Kasper Schmeichel

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Top Ten moments of the Premier League season

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The Premier League season is over, and it’s not difficult to find the moments that will live a bit longer than the others when we imagine the 2018-19 campaign.

[ MORE: Derby County reaches playoff final ]


10. Neil Warnock stands defiantly at midfield, stares at referees

Cardiff City didn’t do enough to stay up, but it got a lot of help from officials in its fall into the Championship.

Fortunately for us, manager Neil Warnock did not lay off of the officials who made or reversed calls he perceived as major slights to his Bluebirds.

Perhaps his best tune would be best accompanied by a version of The Robot dance.

“I always thought Mike Riley was a manufactured referee from day one,” Warnock said after a loss to Chelsea. “I don’t think he’s changed since then. He’s been coached, manufactured, almost like a robot. He knows everything about the rules, but I feel these people struggle to understand the game and the human element. A lot of referees are like Mike Riley and that’s why I think we have gone backwards. Common sense is not allowed nowadays, but the best refs still use it.”

That loss ended with Warnock standing at midfield, staring at the referee crew before stating that the Premier League is “the best league in the world with the worst officials.”

9. De Gea stuns Spurs to take Ole mania up a notch

Manchester United’s star goalkeeper was not up to his standards this season, but his performance against Tottenham Hotspur early in the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era was impeccable.

Spurs dominated the Red Devils, but De Gea made 11 saves at Wembley to give OGS his first win over a top side.

8. Arsenal wins thrilling North London Derby

Arsenal finished below Tottenham Hotspur on the table, but the Gunners sent a message that they were up for the fight with a thrilling 4-2 win over Spurs on Dec. 1.

It had everything, including Mike Dean calling penalties for both sides. Arsenal outshot Spurs 22-11, and the teams combined for 13 shots on target. And the Gunners trailed 2-1 at the break!

Most importantly for the Gunners, it was a victory over their hated rivals which ran their unbeaten mark to 19 matches.

7. Wolves howl into contention with first upset

Nuno Espirito Santo‘s Wolverhampton Wanderers became giant killers for the first time when they ended a six-match dry spell by using a second-half burst to beat Chelsea 2-1.

The win was typical of Wolves’ best days, as Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota were the goal scorers. On the season, the newly-promoted Wolves beat Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, and Manchester United, drawing the Blues, Gunners, and Red Devils as well en route to a possible Europa League berth.

6. Mourinho’s “respect” rant

Manchester United had just lost 3-0 to Spurs at Old Trafford, but that’s not the three Jose Mourinho wanted to discuss in his post-match media briefing.

“Three-nil. Do you know what that also means? Three Premiership titles, and I also won more titles than the other 19 managers combined.”

5. Emiliano Sala‘s plane disappears

Cardiff City’s joy at the record purchase of Nantes striker Emiliano Sala soon turned to sickening grief when the Argentine’s plane was lost at sea. His body was recovered from the wreckage a few days later.

4. Pickford error gives Origi, Liverpool the derby

Everton supporters don’t need to be reminded that Liverpool had two moments of good fortune for every bit of bad luck in a run to second on the Premier League table. Jordan Pickford lost track of the ball in stoppage time to deny the Toffees a memorable point against their despised cross-town Reds.

3. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha mourned

Leicester City lost its owner in November when his helicopter crashed after leaving King Power Stadium, and the world soon learned just how deeply Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was loved by the Foxes’ faithful. The scenes at the next home game were poignant and unforgettable.

2. Kompany’s thunderbolt

Manchester City’s big Belgian leant an aire of inevitability to his side’s title defense when he busted down the door of Kasper Schmeichel and Leicester City with an absolutely stunning strike.

  1. Eleven millimeters

Let’s set the scene: Unbeaten Liverpool has a chance to put Man City in its rear view mirror at the Etihad Stadium when Sadio Mane beats the keeper and hits the post. City center back John Stones‘ effort to clear the ball hits his keeper Ederson, and the Englishman does this en route to City’s 2-1 defeat of the Reds.

Chelsea misfires in draw with Leicester City on final day (video)

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The Blues had chances throughout, but Gonzalo Higuain and Ross Barkley both had bad misses as Chelsea ends the campaign on a goalless battle with Leicester City. The Foxes were up for the task as well, but also couldn’t put together a winning moment.

