10 things we loved about the Premier League season

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The 2018-19 Premier League season was one of the best in recent memory, if not ever.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

With that in mind, what did we love so much about this campaign?

Here are 10 things we adored throughout this incredible season.

1. Liverpool’s multiple late shows 
Jurgen Klopp‘s side came up short in the title race, but they gave us so many memorable moments throughout the season. Late winners against Everton, Tottenham, Southampton and Newcastle kept their title dreams alive heading into the final 90 minutes of the season, with Divock Origi popping up as an unexpected hero on multiple occasions. Led by the superb Virgil Van Dijk from the back, Klopp’s attack fired once again with Salah, Mane and Firmino sublime. This Liverpool team is here to stay, and will be genuine title contenders again next season. Klopp’s hugs, fist pumps and smile have breathed new life into Anfield.

2. Man City’s quadruple dreams
How many trophies will they win? Well, they’ve won two and they could win three. Talk of City winning an unprecedented quadruple dominated the last few months of the season, but their dramatic UCL second leg clash against Spurs saw their quadruple dreams dashed. After becoming the first team to defend their title in a decade and racking up 98 points to follow their 100-point haul last season, City are one of the greatest PL teams in history. Guardiola hopes they will be rediscovered like a brilliant book or movie in 25 years time. They will. What a team with Raheem Sterling, Bernando Silva and Aymeric Laporte having stunning campaigns.

3.  European glory returned to PL
Six PL teams started off in the group stage of the Champions League and Europa League, and four still remain as Liverpool face Spurs in the UCL final and Arsenal clash with Chelsea in the Europa League. That is outstanding. It is the first time in history that all four finalists from Europe’s top two competitions have all come from the same country. After a decade of dominance from Spain and Germany, England’s elite are now on top in Europe.

4. Tottenham’s stunning new stadium
I was lucky enough to be at the first game of Spurs’ new stadium at White Hart Lane, and it is simply stunning. This is the best Premier League stadium by a country mile, and with only Everton seriously planning to move to a new home in the coming years, it could be the best for quite some time.

5. Jose Mourinho’s “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” rant
Again, I was lucky enough to have a front row seat for one of the wackier moments of this season. Mourinho demanding “respect, respect” after his United team were hammered 3-0 by Spurs at Old Trafford in August. The journalist sat next to me in the press conference asked a pretty innocuous question and Mourinho had to get a summer’s worth of complaints off his chest as he didn’t get the new center back or winger he wanted. Mourinho was fired a few months later, and this was the start of the meltdown. After the Spurs incident Mourinho was involved in a scrap with Chelsea’s bench then gave the Chelsea fans a three finger salute, took the vice captaincy from Paul Pogba and then goaded Juventus fans after an improbable comeback win for United. It was box office Mourinho. We miss him. Slightly. We think.

6. Man United’s amazing Solskjaer inspired run
On the back of Mourinho leaving, United legend Solskjaer was hired on a caretaker basis. The first few months were glorious, as United went on an 11-game unbeaten streak in all competitions and Solskjaer won eight of his first 11 games in all competitions. Among that run was an incredible comeback against PSG to reach the UCL last eight, but as soon as Solskjaer was handed the job on a permanent basis it all went wrong in a big way as United’s finished sixth, lost seven of their last 10 games and will play in the Europa League next season.

7. Black Cat stole the show at Goodison Park
Well, there’s always one way to get everyone laughing and smiling, and Everton’s play on the pitch was not exciting fans at this point of the season. A black cat running around the pitch and holding up the game stole the show. After this moment Everton’s season took a huge upturn. Maybe black cats aren’t bad luck after all…

8. An American superstar arrived (sort of)
Okay, so he didn’t play in the PL this season but we have our first proper American superstar in the Premier League. Christian Pulisic, 20, signed for Chelsea in January for $73 million, and was loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the rest of this season. With Eden Hazard set to leave this summer, Pulisic could be the next genuine star playmaker at Chelsea. This is very exciting for the USMNT and American soccer.

9. Neil Warnock‘s general antics, led by an Oasis audition
Cardiff City’s boss may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he still dished up some outrageous moments. From his hand on the hip moments after Cardiff lost late on against Chelsea, to several comments post-game which got him in trouble with the FA, Warnock’s weirdest moment happened when he approached a TV camera and ended up looking like Liam Gallagher in full flow.

10. VAR rant from Charlie Austin
Let’s end on both a fun and sobering note. Firstly, Charlie Austin fuming about the lack of VAR after Southampton drew with Watford not only landed him a fine but also got everyone laughing. He truly lost the plot when it came to VAR not being in the PL this season. Don’t fear, Charlie. VAR will be around from next season and we will no doubt see plenty more debate and drama from players and managers alike about the technology.

Delph completes transfer to Everton

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Everton has added an England international in a move to bolster its midfield.

The club announced that it had signed Fabian Delph to a three-year contract, after an undisclosed permanent transfer from Manchester City. Delph comes to the blue half of Liverpool after spending the last four seasons at Manchester City, where he began as a central midfielder but was quickly pushed out wide as a left back, and only featured 20 times in all competitions for the Sky Blues last season.

“Every time I have played against Everton, whether it was home or away, straight away the first thing that comes to mind when you see the fans is passion,” Delph said on Everton’s website. “The Everton fans seem to know football, seem to understand it, it seems to be in their blood and they really back the team. You are always going to hear Evertonians and I’m excited to play at home and hear them when I am playing. I’m really happy to be here, I’m going to give absolutely everything – nothing less than 100 per cent.

