Gylfi Sigurdsson

Premier League Preview: Aston Villa v. Everton

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Everton has a chance to break out of an early-season slump offensively with a trip to newly-promoted Aston Villa on Friday at Villa Park. (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

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The Toffees have scored just one goal through the first two games of the season, thanks to the tricky winger Bernard, but Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and new signing Moise Kean off the bench haven’t delivered just yet. That could change though against a the defensive pair of Bjorn Engels and Tyrone Mings, which are still gaining chemistry.

Morgan Schneiderlin could make his return after missing last week with suspension and could partner with Andre Gomes in midfield. However, new signing Jean-Philippe Gbamin performed admirably for Marco Silva, and he could have some selection headaches already this early in the season.

For Dean Smith and Aston Villa, it’s another night game at home in Villa Park, and a chance to get the side’s first win. After a strong finish against Bournemouth, maybe it can take that momentum into Friday’s match against Everton.


Projected lineups

Aston Villa: Heaton; El Mohamady, Engels, Mings, Taylor; McGinn, Luiz, Grealish; Trezeguet, Wesley, Jota

Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Schneiderlin, Gomes; Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Iwobi; Calvert-Lewin.


What they’re saying

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith on his side’s attack so far: “Our most likely scorer at the moment looks like John McGinn, who has made some really deep runs into the opposition half. Saying that, Jack Grealish had a really good chance last weekend. Wesley has teed up Trezeguet for a good chance. Even Neil Taylor has had two chances. So we’re creating chances and we just have to start taking them now. I am sure they will come.”

Everton manager Marco Silva on his team’s defensive resiliency: “The feeling is really good when we finish a match and haven’t conceded a goal. It means we have worked together and are understanding the plans and our way of defending. It starts up front and all of them have to be proud because of the work they are doing. I am really proud of what we are achieving with our defensive organisation.”


Both teams have spent heavily in the offseason to upgrade their squad, but Aston Villa is still finding life difficult back in the Premier League. Everton, at least, still have a strong defensive core, and should be able to hold off the likes of Wesley and McGinn with his late runs into the box.

With another week of fitness in Richarlison and a chance for Alex Iwobi to play, either starting or off the bench, Everton has a chance to really brush past Aston Villa and make a statement. However, they’re clearly still a work in progress, so it will probably be another tight game. Everton 2-1 Aston Villa

Crystal Palace flusters 10-man Everton

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Everton suffered a monumentally disappointing start to a season with high hopes, drawing Crystal Palace 0-0 with 10 men at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

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Andre Gomes left the match injured, and Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off for a pair of yellow cards.


Three things we learned

1. Selhurst Park is a tricky place to visit, but the Toffees will be so deeply upset to have faltered on Week 1 against a team expected to be bottom half at best. A lot of the Toffees’ new players started the game on the bench, including Moise Kean and Jean-Philippe Gbamin. Alex Iwobi also didn’t play, but the Toffees would’ve wanted all three points for their Top Six push.

2. Everton is deep. When new expensive signing Andre Gomes limped off, the Toffees were able to replace him with new expensive signing Jean-Philippe Gbamin (a likely future starter in his own right). With no European football on the books, the Toffees have plenty of promise this season even if injuries strike Goodison Park.

3. Everton + Opening Day = Man sent off. A year after Phil Jagielka was sent to the locker room in a 2-2 draw at Wolves, Morgan Schneiderlin saw a second yellow card for late challenge at Selhurst Park. Note to supporters: Hope Everton is on your schedule for Week 1 next season.

Man of the Match: Max Meyer — A very good sophomore debut following a disappointing first season at Selhurst Park.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The hosts were lively early, and almost broke through before halftime when Max Meyer spun a shot that was tipped over the bar by Jordan Pickford. Scott Dann then headed a corner off the back of a defender before Everton dealt with the second one.

The second half saw the Toffees threaten to go ahead when Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s quick shot was cleared off the line by Patrick Van Aanholt.

Pickford denied a Meyer rip in the 57th minute after slimmed-down Christian Benteke played him through on goal.

Lucas Digne made a goal saving clearance when Patrick van Aanholt send a delightful cross through the box.

Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off for a second yellow card following a 76th minute challenge.

Current transfer records for all 20 Premier League clubs

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More than half of the Premier League’s teams broke transfer records in 2019. Half!

