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Listing the top snubs for PFA Team of the Year

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The PFA’s Team of the Year for 2016-17 in the Premier League was announced on Thursday and there were some notable absentees.

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Remember: this XI is put together after each PL player votes for his XI in a 4-4-2 formation. So, it is the players who vote for this team and therefore it may not be the most accurate representation of the top players in each position.

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Here is the PFA Team of the Season in full with David De Gea and Eden Hazard both named in the team of the fourth time in the past five seasons, while Harry Kane gets the nod for a third-straight campaign.

Below is a look at the biggest snubs, as plenty of people are particularly disappointed with the inclusion of Gary Cahill and De Gea.


Hugo Lloris – It seemed to be a toss up between Lloris and De Gea and the Tottenham goalkeeper has marshaled the best defense in the PL while also always looking calm and composed. In the 2-2 draw at Man City he had a rare lapse of concentration but apart from that he’s been flawless.

Tom Heaton – Maybe because he plays for Burnley but Heaton has been superb not only with his shot-stopping but also his leadership as the Clarets’ captain. When you look around the league at top goalkeepers, only De Gea, Lloris and Thibaut Courtois are ahead of him.

Toby Alderweireld – Perhaps the most puzzling absentee, Alderweireld has been an absolute rock at the heart of Spurs’ defense and he makes everything looks so easy. Good on the ball, powerful in the air and never puts a foot wrong, I thought Alderweireld would be a lock for this XI.

Jan Vertonghen – See above. Alongside his Belgian teammate Alderweireld they’ve formed a formidable partnership with the only reason I can think of for them both being left out is some time on the sidelines through injury. Still, their teammate Danny Rose has missed a large chunk of the season and he’s still been included. Bizarre.

Cesar Azpilicueta – He has arguably been Chelsea’s best defender all season long but David Luiz and Gary Cahill have been picked ahead of him. A real head-scratcher but maybe this is because he’s played at wing back as well as the right-sided center back in a 3-4-3 formation? Still, the Spaniard deserves to be in this team.

Ander Herrera – The only other Manchester United player alongside De Gea and Zlatan who deserves a shout. So consistent all season and Mourinho’s general in midfield. Kante gets in ahead of him though.

David Silva – Anybody who has watched City regularly this season can tell you Silva has been the hub of Guardiola’s team. His genius is often overlooked.

Christian Eriksen – Has the most assists in the PL and Pochettino called him Spurs’ “special one” in recent weeks. Should he be in ahead of Dele Alli?

Alexis Sanchez – The Arsenal forward has been in fine form for most of this season despite his, and Arsene Wenger‘s, future up in the air. The Chilean star is up for the PFA Player of the Year award but didn’t do enough to go in ahead of Lukaku, Kane, Hazard or Mane. Maybe should’ve pushed Mane out of the XI but a very close call.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Again, another player who is up for the PFA Player of the Year but wasn’t selected in this team. Ibrahimovic has scored big goals at big moments for United but the veteran has missed some really good chances throughout the season. Maybe that’s why his peers thought the clinical duo of Kane and Lukaku deserved it more.

Three key battles for Champions League Final

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Saturday brings Real Madrid’s journey toward a third-straight UEFA Champions League title to a close, with just Liverpool standing in the way.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

The Reds attack promises danger and entertainment, while Zinedine Zidane’s personnel choice may be just as important as his tactical decisions in Kiev.

Van Dijk, Lovren against… Ronaldo and whoever Zidane decides

It’s difficult to highlight the match-up problems for Liverpool’s center backs because Zinedine Zidane has used three different set-ups atop his line-up.

At times, it’s been Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Sometimes, Gareth Bale takes Benzema’s spot, and occasionally Ronaldo has been played up top as a center forward.

Believe it or not, that may be the best case scenario for Liverpool, though Ronaldo will undoubtedly roam across the top of the formation. While many think of Ronaldo and visualize his laser shots from distance, he’s quite dangerous in 1v1 aerial battles as well as tight spaces inside the box.

Quite frankly, matches like these highlight why the Reds signed Virgil Van Dijk. And, opinion alert, human bowling ball Benzema and his Juggernaut-esque approach to attacking may be a unique challenge Liverpool has not seen outside of Romelu Lukaku.

Marcelo vs. Mohamed Salah

Marcelo is an unbelievably silky, savvy left back who uses an elite attacking skill set to keep the opposition’s entire right side off kilter.

In some ways he can be partially neutralized by the danger presented by Reds right wing Mo Salah, but Zidane isn’t going to tell Marcelo to camp out in his own end when left center back Sergio Ramos is the next man up to defend, one of the finest players of his generation.

