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Kompany one of Premier League’s greatest leaders

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When you think of a club, usually one player pops into your mind straight away.

Vincent Kompany will be that player for Manchester City.

After his departure following 11 seasons which yielded 12 major trophies, Kompany’s legacy at Man City will be legendary and talk of a statue of him being built outside of the Etihad Stadium is serious and just. He is adored by Man City fans in Manchester and beyond, as he embraced every aspect of Man City and seemed to totally understand what the club means to the fans and the city.

But that appreciation spreads even further.

Kompany’s achievements on and off the pitch at City mean he is one of the all-time great leaders in the Premier League era.

I’m talking Tony Adams, Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, John Terry, Alan Shearer and Steven Gerrard. He is right there in the same bracket.

Did he arrive at Man City at the right time? Sure. He was the skipper of the greatest, and most expensive, team ever assembled in English soccer.

But every great team has a great leader, and that is something money can’t buy.

Kompany’s determination and focus to set high standards day in, day out both on the training pitch and around the locker room is clear for all to see. As star names came and went, he was the one constant and he made sure every newbie put the club and fans first.

He arrived just before Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008 and 11 years later he has helped City become a behemoth in world soccer on and off the pitch while always staying humble despite as he delivered some brilliant individual moments along the way.

Kompany is an impressive man off the pitch, one who talks about politics, problems in his homeland of Belgium, and has worked hard to try and help tackle problems with homelessness in Manchester.

While he was at Man City he also completed his Masters Degree in Business Administration, all of that in his spare time while he led City to four PL titles in eight seasons and pushed them on as much as he could.

Injuries threatened to derail his great career over the past couple of campaigns, but the way he bounced back this season to drive City to the title in the final months of the campaign underlined his importance as a truly inspirational leader.

His stunning goal against Leicester City in the penultimate game of the season was pivotal in their title win and Kompany got the perfect send off by leading City to something no other men’s team in English soccer has ever achieved, winning all three domestic trophies available in one season.

The only success which evaded him was in Europe, as City reached the semifinal and quarterfinal stage of the UEFA Champions League but just couldn’t get over the line in that competition.

Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Joe Hart, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho will all have a special place in Man City’s history books, but it is the man who led them who will be lauded most for decades to come.

There’s no doubt aside from his new role as player-manager of his boyhood club Anderlecht, Kompany will go on to achieve great things in the business world and he seems destined to be involved in politics at some point as he will follow in the footsteps of his father who is a mayor of one of the 19 districts of Brussels.

Kompany’s status as one of the greatest leaders in Premier League will always be safe and as the song goes, “here’s to you Vincent Kompany, City loves you more than you will know, ohhhhh!”

You can tweak those lyrics to “City will always love you more than you will know” because he will go down as their greatest-ever captain.

Bournemouth snap up $15M defender, look to Burnley GK

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Bournemouth is already busy in the transfer market.

Eddie Howe‘s men have added a $16.5 million defender from Championship outfit Bristol City and may soon swoop to buy a $19 million goalkeeper from a Premier League rival.

The latter target is reported as Nick Pope, part of a deep Burnley goalkeeping corps that includes Tom Heaton and Joe Hart.

[ MORE: Kompany signed, hired by Anderlecht ]

The former would be Lloyd Kelly, who racked up more than 2300 minutes for Bristol and is expected to represent England with the U-21 side this summer.

Primarily a left back but capable of defending centrally, Kelly has 48 first team appearances with two goals and two assists to his name.

From The Bournemouth Echo:

“I’m still young and developing as a player but at the same time I feel like this is probably the best place for me to develop those skills, especially being around a Premier League team and playing Premier League sides,” Kelly said. “I feel like it will speed up that process a bit more.”

Former teammates, current Stoke players provide tributes as Banks is laid to rest

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Thousands lined the streets and former players attended a service as former England National Team legend Gordon Banks was laid to rest on Monday.

Former England World Cup winning teammates Geoff Hurst and both Jack and Bobby Charlton all attended the funeral. Fellow goalkeepers Kasper Schmeichel, Jack Butland, Joe Hart and Chesterfield goalkeeper Joe Anyon were pallbearers. Fans watched the funeral service from the Bet365 Stadium.

