Kurt Zouma

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Best signings of Premier League season

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The 2018-19 season saw plenty of new signings play starring roles across the Premier League.

But which transfers turned out to be the best bits of business?

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Below we take a look at the top new arrivals from the entire campaign.


Permanent deals

Raul Jimenez: Top goalscorer for Wolves as the Mexican striker made his loan move permanent and was a revelation in the Premier League. Proper target forward.

Alisson: Helped improve Liverpool defensively and is set to be their number one for a long time. A few dodgy moments with his feet, but Jurgen Klopp wants him to take risks.

David Brooks: Bournemouth’s Welsh winger was simply superb in his debut PL campaign. Not much was expected when he arrived from Sheffield United but he added goals and assists and his pace is scary.

Sokratis: The Greek defender has been a rock for Arsenal and even though they have still had defensive issues, Sokratis has tried to hold things together as best as he can.

Lukasz Fabianski: Under the radar signing last summer, but Fabianski has excelled at West Ham with a string of fine displays. Solid, reliable goalkeeper.

Lucas Digne: Emerged as one of the best left backs in the Premier League, the Frenchman has got better and better since his move from Barcelona. Very dangerous going forward.

James Maddison: Fantastic young talent who is fearless on the ball and created the most chances in the league. Will be key to Leicester’s hopes of European qualification in the coming years.

Lucas Torreira: A fans favorite at Arsenal already, he and Matteo Guendouzi have added extra bite to their engine room. The Uruguayan midfielder has class on the ball and wins it back so quickly. Exactly what the Gunners needed.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Gerard Deulofeu: His loan move from Barca was made permanent last summer and Deulofeu has scored some stunning goals. He drifts off the left wing with ease and is so tough to mark. He’s form was vital in Watford’s impressive season.

Richarlison: Started and ended the season really well. Had a dip in the middle, but the Brazilian is still extremely young. At his best playing off the flank and is already being linked with a big move after a really good first season at Everton.

Joao Moutinho: One of a host of new names at Wolves who excelled in their first season in England, Moutinho was calm on the ball and his set piece deliveries set up so many chances. Oozed class all season.

Ryan Babel: Arrived at Fulham in January and is set to leave in the summer, the Dutch winger was a real bright spot for the Cottagers but couldn’t help them stay in the Premier League. Can be a key contributor elsewhere in the Premier League.

Ricardo Periera: The Portuguese right back has been a revelation for Leicester and adds a real attacking threat down the flank. Good business, once again, from the Foxes.

Fabinho: Took him a while to get going, but once the penny dropped he was a key player in Liverpool’s midfielder. Defensively sound and comfortable on the ball, he is now loved by Klopp.

Fabian Schar: Very solid first season in England for the Swiss defender, who also scored a stunning goal. Newcastle got themselves a bargain.

Ben Foster: One of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. Watford snagged him from West Brom last season and Foster produced so many crucial stops.

Felipe Anderson: Arrived from Lazio for big money but proved his quality at various stages of the season. A bit up and down, but has the potential to be one of the best wingers in Europe.

Rui Patricio: The Portuguese national team goalkeeper look at home in the PL and used all of his experience in their fine season.


Loan deals

(Chris Radburn/PA via AP)

Youri Tielemans: Arrived in January from Monaco and has been sublime in central midfield. Leicester may struggle to sign him permanently after his fine displays.

Andre Gomes: See above. Arrived from Barcelona on loan and Gomes’ quality on the ball and surprising strength mean he is a perfect fit for the PL. Huge clubs are lining up to sign him, but the Toffees are trying their best to keep him at Goodison.

Victor Camarasa: One of Cardiff’s best players, the Spaniard scored some great goals and was a driving force from midfield. Has quality and not afraid to roll up his sleeves. If Real Betis do not want him back, plenty of PL clubs will look to sign him this summer.

Kurt Zouma: In the second half of the season he really kicked on and the Chelsea defender has finally put his horrible luck with injuries behind him. Everton are keen to sign him permanently, but with Chelsea’s transfer ban they may not let him go.

Salomon Rondon: What a signing he has proven to be. Arrived on loan from West Brom last summer and the Venezuelan striker knits Newcastle’s attack together. Such a handful for opposition defenses. Newcastle may not have the cash to splash on Rondon this summer.

Chelsea turn to CAS after losing FIFA transfer ban appeal

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Chelsea have lost their appeal with FIFA after being handed a ban on signing first-team players.

[ MORE: Pulisic back to his best?

The Premier League side were banned from signing new players for the next two transfer windows by world soccer’s governing body, after a lengthy investigation saw FIFA charge them with breaking rules regarding the signing of foreign players under the age of 18.

That means Chelsea will not be able to sign any new players until the summer of 2020.  FIFA have agreed to allow Chelsea to continue to sign players under the age of 16 from the UK, which is a small victory for the Blues.

However, the west London club said they are “disappointed” and will now launch an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to try and get the ban overturned.

“The Club notes that the FIFA Appeal Committee has decided to partially uphold the appeal lodged by Chelsea FC against the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee. However, the Club is very disappointed that the transfer ban of two consecutive registration periods was not overturned. Chelsea FC categorically refutes the findings of the FIFA Appeal Committee. It acted in accordance with the relevant regulations and will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).”

So, Chelsea will take this case to CAS and that is their last chance of overturning this decision.

Maurizio Sarri‘s side have achieved their goal of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for next season, but the Italian coach knows it will be tough to kick on and challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title without reinforcements over the summer, especially if Eden Hazard leaves as expected.

USMNT star Christian Pulisic will be the only new arrival this summer after his January move to Stamford Bridge which saw him loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign.

