Premier League Team of the Season so far

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The 2019-20 Premier League season is almost a third of the way in and there have certainly been some outstanding displays and consistency from individuals so far.

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Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool and Man City have all been in good form, and their star players dominate our selection for the Team of the Season, so far.

Below is my pick for the best XI, plus seven subs, but feel free to send us yours in the comments section below.

JPW’s Best XI of the Premier League season, so far…

—– Kepa —–

—- Alexander-Arnold —- Van Dijk —- Soyuncu —- Robertson —-

—- De Bruyne —- Jorginho —- Ndidi —-

—- Sterling —- Vardy —- Mane —- 

Subs: Schmeichel, Chilwell, Cahill, Fabinho, Maddison, Mount, Abraham

Analysis: Okay, goalkeeper was perhaps the toughest position as Alisson has been out injured and Ederson has had a few ups and downs, while Fabianski was superb early in the season but was then injured and Hugo Lloris also went down. That leaves us with Kasper Schmeichel, Bernd Leno, Aaron Ramsdale and Kepa to choose from. I’m going for the latter as his distribution has been very good and the defense in front of him is young and still developing together, meaning he’s had plenty of reps and has made some very good saves.

In defense the full backs pick themselves with Alexander-Arnold and Robertson getting the nod but Ben Chilwell from Leicester is pushing Robertson all the way. At center back Caglar Soyuncu has been sublime for the Foxes, while Virgil Van Dijk is in imperious form and has had to crank things up a few more notches with Joel Matip out injured in recent weeks. Gary Cahill from Crystal Palace and Jon Egan from Sheffield United have both had very good starts for two solid defensive teams.

Midfield was tricky, but Kevin De Bruyne has been in the form of his life and so too has Jorginho who has totally turned around the wave of negativity against him from Chelsea’s fans. The Italian midfielder is digging deep and doing the dirty work as well as displaying his incredible array of passing. Wilfred Ndidi‘s ability to win the ball back is mind-boggling and he just gets in ahead of Youri Tielemans and James Maddison who have been linking Leicester’s attack together in front of him. Fabinho is another midfield destroyer who has been in the form of his life but he is only on our bench.

Talking of attack, Raheem Sterling gets in as he continues to score goals galore for Man City, and so too does Tammy Abraham as he’s finally got the chance to become a regular at Chelsea and he’s taken it with both hands. But he doesn’t get in our team as Jamie Vardy is a man reborn and is simply on fire for second-place Leicester. Sadio Mane has scored so many crucial goals for Liverpool and even though Roberto Firmino has played well, Mane is Liverpool’s main man as Mohamed Salah battles through an ankle injury. Sergio Aguero and Mason Mount just miss out on our XI but the former is scoring goals at a career-best rate and the latter is set to be a star for Chelsea and England for many years to come.

Griezmann’s second half brace saves Barcelona from shock upset in Ibiza

Barcelona survives Copa del Rey scare
Photo by JAIME REINA/AFP via Getty Images
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Like a college kid on Spring Break, Barcelona vastly underestimated the power of Ibiza.

One of the biggest clubs in the world had loads of trouble in its Copa del Rey Round of 32 meeting at UD Ibiza on Wednesday.

Barcelona barely got past the third-tier side thanks to two Antoine Griezmann goals and a comeback 2-1 win at the Estadi Municipal de Can Misses.

UD Ibiza playing in a 5,000-seat stadium, took a ninth-minute lead and had more shot attempts as late as the 65th minute. New manager Quique Setien was left to sweat it out.

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Somewhat fitting that a man named Pep got the early goal. Josep Caballe Martin has more yellow cards than goals in Segunda B this season.

Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, and an injured Luis Suarez were among the players left behind, but this wasn’t a massively depleted Barcelona side. Arturo Vidal and Jordi Alba were brought off the bench.

Frenkie de Jong set up Griezmann for a 72nd minute equalizer, and Griezmann added his second off an Alba feed in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Watch Live: Man Utd v. Burnley; Spurs v. Norwich; Leicester v. West Ham

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The race for the Premier League’s top-four resumes with as many as three genuine contenders for Champions League qualification in action, all at home, all against bottom-seven competition, on Wednesday.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

The day’s late game, to be shown live on NBCSN, features fifth-place Manchester United hosting Burnley at Old Trafford. Elsewhere, eighth-place Tottenham Hotspur will host Norwich City and third-place Leicester City will host West Ham United.

You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

The schedule for the three games on Wednesday is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.

3:15 p.m. ET: Man United v. Burnley — NBCSN [STREAM]
2:30 p.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur v. Norwich City — NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:30 p.m. ET: Leicester City v. West Ham United — NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Police enter headquarters of Spanish club Malaga

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MALAGA, Spain (AP) Police entered the headquarters of Spanish club Malaga on Wednesday to seize documents related to a court case involving the second-division team.

[ MORE: Christian Eriksen holds talks with Levy; Inter “still confident” ]

Authorities did not release further details because the search-and-seizure action was part of an investigation being conducted under secrecy.

Police would not confirm Spanish media reports that the action was about a case in which Qatari owner Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani is being sued by minority owners over alleged administrative irregularities.

[ MORE: Levy reportedly met with Real Madrid about Gareth Bale ]

Al-Thani took over the club in 2010.

Malaga last month fired coach Victor Sanchez del Amo after an intimate video was released online.

The team from southern Spain is 16th in the 22-team second-division standings.

Bale’s agent denies loan reports; ‘not many clubs can afford him’

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Gareth Bale‘s agent Jonathan Barnett has called recent reports claiming the Real Madrid superstar could be loaned elsewhere “ridiculous” on the basis that “there are not many clubs that can afford him anyway.”

[ MORE: Daniel Levy reportedly met with Real Madrid about Bale ]

Bale has reportedly been unhappy in Madrid and at odds with manager Zinedine Zidane, leading to months of speculation that he could leave the Santiago Bernabeu. However, due to his nearly $600,000-per-week wages, very few — if any — clubs in the world can afford his wages, let alone the transfer fee required as well.

Therefore, a loan move would seem to make sense, only Barnett seems to be offended that a player of Bale’s caliber would ever be discussed as a loan candidate — quotes from the BBC:

“Why would one of the best players on Earth go on loan? That’s ridiculous. At the moment, he is going to be playing football for Real Madrid and he has got two and a half years left on his contract.

“He is happy and hopefully he will win a couple of more things with Real Madrid.”

“Things can change, but loans are ridiculous and there are not many clubs that can afford him anyway.”

Bale’s contract runs through the summer of 2022. He has scored just two goals in nine league games this season.