Although it feels like he’s been around forever, Delph is actually still only 29-years-old, and should still have a few years left in the tank to help propel Everton to the next level. At the least, Delph adds steel and technical ability in the middle of the park, where he could likely partner with Andre Gomes, who made his move to Everton permanent this summer from Barcelona.

Delph also adds versatility, and that should help him stay in the Everton lineup, should it need him out wide or to play in the center of the park.

However, the most important aspect Delph brings is the winning mentality. Even though he didn’t play a massive role, Delph has had the opportunity to train and play alongside the likes of Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, all winners in their careers who do whatever it takes to get three points and win a title.

Bringing that attitude and mentality to Everton is huge for the club, which needs a lift after the departure of Wayne Rooney and other big names who have departed since the end of the David Moyes era.

Report: Ajax in negotiations to sign El Tri’s Alvarez

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One of the Mexico National Team’s brightest stars appears to be heading to Ajax, where he could potentially be the replacement for one Matthijs de Ligt.

According to a report in Voetbol International, a publication in the Netherlands, Ajax technical director Marc Overmars confirmed the club’s interest in signing Club America and El Tri defender Edson Alvarez. Club America are reportedly demanding nothing less than nearly $17 million for Alvarez, who has in just two years become a regular for El Tri.

[READ: USMNT’s Boyd signs with Besiktas]

The report states that Wolverhampton Wanderers – which has Alvarez’s El Tri teammate Raul Jimenez – and PSV Eindhoven were also interesting in signing Alvarez.

The 21-year-old made his debut for Club America as a right back under long-time Liga MX manager Ricardo La Volpe in 2016, and just a few months after his club debut, he was already playing for the national team. He was included and featured at the 2017 Gold Cup, becoming Mexico’s youngest scorer in the competition (at age 19) and he then started all four of Mexico’s games at the 2018 World Cup, including against Neymar and Brazil in the Round of 16.

Alvarez has continued his strong play over the past year and has moved into more of a centerback and holding midfielder role at times. He played as a No. 6 for Mexico in its 1-0 win over the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2019 Gold Cup final, at times dropping into the back line to defend while providing support in the attack.

As Alvarez is still young but continues to grow, it’s a perfect time for him to join Ajax. There, he’ll face even better attackers than in Liga MX, and he’ll have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders to play for a prestigious club like Ajax. The pressure to perform will only make him better, like it’s helped countryman Hirving “Chucky” Lozano across the Netherlands at PSV Eindhoven.

Interestingly, Alvarez would be the second summer signing for Ajax with a North American connection. Defender Kik Pierie was actually born in Boston, while his father was studying at Harvard Medical School, though he’s been raised almost entirely in the Netherlands and has featured for the Oranje internationally.

USMNT’s Boyd signs with Besiktas

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Add another American to the list of players who will be playing in UEFA competitions this fall.

Turkish giant Besiktas announced on Monday that it had signed winger Tyler Boyd to a four-year contract in a transfer from Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes. Boyd has had a pretty impressive last six months, from scoring six goals in 14 games with Ankaragücü in the Turkish Superlig on loan, to scoring goals and making the Gold Cup roster for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

The New Zealand-born pacey winger completed a one-time switch to play for the USMNT in May, and he went on to score a brace in the USMNT’s Gold Cup opener against Guyana. While Boyd made five appearances for the U.S. this summer, he was left on the bench as the U.S. bowed out to Mexico, suddenly appearing out of Berhalter’s plans as quickly as he entered them.

Regardless, this is a great move for Boyd, assuming he can get some first team minutes. It’s a big step up from Ankaragücü to play for Besiktas, which not only includes the heated Istanbul derbies against Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, but next season will also include at least six matches in the UEFA Europa League. By finishing third in the Turkish league, Besiktas earned a place direct in the Europa League group stage.

Of course, like we saw this summer with the USMNT, Boyd has to break into a more talented group of players and earn minutes, both for league and European matches. If he’s not playing much, it’s possible we won’t see much of him with the national team, as Jordan Morris gets regular playing time as well as others in that position like Timothy Weah, Corey Baird and possibly Kenny Saief, now that he’s back with Anderlecht.

Boyd is undoubtedly a talented player. Hopefully, this move up in stature and pressure can help the 24-year-old take his game to a new level.

Report: Manchester United “miles” apart on Maguire deal

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Yesterday, the English tabloids exploded with reports that Manchester United was nearing a deal with Leicester City to make Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in the world with a $100 million deal nearly completed. Some even went so far as to suggest a medical would take place on Monday – today.

Now, there seems to be an about-face as ESPN senior writer Mark Ogden reports that the two sides are “miles away” on a potential deal, as his source describes it.

According to the report, Manchester United’s last bid of $50 million is much closer to their valuation of the player, and while Leicester City is holding out for a world record bid, the two sides have not made much movement towards an agreement. They are willing to go up to $75 million with another bid, but that is still well off the Leicester City price tag.

Ogden writes that Manchester United’s first choice was Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, but he is nearing completion on a move to Juventus, and if the reports over the last few weeks are to be believed, Manchester United was never really in play. De Ligt was handed significant wages at Juventus, something Manchester United may not have been willing to do.

They turned their sights towards Maguire, but with three weeks left in the transfer window, there apparently needs to be significant work done on a deal to move it across the finish line. Ogden writes that there is “confidence” within Manchester United that Maguire wants the move, but that’s nothing if the two clubs can’t come to an agreement.