Arsenal, Brighton, Newcastle, Watford, Spurs, West Ham, Man City, Wolves, Leicester City, and Aston Villa all have new top record holders, but where do those (reported) fees line up in comparison to other clubs’ records?

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Wait no further, friends. Here are all the club transfer records for all 20 teams, with all transfers over $70 million included in the interest of perspective.

Fees are rounded to the nearest American million, using the current exchange rate. Values for Top 100 all-time transfers come from Transfermarkt, the rest via reports:

Manchester United – Paul Pogba (2016) – $108M

Manchester United – Harry Maguire (2019) – $99M

Manchester United – Romelu Lukaku (2017) – $97M

Liverpool – Virgil Van Dijk (2018) – $91M

Chelsea – Kepa Arrizabalaga (2018) – $91M

Arsenal – Nicolas Pepe (2019) – $88M

Man City – Rodri (2019) – $80M

Man City – Riyad Mahrez (2018) – $77M

Chelsea – Alvaro Morata (2017) – $75M

Man City – Joao Cancelo (2019) – $74M

Man City – Aymeric Laporte (2017) – $74M

Chelsea – Christian Pulisic (2019) – $73M

Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2017) – $73M

Man City – Raheem Sterling (2015) – $73M

Liverpool – Alisson Becker (2018) – $71M

Man City – Kevin De Bruyne (2015) – $70M

Spurs – Tanguy Ndombele (2019) – $68M

Everton – Gylfi Sigurdsson (2017) – $56M

Leicester City – Youri Tielemans (2019) – $51M

Newcastle United – Joelinton (2019) – $50M

Watford- Ismaila Sarr (2019) – $49M

West Ham – Sebastien Haller (2019) – $46M

Wolves – Raul Jimenez (2019) – $43M

Crystal Palace – Christian Benteke (2016) – $33M

Bournemouth – Jefferson Lerma (2017) – $30M

Southampton – Jannik Vestergaard (2018) – $29M

Aston Villa – Wesley (2019) – $27M

Brighton – Neil Maupay and Adam Webster (2019) – $24M each

Sheffield United – Oli McBurnie (2019) – $24M

Burnley – Ben Gibson (2018) and Chris Wood (2017) – $18M each

Norwich City – Steven Naismith (2016) and Tim Klose (2016) – $12M each

Top 10 Premier League players at each position

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There are 25 players in each Premier League squad, but who will not only star for their respective clubs but also elevate themselves to the upper echelons of the league this season? With the Premier League campaign officially set to begin this week, we continue our look ahead to the upcoming campaign with an overview of the top players at each position across the league.

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Sure to incite debate, these rankings are based on player performance over the past few years for both club and country, with numerical production combined with the eye test.

Below is a look at our complete list of the top 10 players in each position coming into the 2019-20 Premier League season.


Goalkeeper

  1. Ederson
  2. Alisson
  3. David De Gea
  4. Hugo Lloris
  5. Jordan Pickford
  6. Kasper Schmeichel
  7. Kepa Arrizabalaga
  8. Rui Patricio
  9. Lukasz Fabianski
  10. Ben Foster

Joel Matip partnered brilliantly with Virgil Van Dijk for much of last season to lead Liverpool at the back (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images).

Center-back

  1. Virgil van Dijk
  2. Aymeric Laporte
  3. Toby Alderweireld
  4. Jan Vertonghen
  5. Harry Maguire
  6. Joe Gomez
  7. Antonio Rudiger
  8. Joel Matip
  9. Conor Coady
  10. Nathan Ake

Right-back

  1. Trent Alexander-Arnold
  2. Kyle Walker
  3. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
  4. Ricardo Pereira
  5. Matt Doherty
  6. Cesar Azpilicueta
  7. Serge Aurier
  8. Kiko Femenia
  9. Max Aarons
  10. Seamus Coleman

Left-back

  1. Andrew Robertson
  2. Lucas Digne
  3. Ben Chilwell
  4. Nacho Monreal
  5. Luke Shaw
  6. Matt Ritchie
  7. Jonny Otto
  8. Patrick Van Aanholt
  9. Benjamin Mendy
  10. Marcos Alonso

It remains to be seen what N’Golo Kante’s role will be under Frank Lampard, but at his best he’s near the top of the game (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images).