But don’t get your violins out for Chelsea. They have a staggering number of players out on loan, and have stockpiled young talent for years. Next season is the perfect time to use the likes of Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kurt Zouma, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Michy Batshuayi and Mason Mount to bolster their squad.

In the grand scheme of things, a two window transfer ban isn’t ideal for Chelsea, but even if Hazard leaves this summer they could cope and finish in the top four again in 2019-20.

Fulham end losing streak, beat Everton (video)

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  • Fulham end run of nine-straight defeats
  • First defeat in 4 for Everton
  • Cairney, Babel score
  • Parker’s first win as caretaker boss

Already-relegated Fulham won their first game since Jan. 29, as the Cottagers beat Everton 2-0 on Saturday.

The Cottagers had plenty of chances and put two of them away in the second half, with Tom Cairney and Ryan Babel scoring to hand Fulham’s caretaker boss Scott Parker his first victory, and points, in charge.

With the win Fulham move on to 20 points for the season, while Everton remain on 46 points as their battle for a top seven finish took a hit.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fulham were lively on the break early on but Everton went close as Andre Gomes fizzed a ball towards the near post which almost found Dominic Calvert-Lewin but Fulham cleared.

Mitrovic was making a nuisance of himself, as usual, and beat two Everton defenders and the offside trap but hit his shot right at Jordan Pickford.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Everton’s Bernard and Gomes then both had shots blocked after good play from Richarlison, and the end-to-end nature of the game continued.

From a corner Mitrovic sent in a towering header which Jordan Pickford brilliantly pushed over the bar. Mitrovic then hit the bar with a curling effort as the home side looked more dangerous heading into the second half.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

At the start of the second half Fulham got the goal their dominance deserved, as Ryan Babel worked his way into the box and squared for Cairney to slot home.

At the other end Everton had a goal chalked off for a foul on Sergio Rico, while Fulham were dangerous going forward as Ryan Sessegnon had the ball in the net but it didn’t count as Mitrovic fouled Kurt Zouma.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Idrissa Gueye skied an effort way over when in a good position, and then Dominic Calvert-Lewin clipped the outside of the post after being played in superbly by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Everton were made to rue those missed chances, as Babel raced clean through on goal and dinked over Pickford to make it 2-0.

The win was a deserved one for Fulham, as Everton lost ground in their battle for European qualification.

Everton ends West Ham’s unbeaten home run

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  • Zouma scores 4th PL goal
  • Bernard adds first of PL career
  • Everton moves ahead of West Ham

The international break didn’t hurt Everton’s form, as the Toffees followed up an impressive defeat of Chelsea by taking down another London side.

Goals from Kurt Zouma and Bernard helped Everton to a 2-0 defeat of West Ham United on Saturday at the London Stadium, further cluttering the race for seventh place in the Premier League.

The loss was West Ham’s first at the London Stadium in four outings.

Everton’s win moves it ninth with 43 points, one more than West Ham and one behind Wolves and Leicester City. Watford also has 43 points and a quintet of clubs eye seventh place and a possible Europa League berth.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Zouma’s goal came very early, as a fifth minute corner kick saw Gylfi Sigurdsson send a cross to the front post. The center back rose high and bounded a header over a leaping Aaron Cresswell to make it 1-0.

The lead was doubled before halftime, as Bernard collected his first Premier League goal when he raced into the six to push a ball past Lukasz Fabianski.

The second half chances were mostly on the side of the visitors as well, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin blazing high and wide in the 75th.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Premier League Preview: Everton v. Chelsea

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  • Everton boss Marco Silva has defensive duo Seamus Coleman (illness) and Leighton Baines (back) available, although Phil Jagielka (knock) is ruled out.
  • Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma is unable to play against his parent club. The Blues could have striker Gonzalo Higuain available after he missed the midweek Dynamo Kiev win through illness.
  • Everton has failed to score in their last five Premier League meetings with Chelsea. They last failed to score in six consecutive league matches against an opponent between 1972 and 1979, a run of seven against Southampton.

Chelsea looks to build on its morale-boosting 5-0 win in midweek over Dynamo Kiev with a trip north to face Everton this Sunday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). It’s been quite the turnaround for Chelsea, which has won six games in the last month after a torrid run in the Premier League in January and early February.

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Chelsea’s recent form has enabled them to stay in the hunt for the top four in the Premier League. With Arsenal and Manchester United off and both above them, Chelsea can overtake the pair and move into the top four with a win by a five-goal margin. It would represent a major turnaround after Maurizio Sarri was on verge of being sacked.

Everton meanwhile had another embarrassing moment in what’s been an underwhelming season. Last week’s 3-2 defeat to Newcastle saw them blow a two-goal lead for their 13th defeat of the year. The pressure keeps growing for Marco Silva and his job may be in jeopardy with another poor performance.

What they’re saying

Everton manager Marco Silva on Everton fans making an impact against Chelsea: “If the fans can repeat [that] atmosphere, we will be delighted about that. It is a quality team we are playing against, we have to show our quality also. With our fans, with the atmosphere we can achieve at Goodison again, they can push us to achieve the three points. I want to have some words to the fans who were with us at Newcastle, too, they didn’t deserve that result. I am 100 percent sure of that. Now we are back at home and if the fans can repeat what they did in the derby, it will be fantastic.”

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on the win over Dynamo Kiev: “We started very well. We wanted to start in this way because it was important to score after the result in Stamford Bridge. We were able to score after five minutes. For the opponent it was a difficult situation. We played a very good first half. In the second we managed the result. It was a wonderful performance for 90 minutes.”

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Prediction

Chelsea are in strong form recently while Everton can’t seem to catch a break. Even going on the road, the Blues are certainly the favorites to win and I expect they’ll find a way. Chelsea 2-1 Everton