Below are some images on social media from fans and Stoke City on Banks’ funeral.

Everton brush aside Burnley with early flurry

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  • Everton bounce back from embarrassment
  • Three goals in 22 minutes does the job
  • Everton climb three spots to 8th
  • Burnley stuck in relegation zone

Well, that was one way for Everton to respond to suffering a 6-2 hammering on the weekend.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Marco Silva‘s Toffees jumped all over Burnley from the opening whistle on Boxing Day, scoring three goals in the opening 22 minutes, and routing the Clarets for just their second victory away from home this season.

Yerry Mina opened the scoring with 99 seconds on the clock, heading home Bernard‘s deftly floated cross to the back post. The chance came from Burnley’s inability to completely clear an Everton free-kick routine.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

It was 2-0 barely 10 minutes later, thanks to another sensational free kick from left back Lucas Digne. It was the Frenchman who snatched a point from Watford with a stoppage-time equalizer last week.

3-0 came eight minutes later, when Gylfi Sigurdsson beat Joe Hart from the penalty spot. Burnley struggled with yet another Everton set piece, Ben Mee handling the ball inside the box as Mina and Kurt Zouma caused all kinds of problems at the back post.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Burnley pulled a goal back before halftime, but that’s as close as they would get. James Tarkowski‘s header hit the post and was narrowly kept out by Jordan Pickford and Co., but everyone in a white shirt appeared to stop after the ball caromed back into play, leaving Ben Gibson in perfect position for a relatively simple finish.

Following a rather nondescript opening 25 minutes of the second half, Digne restored the three goal lead and put the game away with a long-range strike in the 71st minute. No one closed him down from nearly 30 yards out, so he fired a low, bouncing ball through traffic. It just so happened to evade a sea of bodies, including an outstretched Hart.

Everton put the cherry on top and scored a few style points as Sigurdsson found Richarlison with a seeing-eye through ball in the 93rd minute. The Brazilian split two defenders and fired past Hart to make the final score 5-1.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The victory sees Everton pick up three points and leapfrog three sides en route to eighth place in the league table (for the time being, as Watford play later on Wednesday). Burnley, meanwhile, remain in 18th, with the prospects of a tough relegation battle now realer than ever.

Ozil, Aubameyang star as Arsenal edge past Burnley

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  • Aubameyang leads PL with 12 goals
  • Burnley lost 5 of last 6
  • Arsenal snap two-game losing streak
  • Iwobi scores late goal

Arsenal beat Burnley 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in each half and the banged-up Gunners held off a resilient Burnley.

Mesut Ozil captained Arsenal on his return to the team and he was instrumental in two of Arsenal’s three goals, as Alex Iwobi added a late clincher after Ashley Barnes had given feisty Burnley hope of a comeback.

With the win Unai Emery‘s Arsenal move on to 37 points, while Burnley remain in the relegation zone for Christmas.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A frantic start to the game saw Ainsley Maitland-Niles go close as a combination of Joe Hart and James Tarkowski kept him out after good work from Alexandre Lacazette.

On the very next attack Ashley Westwood dragged an effort wide after going clean through, as Burnley opened up Arsenal on the counter.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Arsenal cranked through the gears in the first half and Mesut Ozil was the heart of their opening goal. His beautiful ball to the back post found Sead Kolasinac who cut it back for Aubameyang to finish.

The rest of the first half played out with Arsenal having plenty of the ball, but Emery was again dealt an injury blow in defense as Nacho Monreal hobbled off and Granit Xhaka had to shuffle into the defensive line.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

At the start of  the second half a surging run from Kolasinac down the left found Lacazette who set up his strike partner Aubameyang to fire home and double Arsenal’s lead. But the Gunners couldn’t keep their foot on the accelerator.

Burnley fought their way back into the game in typical fashion, with plenty of challenges flying in, as Arsenal just couldn’t clear the ball and Barnes drilled home a low effort to make it 2-1.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

The home fans were incredibly nervous late on, but Arsenal added a third goal to seal the win.

Ozil, again, was the key man as he ran at Burnley’s defense and his shot then set up Iwobi (who may have been just offside) to smash home and keep the Gunners in the hunt for a top four finish.