Central midfield

  1. Fernandinho
  2. Jordan Henderson
  3. N’Golo Kante
  4. Etienne Capoue
  5. Moussa Sissoko
  6. Luka Milivojevic
  7. Rodri
  8. Ruben Neves
  9. Paul Pogba
  10. Abdoulaye Doucoure

Attacking midfield

  1. Kevin De Bruyne
  2. Christian Eriksen
  3. David Silva
  4. Gylfi Sigurdsson
  5. Diogo Jota
  6. Mesut Ozil
  7. Gerard Deulofeu
  8. James Maddison
  9. Dele Alli
  10. David Brooks

Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva provide a deadly one-two punch on the flanks for Manchester City (Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images).

Winger

  1. Mohamed Salah
  2. Raheem Sterling
  3. Bernardo Silva
  4. Sadio Mane
  5. Heung-Min Son
  6. Wilfried Zaha
  7. Nicolas Pepe
  8. Jesse Lingard
  9. Richarlison
  10. Christian Pulisic

Striker

  1. Sergio Aguero
  2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  3. Roberto Firmino
  4. Harry Kane
  5. Raul Jimenez
  6. Jamie Vardy
  7. Alexandre Lacazette
  8. Marcus Rashford
  9. Moise Kean
  10. Sebastian Haller

Transfer rumor roundup: Zaha to Everton; Sane to Bayern

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The transfer window is in full swing as reports and rumors are in overdrive between now and Aug. 8 when the window shuts for the start of the 2019-20 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the Premier League…


Wilfried Zaha has made it clear he wants to leave Crystal Palace this summer but it appears that his favored destination, Arsenal, may not happen.

Our partners at Sky Sports are reporting that Everton have lined up talks with Palace this week to discuss the potential sale of Zaha, as the Eagles want $100 million for their star winger but Arsenal have only offered close to $50 million so far.

Zaha, 26, is in his prime and wants to play in Europe and challenge for trophies. Can Everton really offer him that?

Marco Silva‘s side kicked on massively in the second half of last season and with a bit more cutting edge up top, which Zaha would provide, they could mount a serious challenge to finish in the top six this season. With Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Theo Walcott and Bernard around, Silva certainly has a real mixture of talented attackers. But who is going to score 15-20 goals per season?

Zaha could be that man, so too could Richarlison, and the pace of that duo on the break would make the Toffees a very dangerous side to play against.

With Idrissa Gueye linked with a $35 million move to PSG and Ademola Lookman heading to RB Leipzig for $28 million, perhaps Everton are trying to raise some funds to buy Zaha in the final weeks of the window? If they do strike a deal with Palace, it will be intriguing to see if Zaha would fancy a move to Merseyside as he has previously stated his desire to stay in London.


Bayern Munich remain bullish about their chances of signing Leroy Sane from Manchester City this summer, as the German champions are keen to replace Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery who both left the Bavarians this summer.

Sane, 23, was rotated in and out of Pep Guardiola‘s starting lineup last season as City won the domestic treble, and at times the German winger seem far from impressed as Raheem Sterling and Bernando Silva stole the spotlight in wide areas.

Bayern’s hierarchy haven’t been shy about their admiration, or pursuit, of the winger and head coach Niko Kovac had this to say during their summer tour of the USA.

“Our bosses have shown him a clear plan,” Kovac told Sport Bild. “We are very focused, Leroy knows what to expect here, and when a player with such capacity comes to FC Bayern, he knows his job. You can see that the transfer is not easy. But I know that our people are working very hard to make it happen. We will do everything to realize this transfer. We all know that Leroy Sane is our dream player. The public knows that, we know that.”

Wow. Talk about digging your heels in.

Man City do not want to sell Sane but the player they bought from Schalke in 2016 has so far refused to sign a new contract at the Etihad Stadium. He has two years left on his current deal at City and Pep Guardiola wants him to stay but he’s admitted they do not control the situation.

“Two times, three times I said: we want him to stay. That’s why he has an offer to extend his contract. It’s not in our hands,” Guardiola said. “The agreement is good and if he wants to leave, I’ll be sad. Hopefully, he stays.”

Sane is a wanted man and his form during preseason for Man City has been very good, as he scored twice in their 6-1 win against Kitchee SC on Wednesday.

Do Man City really need him? It’s debatable. Having Silva, Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero around give them a wealth of attacking options, but only Sterling is an out-and-out winger with blistering pace like Sane. Getting players wide and keeping them wide is a key part of Guardiola’s playing style and you can often hear him barking out orders to Sane to stay wide as he tries to drift inside.

Unless City can convince Sane to stay, it seems like a move to Bayern is likely.