Ross Barkley got through in the opening minutes, but his shot clattered straight into the face of Kasper Schmeichel who made himself big in the one-on-one. Chelsea was forced to wait until the 28th minute for its next good chance, but Gonzalo Higuain fired just wide right after finding space at the top of the box.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Leicester City, dangerous throughout, came incredibly close just before the break thanks to a David Luiz slip that allowed the hosts in on a two-on-one, but Jamie Vardy‘s feed for Youri Tielemans was too heavy, and it ruined the opportunity leaving the Belgian extended to the end line.

Somehow, Higuain found a way to miss right in front of net on the stroke of halftime, making a complete mess of a cross on a platter by bundling the ball wide right on the doorstep. It was a horrid miss from the Argentine who failed to sort out his feet with the goal begging two yards away.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Leicester remained threatening all second half, forcing the Blues to defend on numerous occasions. Ben Chillwell made a blistering run with 15 minutes to go, bursting down the left but his cross came too late and was cut out by David Luiz. Eden Hazard looked to have found the breakthrough receiving the ball from Ruben Loftus-Cheek at the penalty area, but he was bundled over by Jonny Evans and somehow the referee did not point to the spot.

The draw, along with Spurs’ shared spoils against Everton, sees Chelsea finish third with 72 points, a solid position given Sarri’s occasional struggles and the dominance of the top two teams. Leiciester City, meanwhile, ends the campaign in ninth on 55 points, the lowest finishing team with a positive goal differential.

Sterling, Walker joke about bad misses in hilarious Twitter banter

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Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker have been both club and international teammates for nearly two years now, since the latter joined Manchester City back in the summer of 2017. That’s plenty of time for the two to build a strong friendship, and often that includes some good-natured banter.

Manchester City topped Leicester City 1-0 on Monday to put the Citizens back in the pole position for the Premier League title with just one game to go, a massive result that has left Pep Guardiola with just one more 90-minute battle to navigate to see this tense title challenge through. Still, the match was nervy until Vincent Kompany‘s absolute belter to win it, as City dominated the second half but found it difficult to break Leicester City down inside the penalty area.

Until Kompany’s thunderous strike, Man City’s finishing left much to be desired, kept out by Kasper Schmeichel on a number of occasions and leaving City fans nervous they would be held to a draw that would see Liverpool take over as title favorites. Once the result was secured and the pressure was lifted, Sterling and Walker had a little fun at each other’s expense, poking fun at each other’s poor finishes earlier in the match. Sterling first retweeted a fan who sent him a Walker shot from distance in the 17th minute that flew miles over the bar. Walker responded with a 52nd minute Sterling header that also found the seats high over the bar, joking that it looked more like a defender sending the ball out for a corner.

Now now fellas, all in good fun.

The two deserve to enjoy themselves after the season and stretch Manchester City has put together. The club has won a stunning 13 matches in a row, without dropped points since late January. Both Sterling and Walker have missed just one match during that stretch, otherwise both proving vital to the side. The two have often combined on the right flank, although recently Sterling has been moved to the left to accommodate Bernardo Silva.

To pile on the jokes, Sterling mentioned Walker’s skied effort on Instagram as well, adding to his Instagram post about Kompany’s winning blast, “And if anyone has updates for the one @kylewalker2 hit in 1st half, please let us know.” Sterling then posted on Twitter that “legend says we still looking for that ball #nowheretobefound.”

Did Kompany help seal the title in possible final home game for Man City?

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If that was Vincent Kompany‘s final match at the Etihad Stadium as a Manchester City player, it was just about a dream finish for the veteran defender.

Kompany’s 30-yard blast found the top corner, whooshing past the diving Kasper Schmeichel as Manchester City kept its hopes alive with a 1-0 victory over Leicester City. Kompany, 33, is in the final two months of his current contract with Manchester City, and could conceivably retire or head to a new club come June 30, unless he reaches an agreement with the club to extend his stay. Although he’s pound-for-pound one of the best centerbacks in the world, he’s started less than half of Man City’s matches in each of the last four seasons, struggling with a myriad of muscular injuries.

