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Sanchez offers apology to Man United fans after disappointing season

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There’s no two ways about it. Manchester United’s highest-paid player had a dreadful 2018-2019 Premier League season.

[READ: Premier League Season Review, Part 1]

Due to a variety of issues, from injuries to a loss of form and confidence, Man United Alexis Sanchez went from one of the best player’s in the world while at Barcelona and Arsenal to a shadow of his former self, in the span of a few dozen months. This season, he only made nine starts in 20 Premier League appearances, his lowest league starting total since he was a youth player in Chile. Sanchez also only finished with one Premier League goal this year.

In response, Sanchez issued an apology on Instagram, stating he didn’t perform well due to injuries and that he was confident Man United can return to days of regular success it achieved under Sir Alex Ferguson.

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Fue una temporada muy complicada, pero ellos los fans, son los únicos que se merecen unas disculpas, te apoyan siempre a pesar de todo por este club. En lo personal, no jugué todo lo que esperaba, me lesioné de cosas que nunca me habían pasado. Hay cosas internas que la gente y periodistas hablan sin saber. Siempre fui profesional en todo sentido, ofrezco disculpas a los fans 🙏🏽 por no estar peleando cosas importantes, siendo que somos el Manchester United. Jugadores y Staff saquemos conclusión, si hicimos lo correcto y entregamos lo mejor de cada uno por esta camiseta… Estoy seguro que el Manchester United, volverá a ser el club, que algún día fue, con el señor Alex Ferguson. ⬇️ 🙏🏽 It was a very tough season…the fan are the ones who deserve an apology as they always support you no matter what happens. Personally, I didn’t perform as much as I was expecting because of unpredictable injuries. Press and people were speculating of things that were not even true. I was always a professional in all aspects. I apologise to the fans 🙏 for not be able to achieve our goals,Nevertheless we are Manchester United! Players and Staff are questioning if we were doing the right thing and if we were giving our best for this football shirt … I'm certain that Manchester United one day will return to be the club, as it was in the old days with Mr. Alex Ferguson. 💪🏽….

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Perhaps this was just inevitable. Although Sanchez is 30-years old, he’s already got an incredible amount of mileage in his legs. The Chilean international has been playing first team soccer since 2005, and between 2014 and 2018, he basically played five straight seasons without a summer break. He played for Chile in the 2014 World Cup, then featured for La Roja in two successive Copas America, before heading to Russia for the 2017 Confederations Cup.

All the while, Sanchez was playing day in and day out for Barcelona and Arsenal, giving everything he had, and then in the fall and spring, making the long, long flights from Spain and England to Santiago, Chile to play for his national team.

Eventually, all that travel and time on the pitch without a rest will take its toll.

Sanchez can still be a great player in the Premier League, but it’s time to adjust expectations. He no longer is at the level of a player earning a reported $21.5 million per season. Instead, hopefully he will have time to rest this summer, take six weeks to recharge his batteries and recover from his injuries, and be ready to go one more time, whether for Man United or another club, should he decide to leave.

As Man United seeks a massive overhaul of its roster, Sanchez may be one player that they can’t offload, but his never-say-die attitude that made him such a fan favorite at Arsenal could come good under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, if he’s fit and ready to go.

Season restart preview: Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton season restart
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Brighton is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Seagulls when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: If there’s a team whose results don’t show the way they’ve played, it’s Brighton. Graham Potter’s Seagulls have the sixth-best possession percentage in the league, are a tidy seventh in passing, and are mid-table in tackles per game, interceptions per game, and shots per game.

[ MORE: Ranking every Brighton player in 2019-20 ]

The expected goals stats show even less reward for good work, with Brighton scoring 8.35 goals less than expected in open play and 4.38 less from corner kicks.

Despite all these good things, Brighton is two points clear of the drop zone with nine matches to play and has a terribly challenging schedule especially at the Amex Stadium.


Tactical analysis: Graham Potter has put the Seagulls in myriad formations this season, though he’s been utilizing at least four at the back since the calendar turned to 2020. He’s ready to attack but pragmatic given the club’s hopes of staving off the teams below it in the fight for PL survival.

