “Callum Hudson-Odoi will be assured he has a big role to play at Chelsea. Having Frank in charge and the transfer ban will give young players throughout the academy belief that there is a genuine pathway into Chelsea’s first team.

“Frank and Jody have tremendous knowledge of the youth set-up. I guarantee they will watch as many Under-23 and Under-18 matches at Chelsea as possible and open potential opportunities for the academy players. In fact I think it will be an exciting time to see what can happen.”

Chelsea is currently appealing a transfer ban from FIFA for signing underage players, but even if the transfer ban is imposed this summer, the club has dozens of players out on loan that could potentially come into the first team. These include Mason Mount, who starred for Lampard at Derby County last season, and American defender Matt Miazga, though he still has a long way to go until he’s ready for regular Premier League matches.

Other players like Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Kurt Zouma, and Tiemoue Bakayoko could also potentially return to the club and add to the strength in depth.

Of course, some of Chelsea’s youngsters didn’t come through the academy, but with Eden Hazard gone, Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek out long term and a need for some fresh talent in attack – to go with Christian Pulisic of course, Terry believes that Lampard could trust, and empower, some young players as Chelsea looks to build on a third-place finish this year.

Report: FIFA to consider disciplinary actions for Cameroon after Women’s World Cup outburst

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It didn’t help that refereeing decisions had gone against them, but Cameroon’s meltdown at the Women’s World Cup could cost the team, and potentially the federation in the future.

Per a report in the BBC, FIFA has begun investigating Cameroon for “team misconduct, offensive behavior and fair play breaches.” Specifically, Cameroon’s players appeared to lose their emotions surrounding two incidents that involved video assistant referees, or the VAR.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

In the first case, just before halftime, England’s Ellen White was initially ruled offside on a goal she scored, only for VAR to overturn the assistant referee and rule White’s goal could stand, because she was onside by about two feet. After that instance, Cameroon’s players appeared to make an on-field protest, and it wasn’t clear if the game would restart.

In the second half, Cameroon had a goal that was somewhat harshly disallowed after Ajara Nchout had scored to make it 2-1 for England and cut the deficit in half. Gabrielle Onguene, who played the pass into Nchout, was ruled by the VAR to be offside but only by the absolute slightest of margins, her heel.

Again, following this decision, players lost their emotions on the pitch and it took five minutes to restart the game.

Afterwards, Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa criticized the officiating, calling the game a “miscarriage of justice” as Cameroon were knocked out of the World Cup.

England coach Phil Neville meanwhile said that he was disappointed with the match for all the young generations of fans watching, and it’s possible that FIFA is looking at it from this angle to potentially send a message that everyone must act professional on the field from start to finish, even if tempers run high.

Picking the Copa America knockout stage

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The Copa America has eliminated four nations, including the two Asian visitors, and now the stage is set for the final eight teams to battle for the title.

The field is wide open as the traditional powers Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and even perfect Colombia and Uruguay have all struggled at times in the competition. With that in mind, here are the picks for our PST writers, and as you can imagine, it’s all over the place in what promises to be an entertaining and exciting final eight. A potential Brazil v. Argentina semifinal matchup would be mouth-watering, while Colombia and Chile meet in the quarters in a matchup that tells you just how brutal this competition can be.

Who do you have going all the way in the South American tournament? Will Lionel Messi carry Argentina to his first major international title? Will James Rodriguez or Alexis Sanchez reignite their career? Can Luis Suarez best his Barcelona teammate and help Edinson Cavani to the crown?


Kyle Bonn

Quarterfinals:
Brazil def. Paraguay
Venezuela def. Argentina

Chile def. Colombia
Uruguay def. Peru

Semifinals:
Brazil def. Venezuela
Chile def. Uruguay

Final:
Brazil def. Chile


Joe Prince-Wright

Quarterfinals:
Brazil def. Paraguay
Argentina def. Venezuela

Chile def. Colombia
Uruguay def. Peru

Semifinals:
Brazil def. Argentina
Chile def. Uruguay

Final:
Brazil def. Chile


Daniel Karell

Quarterfinals:
Brazil def. Paraguay
Venezuela def. Argentina

Colombia def. Chile
Uruguay def. Peru

Semifinals:
Venezuela def. Brazil
Uruguay def. Colombia

Final:
Uruguay def. Venezuela


Nick Mendola

Quarterfinals:
Brazil def. Paraguay
Argentina def. Venezuela

Colombia def. Chile
Uruguay def. Peru

Semifinals:
Argentina def. Brazil
Uruguay def. Colombia

Final:
Argentina def. Uruguay