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Absurd Paul Scholes pass has Premier League fans all nostalgic

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Vincent Kompany‘s testimonial on Wednesday featured some big names from the former Manchester City defender’s time in the Premier League, and one in particular put jaws on the floor.

Paul Scholes, whose time at City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United overlapped Kompany’s Premier League journey by four years, produced a moment of brilliance that brought fans back to his time in midfield for the Red Devils. The 44-year-old donned a dark blue shirt for the Premier League All-Stars side at Kompany’s testimonial and wow’d the crowd.

With Robin Van Persie and Robbie Keane breaking forward, Scholes took a square pass from Cesc Fabregas and produced a stunning flick with the outside of his boot that fell perfectly in line for the two strikers on a run. Unfortunately, both Keane and van Persie went for the ball, and they ran into each other allowing Jolean Lescott to recover and end the chance.

The match ended in a 2-2 draw as Benjani Mwaruwari scored a last-minute equalizer for the Manchester City Legends. Martin Petrov opened the scoring for Man City Legends, but the Premier League All-Stars took the lead through goals by van Persie and Keane before the late goal left things all square.

Current Manchester City players David Silva and Sergio Aguero were on hand to participate, as were former City players Samir Nasri, Joe Hart, Kolo Toure, Mario Balotelli, and Pablo Zabaleta. The likes of Edwin van der Sar, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, and Thierry Henry suited up for the opponents.

Kompany himself was unfortunately sidelined for the match by a hamstring injury – a cruel homage to the rampant injury history of his long 11-year playing career at the Etihad. He picked up the injury while playing for his new club Anderlecht where he serves as player/manager. The club has started the Jupiler Pro League season on a terrible run of form, without victory through its first five games, but picked up its first win of the season against rivals Standard Liege with Kompany out injured.

Proceeds from the match went to benefit A Bed Every Night, a charity in Manchester dedicated to helping aid the homeless in the city.

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.