[ MORE: The 2 Robbies assess Brighton’s chances ]


Possible XI (4-2-3-1) 

—– Ryan —–

— Montoya — Webster — Dunk — Burn —

—– Propper —– Mooy —–

— Trossard — Gross — Alzate —

—– Maupay—–

Glenn Murray and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are excellent weapons to have on the bench, and Brighton’s also got a very good center back in reserve in the form of Shame Duffy and an underrated center mid in Dale Stephens who will see playing time, too. On paper, this team is too good to go down.


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle
Away: Leicester, Norwich, Southampton, Burnley

Predicted finish: They’ll do enough to get by, though that home fixture list is simply brutal. Safe before the final weekend.

Social media wrap: All 20 Premier League clubs, many players stand against racism

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The protests in the United States have inspired anti-racism statements from around the world, including all gestures from all 20 Premier League clubs and many players and managers.

There have been ongoing protests and horrible violence in the U.S. since the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air in Minnesota.

Newcastle United’s American defender DeAndre Yedlin issued an emotional thread (below) as one of a great deal of players to express hopes for change and solidarity, while Schalke’s Weston McKennie explained his wearing a black armband reading “Justice For George” in the Bundesliga this weekend.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

From Ancelotti to Zaha, Antonio to Yedlin, Arsenal to Wolves, we’ve collected many of their sentiments below in what we hope serves as universal disdain for racial prejudice.

Some players like Leicester City’s Wes Morgan and even entire clubs (Arsenal) changed their online identity photos to reflect these troubled times.

All PL clubs issued messages of solidarity, many using the Black Lives Matter hashtag and making no bones about where they stand.

And we’ll start with a longtime PL club currently in the Championship, who blasted a season ticket holder’s rejection of their unifying Tweet.

Here are some other clubs and players worldwide to have noticed what’s happening in the United States.

 

Season restart preview: Bournemouth

Bournemouth season restart
Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Bournemouth when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Tough sledding for the Cherries, who face zero of their fellow bottom-six sides (though 13th place Newcastle and 14th place Saints both visit the Vitality Stadium).

There’s been an element of bad luck to Bournemouth’s woes, with its expected goals stats showing Ryan Fraser, Joshua King, and Callum Wilson have deserved better end product and that the Cherries’ 14 goals from open play should be closer to 22. The defense has been bad and xG says it could’ve been worse, too. Injuries had hit Bournemouth’s defense corps in a big way, too. How much better will they be after the break?

[ MORE: Ranking every Cherries player in 2019-20 ]


Tactical analysis: Eddie Howe utilized a 4-4-2 with two defensive midfielders for much of the early season, but has gone between a lone striker with a packed-in midfielder and a 4-3-3 when he thinks an opponent is exploitable.

Howe started a 4-4-2 against almost all of the Cherries’ remaining opponents, choosing a 5-4-1 against Wolves and Man City. There’s no guarantee he’ll continue that, especially when some matches may dictate a draw or limited goal differential damage over wins.


Possible XI (4-3-3) 

—– Ramsdale —–

— Smith — S. Cook — Ake — Rico —

—– Lerma —– Billing — L. Cook —

— Fraser —– C. Wilson —– King —–

Howe prefers to attack when at all possible, but the points will be at a premium against some very challenging opponents. It’s a safe bet that he’ll ask a lot from his forwards while trying to deploy his three relentless midfielders together whenever possible. The question here is whether Aaron Ramsdale returns quickly from his COVID-19 positive test, or if it’ll be Artur Boruc or someone else between the sticks.


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Spurs, Leicester City, Southampton
Away: Wolves, Manchester United, Man City, Everton

Predicted finish: The Cherries stay up, just, as King and Callum Wilson deliver the goods in front of a determined and improved midfield.

Premier League clubs will reportedly be allowed preseason friendlies

Premier League return
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Premier League clubs will be allowed to play preseason matches ahead of the 2019-20’s restart season later this month.

There will be strict protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, and the matches will likely be officiated by club coaching staffs (We have so many Jose Mourinho as ref quips to make here, but let’s keep going anyway).

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Sky Sports says clubs will be limited to opponents within 90 minutes of their venue, and that players will have to drive themselves to the stadiums and go directly to the field in uniform.

With the League One and League Two seasons still hanging in the balance, it’s likely PL sides will be limited to each other and Championship sides. Presumably clubs will not want to meet others still on their fixture list.

We assume some players will get dressed in their vehicles outside the ground, but allow yourself some levity in these challenging times and imagine a fully kitted-up Virgil van Dijk driving the roads from Liverpool to Wigan Athletic.