Tosin Adarabioyo

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Transfer gossip: Maguire to Man City; Carrasco to Arsenal

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The Premier League transfer window is officially open again and that means one thing: transfer reports are going to start kicking up a few notches.

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Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the PL…


Harry Maguire is a wanted man, with both Manchester clubs set to battle out to sign him for $100 million this summer. If that fee is north of $100 million it means Maguire will become the most expensive center back in history and eclipse the fee Liverpool paid to sign Virgil Van Dijk in January 2018.

A report in the Daily Mail claims that Man City are the frontrunners as Maguire, 26, is seen as the number one replacement for legendary center back and captain Vincent Kompany who has left the club at the end of his contract.

Maguire’s ball-playing ability from defense and his penchant to stroll into midfield with the ball suits Pep Guardiola‘s playing philosophy perfectly. John Stones was supposed to be the man filling that role, but Kompany and Aymeric Laporte were the go-to partnership this season with Stones and Nicolas Otamendi the odd men out.

Even with Kompany’s departure, City don’t really need another center back as Tosin Adarabioyo (he spent the 2018-19 season on loan at West Brom) could make the step up as a fourth-choice central defender.

Maguire signed a new contract last summer after prolonged interest from Manchester United, as the former Sheffield United and Hull City player underlined his meteoric rise with a superb tournament for England at the 2018 World Cup last summer.

Unlike some of City’s other defenders, Maguire wants to defend first but then has the ability to turn defense into attack with one surging run. United’s need for a commanding center back is far greater than Man City’s but if you are Maguire, how do you turn down the chance to work for Guardiola and a team who plays a style that perfectly suits your own game?


Arsenal are said to be back in for Yannick Carrasco.

The Belgian winger, 25, has spent the past 18 months playing for Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang but told the Sun Arsenal were interested in signing him in January, along with a “lot of teams in January giving me the chance to go back to Europe” but the club didn’t want to sell him.

Carrasco, who arrived from Atletico Madrid in February 2018, wants to move back to Europe this summer if the right opportunity crops up.

“All that you want is to be close to your family, and to go back to Europe is a good solution. I’m OK here, the club is good with me, the players and fans also are nice with me. But you know, when you are far from your family, and I think I can do good things in the European game, I am thinking it’s a solution if I can go back.”

Do Arsenal need another winger? The form of Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been up and down in Unai Emery‘s first season as Arsenal manager, while Mesut Ozil no longer seems to be played out wide. Carrasco is available to play anywhere across the frontline but is most comfortable as a left winger and that is an area where Arsenal need some reinforcement.

He spoke about his ability to defend as well as attack and that is something which will be music to the ears of Emery as he aims to strike a better balance in his team which conceded 51 goals in the Premier League in 2018-19 to finish in fifth place.

Signing Carrasco, or other players of a similar ilk, is determined by one thing: qualifying for the UEFA Champions League by beating Chelsea in the UEFA Europa League final in Baku on May 30.

Aston Villa beat West Brom in shootout to reach Wembley final

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Aston Villa moved one giant step closer to a return to the Premier League by topping local rivals West Bromwich Albion 4-3 on penalties in the EFL Championship promotion playoffs on Tuesday.

[ SEASON REVIEW: Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal ]

West Brom erased what was a 2-1 deficit to begin the semifinal second leg. Away goals are not used as a tiebreaker in the Football League’s promotion playoffs, thus the two Birmingham sides were forced into a penalty shootout, where Jed Steer would atone for a nearly calamitous error early in the game and season full of similar blunders.

Villa were in England’s top tier from 1975 until suffering relegation in 2016; they fell to Fulham in last season’s promotion final at Wembley Stadium. West Brom, on the other hand, saw their eight-year run in the PL end this time last year.

Leeds United hold a 1-0 advantage over Derby County, heading home for Wednesday’s other semifinal second leg.

Craig Dawson scored the second leg’s only goal, a towering header from Mason Holgate‘s long throw-in, in the 29th minute.

Villa’s Tyrone Mings made a goal- and potentially season-saving block in the 53rd minute, after Steer gave the ball directly to West Brom’s Jacob Murphy, who took a touch toward goal and fired for the bottom corner, the ball destined for the inside netting. Mings recovered from out of nowhere — wide left, where he was an option for Steer to play the ball out — to get a foot in front of the ball and boot it away.

[ SEASON REVIEW: Man United, Wolves, Everton, Leicester, West Ham ]

Steer started the shootout by denying Holgate with ease, diving to his left and getting both hands behind the ball to keep it out. Conor Hourihane took the opportunity to put Villa ahead seconds later. Steer came up big once again, denying Ahmed Hegazi on West Brom’s second effort. Mile Jedinak‘s first touch after coming on late in extra time came at the penalty spot, and the Australian dispatched his effort as coolly as could be done.