So it’s on Salah to assert himself on the game, something that shouldn’t be a problem after a couple weeks away from match action.

Can Real defend Liverpool on the counter?

We’ve seen Liverpool expose a number of teams on the counter attack, and Real certainly has a handle on how to do the same.

But building on our second key, there’s danger for both sides when Marcelo or Dani Carvajal get up the pitch. When Liverpool regains the ball and attacks at pace, there are big choices to be made.

Say Marcelo is up the pitch. Now Ramos may have to take Salah and leave Roberto Firmino to Raphael Varane. Now Carvajal may be alone with Sadio Mane. It’s not that Carvajal or Marcelo cannot defend, but these are not situations anyone wants in a one-off.

And that’s the key for Liverpool, really. This is a one-off. Over two legs, it’s hard to imagine the Reds as constructed pulling off another heavily-outchanced two-leg win like it did against Manchester City. The answer to this counter question may be what tells the story in Kiev.

Ancelotti hired to end Napoli’s scudetto drought

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Is Carlo Ancelotti the right man to end Juventus’ seemingly ages-old hold on the scudetto?

Napoli hopes so, and has inked the former Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich boss to a three-year deal.

Ancelotti’s resume speaks for itself, and the hiring promises more Serie A drama after the Neapolitan club nearly got the job done this season under Maurizio Sarri.

[ MORE: Top takeaways from Emery’s Arsenal unveiling ] 

Ancelotti won scudetti as a player with Roma (1) and AC Milan (2), once more as a manager for the latter. He also led Milan to two Champions League crowns, winning the tournament with Real Madrid as well, while bringing league titles to Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and Bayern Munich.

Napoli has finished Top 3 in six of eight seasons, finishing four points behind Juve this season. Juventus has won the last seven scudetti, and Napoli’s only title came in 1987.

The club announced the move after owner Aurelio De Laurentiis let go of Sarri, thanking the previous manager for three seasons of work which included a Serie A Coach of the Year Award and wins in 97 of 147 matches.

“I’d like to thank Maurizio Sarri for his valuable contribution to the Napoli cause. He brought joy and prestige to Naples and Napoli fans all over the world with an entertaining brand of football that drew praise from all quarters. Well done, Maurizio.”

Transfer Rumors: Seri to Arsenal; Vagnoman to Chelsea

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Nice’s Jean Seri is reportedly Unai Emery’s first target as Arsenal boss.

A report from the Daily Mail states that Seri, 26, is available for $46 million and although both Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund are interested, the Ivorian midfielder is a long-time target of the new Arsenal boss.

[ MORE: Top takeaways from Emery’s unveiling

Seri almost signed for Barcelona in the past and Emery tried to sign him in January while he was in charge of PSG.

The defensive midfielder is in the N'Golo Kante mould, but slightly more attack-minded than Kante. He has an incredible engine, exceptional reading of the game and is able to protect the ball while also starting attacks with surging runs on the ball. Yep, that’s the type of player who would thrive at Arsenal.

Seri’s arrival would also be much-needed following Santi Cazorla leaving after a two-year injury nightmare, plus Jack Wilshere out of contract on July 1 and likely to leave the Gunners. With Granit Xhaka‘s big-money arrival never quite working out, especially defensively, Seri could be a key part of the jigsaw in Emery’s rebuild as he can keep the ball and also spark the new high-pressing style the Spaniard wants to say.


Teenage defender Josha Vagnoman is being linked with a move to Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton, according to multiple outlets.

A report from ESPN states that the 17-year-old Hamburg full back (the second youngest player in Bundesliga history) will move on this summer and clubs across Europe are lining up to sign the German youth international as his contract with recently relegated Hamburg ends in July.

Vagnoman is interesting Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig but the report claims Arsenal have the edge due to their new head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat, keeping a close eye on his countryman over the years. Vagnoman is able to play left or right back.

Joining the likes of Arsenal, Bayern and Chelsea would likely mean a few years in the reserve squad for Vagnoman, while he could well play soon for either Dortmund or Leipzig given their penchant for giving youth a chance in their first team.

Argentina goalkeeper Romero out of World Cup with injury

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero will miss the World Cup because of a right knee injury.

The Argentine soccer federation says the Manchester United reserve may need surgery.

Romero was one of the three goalkeepers chosen by Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli for the 23-player squad he will take to the World Cup in Russia. Franco Armani and Wilfredo Caballero were also named in the squad.

Romero was a starter for Argentina at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

The federation says Sampaoli will announce a substitute for Romero in the coming days.