Gus Poyet

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Europa League: Sevilla and Zenit win, Celtic and Bordeaux held, Burnley falls

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The Europa League has reached its final qualifying round, and teams are vying for spots in the Group Stage. It’s still a massive group of teams that are vying for 21 spots among the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Marseille, Bayer Leverkusen, and others who are already confirmed among the groups.

A number of lopsided scorelines have given teams a hefty advantage after leg number one, while other results are still very much in doubt.

Premier League side Burnley suffered a 3-1 defeat to Greek giants Olympiakos. 25-year-old midfielder Konstantinos Fortounis scored a pair, including the backbreaker from the penalty spot after Ben Gibson was sent off for a handball in the box that resulted in his second yellow card. At the time, the score was 2-1 with Chris Wood having scored for Burnley from the spot and former Nottingham Forest midfielder Andreas Bouchalakis but Olympiakos back in front.

La Liga side Sevilla pulled out a late 1-0 win over Czech club Sigma Olomouc thanks to an 84th minute goal from Pablo Sarabia on a brilliant through-ball from Andre Silva.

Zenit St. Petersburg put three past Norwegian club FK Molde – all in the final 19 minutes – to take a 3-1 first leg lead. Molde had gone in front just before halftime and held it past the 70-minute mark, but Russian international Artem Dyzuba leveled the score. New signing Anton Zabolotny put Zenit with 10 minutes to go, before defender Miha Mevlja put the game away in the 90th minute.

Swedish club Malmo wasted a 2-0 lead at home, slumping to a 2-2 draw against Danish side FC Midtjylland. 35-year-old Malmo captain Markus Rosenberg struck first in the 12th minute, before former Blackburn and Leeds striker Marcus Antonsson doubled the lead in the 24th minute.

Scottish side Celtic scored three minutes into its match against Lithuanian club FK Suduva, but couldn’t manage another as they drew 1-1. 22-year-old French youth international Olivier Ntcham opened the scoring on the road, with a bullet header off a brilliant curling cross from 19-year-old Michael Johnston. However, Suduva leveled things in the 13th minute via Ovidijus Verbickas who got his head on the end of a long-range free-kick.

Turkish club Besiktas drew 1-1 with Serbian club Partizan Belgrade in a weird match that featured both goals scored within a minute of each other early on that almost perfectly mirrored each other. Cape Verde international Ricardo Gomes gave Partizan the lead at home in the 14th minute on a back-post header, before 28-year-old Tolgay Arslan scored a minute later on a nearly identical header from the opposite flank.

French side Bordeaux, with manager Gus Poyet suspended, drew 0-0 with Belgian club KAA Genk and saw Jules Koundé sent off in added time. RB Leipzig was also held to a 0-0 draw on the road, despite a man advantage for nearly the entire match after Ukranian club Zorya Lugansk’s winger Bogdan Lednev was sent off in just the 16th minute. Italian club Atalanta also finished 0-0 with Danish club FC Copenhagen.

Report: Thierry Henry offered Bordeaux job

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According to a report by Sky Sports, Thierry Henry has been offered the Bordeaux managerial position.

Henry left his Sky Sports punditry job this summer to concentrate on his coaching career, and has been a top assistant to Roberto Martinez with Belgium over the last two years, including this summer at the World Cup where Belgium finished in third place.

The Bordeaux position is theoretically open after the club suspended manager Gus Poyet who publicly criticized the front office for selling striker Gaetan Laborde to fellow Ligue 1 side Montpellier without his knowledge.

Henry, a French international with 51 goals in 123 caps for his home nation.

“It would be very good for Bordeaux,” current Nice manager Patrick Viera told Sky Sports. Viera was a former teammate of Henry’s on the French national team. “It would be very good for him. It would be very good for Ligue 1 because of his notoriety. I know he’s someone who really wants to be a coach and he has the means to succeed. He has had a lot of experiences. I think it would be a great thing for football because he has a lot to contribute and a lot to give.”

Henry reportedly was offered a U-18 coaching position at Arsenal last summer, but Arsene Wenger is said to have overruled that decision due to Henry’s part-time duties as a television pundit, wanting the former international to focus on the position full-time. The 41-year-old was also linked heavily to the Aston Villa job this summer, but the club decided to stick with Steve Bruce.

The Way Back (?) for Sunderland

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Sunderland’s gone.

The Stadium of Light side’s decade-plus stay in the Premier League is over, squashed by a series of insipid results in a last-place season.

The latest loss was Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Bournemouth, one in which the Black Cats battled but couldn’t find the necessary moments that provide points.

[ PL PREVIEW: Watford vs. Liverpool ]

It’s a long road back for Sunderland, one of three teams who will not be considered instant favorites to return to the top flight. Here’s three distinct parts of a path back to the top for the Black Cats. It could take a while.

1) Embrace the fate… — First and foremost, Sunderland needs to accept that its failure was all its own doing. This wasn’t “unlucky”. The Black Cats’ five wins came against teams that hardly lit the league on fire this season: Hull City, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Leicester City, and Watford. They have a minus-34 goal differential, are one of three teams to allow 60-plus goals and have scored a joint-lowest 26. Bad.

