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What we love about Everton

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up is Everton.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We head to the blue side of Liverpool for this post.


(Almost) All The Way Up: The Toffees are one of six teams to have not been relegated in the Premier League era, and the club feels like its brimming with potential at the beginning of so many seasons. The fits and starts of late have only served to fuel hope for a return to glory; Remember: Everton won the league twice in the 1980s and claimed a Cup Winners’ Cup, too, when they outlasted Dublin, Internacional Bratislava, Fortuna Sittard, Bayern Munich, and finally Rapid Vienna to lift the silverware in 1985 at Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam. With a young local brood — Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate — coming into its own alongside Richarlison and Lucas Digne, can the Toffees ride back into Europe?

Commitment to Community: This club puts a special stamp on being a part of its community through Everton in the Community. We especially love “The Goodison Sleepout,” where the Toffees’ U-23s join members of the communities in spending the night at stadium to raise money for young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It’s an incredible organization and an inspiration for community-based clubs around the world.

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(Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

 


The Merseyside Derby: No club feels right without its top villain, and Liverpool and Everton wage at least two intense battles a year between Anfield and Goodison Park. This part of the post feels a little goofy at the moment given the Reds dominance over the derby — The Reds have 11 wins and 10 draws since Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta keyed a 2010 win at Goodison — but make no mistake about the atmosphere between these two. The potential is there for it to stand alone as the most important derby on a league calendar.

Tim Howard: Yeah, this fellas hasn’t been with the Toffees for some time, but he left Goodison with the third-most appearances in club history. Leighton Baines has since past Howard’s 413 appearances but the American goalkeeper is safely in the Toffees’ top four unless Phil Jagielka transfers back (Seamus Coleman is 103 behind). Howard was so, so good.

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(Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

LISTEN: NBC Group Chat talks responding to difficult situations

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You can take the soccer away from the NBC Sports Soccer broadcast crew, but you can’t take the crew away from the soccer.

Rebecca Lowe, Lee Dixon, Graeme Le Saux, Robbie Earle, Robbie Mustoe and Kyle Martino all got together for the second edition of the Premier League on NBC Group Chat.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

This episode each member of the team shared a challenging moment they went through during their careers and discussed how they handled those difficult situations.

For Robbie Mustoe, there’s a tricky tale of former Italy star Fabrizio Ravanelli and some locker room drama at Middlesbrough.

“The Italians would be in one corner, the Brazilians another, and the Brits stuck together and were the majority, but it wasn’t a great scenario. The season before we did alright and finished in the top ten. The following season we had all these runs to cup finals but we were relegated.”

 

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Juventus in for Torres, Upamecano to Arsenal

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The coronavirus shutdown across Europe and the world has given teams time to focus on improving their squads for the future. There’s no certainty about when the transfer window will take place as the 2019/20 season continues to be pushed back possibly bleeding into the summer or even the fall. But clubs will have no excuse not to be ready once the time comes for players to make moves.

Liverpool has been linked with Valencia winger Ferran Torres for some time now, with the 20-year-old seeing his contract with the Spanish side expiring in the summer of 2021. However, according to Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, the Reds will have competition for his signature.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Juventus is reportedly interested in pursuing the Spaniard, which makes sense given the makeup of the Juve squad. On the flanks in Turin are 35-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, 31-year-old Juan Cuadrado, and the oft-injured Douglas Costa. Only Federico Bernardeschi can be counted on long-term at Juventus, leading to rumors such as these.

[ MORE: What we love about each Premier League club ]

Elsewhere, Arsenal has been linked by tabloids in England to RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, with the 21-year-old French youth international said to have asked to leave this summer – or whenever the upcoming transfer window takes place. Upamecano has started every single league match for RB Leipzig this season after missing the first four due to injury. He also played the full 90 minutes of the 3-0 win over Tottenham in the Champions League that sent RB Leipzig through to the quarterfinals.

Upamecano’s contract with the German club expires in the summer of 2021, so like Torres’ situation at Valencia, it would be in the club’s best interest to sell the youngster this coming transfer window to maximize his transfer value.

Finally, Chelsea is reportedly interested in bringing aboard a second Ajax player after already securing Hakim Ziyech. According to Italian publication Calciomercato, the Blues are looking into left-back Nicolas Tagliafico after their chase of Ben Chilwell was turned down by Leicester City. Tagliafico, a 27-year-old Argentinian international, has been a fixture in the Ajax side since joining in January of 2018 from Argentine club Independiente. His Ajax contract runs out in the summer of 2022, so while there isn’t as much urgency to sort out his situation as with Torres or Upamecano, it is still within range.

The Blues currently have both Emerson and Marcos Alonso at left-back, so they are also not necessarily looking to urgently bring someone aboard in his position, but Tagliafico is versatility, able to play in the middle as well, making him a potentially useful player in a three-center-back system.

Fabregas revisits Arsenal end: ‘I used to spend sleepless nights suffering’

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Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas is lifting the lid on his decision to leave the club in 2011.

The wonderful Spanish midfielder was the Gunners captain, but felt frustrated by his teammates’ collective commitment to winning.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Now 32 and playing for Monaco, Fabregas turned back the clock to 2011 in a podcast interview with Arseblog.

He felt that his level was above the bunch, outside of Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie, and accepted a $40 million-plus move to childhood club Barcelona.

“I was the captain, I always felt so much pressure on myself,” Fabregas said. “I had to lead this team to win something. I gave everything. Sometimes, I used to go home after we lost and I used to cry.

“I used to suffer, I used to spend sleepless nights suffering. And then you lose a game, you’re in the bus like this, destroyed, and then you hear some players laughing, thinking about where they will be going out later. This was going on for a few years. We were playing beautiful football and I enjoyed that side of things but I was putting pressure on myself to lead, to do everything and at one point I felt kind of lonely.”

His final season featured a number of mercurial talents, including Andrei Arshavin, Carlos Vela, and Nicklas Bendtner.

Fabregas hit double-digit assists for Arsenal four times, including an absurd 20-assist season in 2007/08 and a 15-goal, 15-assist campaign in 2009/10. Following three good seasons with Barcelona, he returned to the PL with Chelsea and had a 19-assist season in his first year back in England.

Fabregas has three assists this season for Monaco, averaging 1.3 key passes and 40.8 passes per game.

UCL, Europa League finals postponed

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UEFA have announced the the finals for the men’s Champions League and Europa League and the women’s Champions League have been postponed.

In a statement on their website European soccer’s governing body said they will “rearrange their showpiece fixtures due to the ongoing health crisis in Europe” as the coronavirus epidemic continues to hit the vast majority of Europe hard each and every day.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

All three finals were due to be played in May and this update was expected following UEFA’s previous announcement that it would extend its season until June 30 and canceled EURO 2020 to allow domestic leagues to finish play.

No details where given on whether the Champions League and Europa League finals will still take place in Istanbul, Turkey and Gdansk, Poland respectively for the men’s game or in Vienna, Austria for the women’s UCL final. This decision was taken by the new working group set up to manage UEFA’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and it suggests that domestic leagues and UEFA competitions will not be ready to return by the start of May when most have suggested that would.

Below is the statement from UEFA in full:

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis in Europe, UEFA has today formally taken the decision to postpone the following matches, originally scheduled for May 2020:

  • UEFA Women’s Champions League Final
  • UEFA Europa League Final
  • UEFA Champions League Final

No decision has yet been made on rearranged dates. The working group, established last week as a result of the conference call among the stakeholders of European football, which was chaired by UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin, will analyse the options available. The group has already begun its examination of the calendar. Announcements will be made in due course.

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