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Wenger: Loss to Newcastle “the story of Arsenal’s season”

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Sunday just wasn’t Arsenal’s day.

The 2017-18 Premier League season just hasn’t been Arsenal’s season, and Sunday’s 2-1 defeat away to 10th-place Newcastle United so perfectly exemplified the Gunners’ eight months’ worth of struggles, according to manager Arsene Wenger.

[ MORE: Man City win PL title | Top 10 moments | Who were the stars? ]

Having gone up 1-0 after 14 minutes, the fatigue of having played away to CSKA Moscow on Thursday eventually caught up to Arsenal as they fell to a fifth straight PL defeat away from the Emirates Stadiu. Following the game, Wenger said Sunday’s game was “the story of our season” and called such a streak “a worry character-wise” — quotes from the Guardian:

“It’s the story of our season. We had 70 percent of possession and were 1-0 up. You wonder how you can lose this game. It could have been over at half-time. It’s very harsh to swallow a defeat like this. It’s very disappointing.

“Of course it’s a concern to have lost five games in a row away, because traditionally we have a very strong record away. It has become a subconscious weight on our minds. Once you’re in a negative spiral like this it is very hard to get out of.”

“It’s very difficult to combine the Europa League on Thursday night and the Premier League on Sunday afternoons. Some of our players were affected physically by getting back from Moscow so late.

“But losing like this is a worry character-wise. Our attitude today was spot on, but I have to be realistic enough to say that maybe our balance offensively and defensively doesn’t work.”

[ MORE: Arsenal throw away lead, lose away to Newcastle ]

With five league games left to play (Arsenal will face Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semifinals beginning next week), fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur sit 13 points clear of their north London rivals, meaning the anti-St. Totteringham’s Day (and a guaranteed place outside the PL’s top-four) could come as soon as Tuesday, when Tottenham visit Brighton & Hove Albion (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Wenger, however, remains in charge and appears to be the sole authority on whether or not he’ll remain the manager come August.

Open Cup draw postponed as Portland protests LAFC win

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The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup draw is not going as planned, as the Portland Timbers protest the roster of victorious LAFC.

[ RECAP: Four USOC semifinalists minted ]

Philadelphia, Chicago, and Houston were the other sides to get a place in the final four teams.

LAFC’s victory had already been marred by Adama Diomande‘s claims of a racial slur hurled his way, and now their victory may be in question altogether as U.S. Soccer issued a press release saying Thursday’s scheduled draw was postponed.

From a U.S. Soccer press release:

The decision comes as a result of a protest filed by the Portland Timbers in relation to the number of foreign players fielded by Los Angeles Football Club during Wednesday night’s Quarterfinal at Banc of America Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.

The rule says a maximum five players without green cards can be in the 18. Portland started only two Americans, Jeff Attinella and Zarek Valentin, but have green cards for many others and rules are rules.

Will the Timbers take a semifinal berth via protest?

Zlatan explains tough second season at Old Trafford

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic at his most humble is still a man riding his ego through the clouds.

The LA Galaxy striker gave an interview to the BBC in which he detailed why his second season at Manchester United didn’t go according to plan.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Ibrahimovic, 36, said his “mind was ready” but his knee was not when he followed up a 28-goal, 10-assist debut at Old Trafford with just seven appearances with one League Cup goal.

From the BBC:

“When I was ready, I said to myself ‘I am not there’,” he said. “They had a Zlatan before. After, I was not ready to be that Zlatan. I was selected in many of the games but I told the coach: ‘Listen, I am not ready. I don’t want to disappoint you. The respect I have for my team-mates and the coach. Select someone else who can do the job better.’ I stood up and did it, even if I am Zlatan.”

How’s that for humble? There’s only one Zlatan…

Report: Bristol City offers $4m for USMNT GK Steffen

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Championship side Bristol City has lodged a $4 million bid for Columbus Crew and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen, according to MLS insider Sam Stejskal.

Viewed as a potential long-term American No. 1 for his country, Steffen has thrived at Columbus since returning from a stint at Freiburg in Germany.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Stejskal reached Columbus coach Gregg Berhalter, who said multiple teams are interested in Steffen but did not confirm the Bristol City bid. Berhalter said, “We want to be a place where we get players and we develop them and we help them advance in their careers, wherever that may be.”

Steffen, 23, starred at Maryland before making the move abroad. He’s proven a fantastic young pro with a knack for stopping penalty kicks.

Bristol City finished 11th in the Championship last season with 30-year-old goalkeeper Frank Fielding, who had played 153 league matches for the club since 2013 and led the club to promotion from League One in 2015.

Some have openly questioned whether the Championship is a clear upgrade from MLS — don’t count this typer in that group — but this does seem like win-win for Columbus and Steffen if the player wants the move. The Championship has been good for the development of several American players including Tim Ream, DeAndre Yedlin (on loan from a Premier League club), and Lynden Gooch.

Premier League jerseys 2018-19: All the new PL Kits

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There are just a few weeks to go until the new Premier League season kicks off and all 20 teams have released at least one new jersey.

[ LIVE: Stream every PL game ] 

With so many fresh kits out there, it’s tough to pick a favorite but take a good look through all of the new threads below.

These are all of the confirmed new Premier League jerseys for the 2018/19 campaign.


Arsenal


Bournemouth


Brighton & Hove Albion


Burnley


Chelsea


Cardiff City


Crystal Palace


Everton


Fulham


Huddersfield Town


Leicester City


Liverpool


Manchester City


Manchester United


Newcastle United


Southampton


Tottenham Hotspur


Watford


West Ham United


Wolverhampton Wanderers