2) …And that it’s bigger than Moyes, Big Sam, almost any manager — It’s cute to point to the “heroics” of former managers Sam Allardyce, Paolo Di Canio, or Gus Poyet, but those bosses had more to work with than David Moyes did in this season.

You have to go 65 players to reach Sunderland’s top player through advanced stats site WhoScored, and 39 on Squawka. The former is Jordan Pickford, a player who will be in significant demand as an England U-21 player. The latter is a 34-year-old striker Jermain Defoe, and his rating is based on a hot start to the season (Defoe didn’t score following a brace on Feb. 4, a run that include nine goalless matches for his side).

Both seem gone, and other strong players seem close behind: Papy Djilobodji, Wahbi Khazri, Lamine Kone, and Didier N’Dong will have suitors, and represent some of the only strong buys in recent years. Will any consider staying?

And Patrick Van Aanholt isn’t coming through that door, while Adnan Januzaj, Jason Denayer, Seb Larsson, and Jan Kirchhoff are out of contract. The Black Cats are going to have to find a way to attract talent to the Northeast when London is the center of football.

3) Follow your neighbors – Now here’s where David Moyes, or whoever, has to convince Ellis Short to open his pocketbook. Newcastle United did it last summer with Rafa Benitez, and pretty much cruised to promotion at its first chance.

Newcastle had better resources to exploit in selling Giorginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko, and Andros Townsend to the tune of nearly $90 million, and did it along with the feat of convincing notorious bottom-liner Mike Ashley to reinvest almost all of it to get PL somewhat outcasts Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, DeAndre Yedlin, Ciaran Clark, and Isaac Hayden, who have shined in the promotion bid (A clever loan for Christian Atsu didn’t hurt).

They also convinced players who would shine in the Championship: Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey, and Ayoze Perez to stick around.

Sunderland doesn’t have any elite young attacking talents and will only make so much money off Khazri, Djilobodji, Defoe, and Kone. And Moyes’ embarrassing “slap” comments make it harder to expect enthusiasm if Sunderland keeps him on board.

But let’s assume there isn’t a better candidate than Moyes to guide the ship — and Sunderland hasn’t had a wealth of options in hiring its bosses at Premier League level — it makes sense to give him and his staff the chance to bring in players who are not his former also-rans at Everton.

Completely speculating, but if Sunderland finds its Ritchie and Gayle, maybe it can buck the trend. It wasn’t Newcastle alone, as there’s a decent standard of finding players from the upper levels to get there: Glenn Murray helped Brighton this year, and Joey Barton and Michael Keane at Burnley in 2016.

Who are Premier League new boys Brighton and Hove Albion?

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Brighton and Hove Albion is the first Championship team to clinch promotion to the Premier League this season.

What do know you need to know about them?

— Brighton was last in England’s top flight 34 years ago.

— Manager Chris Hughton also led Newcastle United to PL promotion in 2010.

— Assuming Sam Allardyce keeps Crystal Palace afloat, we’ll have another bonafide rivalry in the Premier League. Seagulls and Eagles do not get along well, contesting the M23 Derby. That denotes the motorway that connects South London and Sussex. In 98 matches, each side has won 37.

— Brighton’s captain is former Almeria and Valencia center back Bruno.

[ MORE: Should Man Utd prioritize Europa? ]

— Ex-Leicester and Standard Leige playmaker Anthony Knockaert (15 goals, 8 assists) and former Palace man Glenn Murray (22 goals) are big parts of the promotion push.

— Some familiar former Seagulls: Ashley Barnes (Burnley), Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City), Steve Cook (Bournemouth), Matthew Upson, and Wayne Bridge.

— In addition to Hughton, the club has employed managers Brian Clough, Peter Taylor, Gus Poyet, and Liam Brady.

— Vancouver Whitecaps product Sam Adekugbe is on loan at Brighton, and is currently with their youth set-up.

— The Seagulls play at 30,750-seat Falmer Stadium.

— Highlights of the club include making the 1983 FA Cup final (they lost to Manchester United) while lowlights include nearly being liquidated in the early part of this century.

Shanghai manager Poyet confirms Tevez nearing record move to China

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Carlos Tevez has played for some of the world’s greatest clubs, and now the Argentine forward is set to become the best-paid player in the global game.

[ MORE: Aviation investigation declares Chapecoense plane ran out of fuel ]

The 32-year-old Tevez waved goodbye to his Boca Juniors side recently, giving the former Premier League striker the opportunity to clear a massive paycheck in the Chinese Super League.

[ MORE: Liverpool-Stoke City meet in lone PL fixture on Tuesday ]

Shanghai Shenhua manager Gus Poyet has confirmed that Tevez is close to completing a move to the club, which is expected to bring the Argentine an annual salary of roughly $37.5 million — a simply astronomical number in any sport.

“I’m still waiting for 100 per cent to get permission to talk to Carlos about what’s ahead,” he told La Red.

“I don’t want to be unfair to people. It seems that everything is done and missing some details to be announced.”

Tevez had previously stated his desire to complete his career in Argentina with Boca, however, at this stage of his career the payday is likely too much to pass over.