[MUST-SEE: Kompany fires Man City back into Premier League lead]

“I said before the game ‘no shoot Vinny’,” Pep Guardiola said, jokingly, via Man City’s website. “He was right to not follow my thoughts. Incredible. The desire to win every game. There are important players in that club, it is more than one century history this club, not a lot of titles in trophy cabinet but a lot of players help us to be where we are right now.

“When fit, Vinny is an incredible player. He is real defender with personality and leader happy for him for the club and everybody.”

For most of his career for club and country, Kompany has been much more known for keeping goals out than scoring them. And even when he has scored, it’s often been with his head, or on a scrum in the penalty area. His goal on Monday showcased the brilliant technical ability he has. In the Premier League of the past, players of his strength and stature were more brute and brawn than finesse. Think Robert Huth or Philippe Senderos.

And yet, what sets Kompany apart from the rest of the pack is, when fit, he’s lightning quick, can play quick, zip passes on the ground or in the air, and he apparently can strike a ball as good as a forward or midfielder.

Following the match, Guardiola also lauded Kompany for what he did at Manchester City. Though Kompany is from Belgium originally, you don’t think of Man City without thinking of Kompany. Since his arrival at Man City, he’s seen the club go from a basically mid-table team with big ambitions to within a half dozen years, win the Premier League, and then within a decade, become one of Europe’s most ambitious and talented clubs.

Kompany is a big reason for that, even if his impact has been muted by injuries the past four seasons.

Ultimately, with Kompany’s contract running down, this may have been his last Premier League game in Man City colors at the Etihad. While Guardiola clearly appreciates what Kompany can bring, he also likely wants to have someone who will be fitter, and younger, especially with Man City surely attempting the quadruple again next year. Per Guardiola, we won’t know what will happen regarding Kompany until after the season. But talks are ongoing. So perhaps this wasn’t goodbye, just yet.

“We spoke with him and his agent,” Guardiola told the BBC. “At the end of the season we are going to talk to him. He is an incredible human being and he helps me a lot. Always I was sad I could not use him a lot but this club is what it is because of people like Vincent. At the end of the season after the FA Cup we will see.

“We will finish the season and after are going to talk. We spoke with him three weeks ago, one month ago. We spoke fluently. We are going to take a beer together and decide what is best especially for the club.”

Man City one win away from PL title (video)

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  • Man City have one-point lead 
  • Kompany scores winner
  • Win at Brighton will seal title

Manchester City controls its own destiny heading into the final week of the season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Following 70 long minutes of action, in which Leicester City’s strong defense repelled wave after wave of Manchester City attack, the Sky Blues found the breakthrough through captain Vincent Kompany.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Pep Guardiola‘s squad held on for the final 20 minutes of the match, defeating Leicester 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Monday

The win puts Manchester City at 95 points, one above Liverpool at 94 points, with just one game remaining.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Man City travel to Brighton knowing a win will seal the title, while Liverpool host Wolves knowing they must win and hope for some help from Brighton.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Despite Manchester City failing to reach last year’s points heights, this year, if anything, showed that Pep Guardiola’s side can win in tight games, even when it looks like they’re running out of gas or answers.

Man City opened the match on the front foot and dominated throughout, with around 61 percent possession. Man City youngster Phil Foden had the game’s first chance, but his effort in the box went straight to Kasper Schmeichel. More often than not, Man City found space around the edge of the box, but with around eight to nine Leicester City players hunkering around the box, it left very little space for the likes of Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling to exploit.

Even when they did, it involved passing one or two defenders, but getting stymied by the third.

Leicester City offered a some resistance, especially on the counter attack, but Ederson didn’t have much to worry about as Kompany and Aymeric Laporte kept things on lock down.

After the first 45 minutes and another 25 into the second half, it appeared that maybe Liverpool’s dream of winning its first title in the Premier League era could become reality, as Man City edged closer to a scoreless draw. Then, in the 70th minute, Kompany stepped up, quite literally, and fired home a massive strike that sent reverberations across the Premier League to put Manchester City up.

Guardiola’s men continued to attack after the goal, looking for a second, and that decision also kept Leicester City on its heels, forcing more players back and less into the attacking areas. Kelechi Iheanacho had a terrific chance to level the score in the 87th minute off a great diagonal ball from Hamza Choudhury, but Iheanacho put his shot well wide of goal. It turned out to be Leicester’s last chance of the game.