Tosin Adarabioyo got West Brom on the board in round 3, but Jack Grealish restored the two-make advantage by sending Sam Johnstone the wrong way for the third straight penalty attempt. Kieran Gibbs nicked the inside Steer’s right-hand post in round 4, but by the grace of luck the ball found its way into the corner. Albert Adomah put Villa’s fourth attempt over the bar.

James Morrison hammered West Brom’s fifth past Steer, setting up on-loan Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham for the decisive penalty. It wasn’t the best penalty ever hit, as Johnstone got a trailing foot on the ball, but it had enough power behind it to sneak over the line and send Villa to Wembley.

Sterling responds to racial abuse with profound social media post

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Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has spoken out about the racist abuse he reportedly suffered at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, taking to Instagram to point out his feelings as to why abuse is prevalent in the sport today.

Cameras caught a fan screaming at Sterling on the touchline using racist language to heckle the City winger as he took a throw-in. Police have announced they are investigating the incident.

[ MORE: Ruthless Spurs down Leicester ]

Sterling spoke out on his Instagram page, saying media coverage that differs for blacks and whites fuels the racism he faces during matches today. He posted screenshots of two Daily Mail articles covering stories of his young Manchester City teammates Tosin Adarabioyo and Phil Foden buying houses for their parents with newfound riches, and points out the differences in the tone of the headlines.

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Good morning I just want to say , I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to heard I will speak up. Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better. For example you have two young players starting out there careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing. Which is buy a new house for there mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the news papers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white payer. I think this in unacceptable both innocent have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded. This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an aggressive behaviour, so for all the news papers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all i have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an give all players an equal chance.

A post shared by Raheem Sterling x 😇 (@sterling7) on

“You have two young players starting out there [sic] careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing,” Sterling writes, “Which is buy a new house for there mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the news papers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white player.”

Sterling says this “helps fuel racism and aggressive behavior,” and pleads with the papers to keep a closer eye on their wording and coverage to promote equality.

The 24-year-old has himself often been at the center of similar headline controversies, including earlier this summer before the World Cup when he was criticized for having a gun tattoo on his leg, which he explained was to honor his father killed by gun violence in Jamaica. Sterling has also been criticized by catchy newspaper headlines for things like proposing to his girlfriend and having a flashy car.

Season preview: Can Man City go back-to-back?

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Manchester City at a glance

Premier League titles: 3 (English First Division titles – five)
FA Cups: 5 (1904, 1934, 1956, 1969, 2011
League Cups: 5 (1970, 1976, 2014, 2016, 2018)
European Cup Winners’ Cup: 1969/70

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They will cruise to the title again because…They have the best squad in the Premier League by a distance and the best manager in world soccer. Do I need to go on? Their record-breaking 100 points last season showcased just how dominant they can be and it would be a brave man who bets against City winning back-to-back league titles.

Yet they could become their own worst enemies once again, yet still finish second… One of the major problems City had last season (they had zero “major” problems, but you get what I mean) was finishing off teams who sat back and defended deep. In a run of games against Huddersfield, West Ham and Southampton they won late on but struggled to break down stubborn defenses. Leaving themselves open to counter attacks could be an issue for City, but it’s unlikely they’ll finish outside the top two anyway. Another issue: playing against the high-press of Liverpool and teams who are brave (or stupid) enough to implement those tactics.


Best possible XI

—– Ederson —–

—- Walker —- Kompany —- Otamendi —- Mendy —-

—- Sterling —- Fernandinho —- Silva —- Sane —-

—– De Bruyne —–

—– Aguero —–


Transfers In: Riyad Mahrez ($77 million, Leicester City), Philippe Sandler ($3.3 million, PEC Zwolle)

Transfers Out: Pablo Maffeo ($11.6 million, VFB Stuttgart), Angus Gunn ($17.4 million, Southampton), Bersant Celina ($3.8 million, Swansea City), Aleix Garcia (Loan, Girona), Jack Harrison (Loan, Leeds United), Tosin Adarabioyo (Loan, West Brom), Erik Palmer-Brown (Loan, NAC Breda)


Ranking their offseason: 8/10 – With so many World Cup stars not around for preseason (Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and John Stones to name a few…) Pep Guardiola was able to give plenty of minutes to Man City’s impressive crop of youngsters during their U.S. tour. They impressed, with the likes of Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz looking solid and several showing they can be called upon this season. Perhaps that is why City have only made one signing heading into the final days of the window.


AP

Star player: Kevin de Bruyne – Closely followed by David Silva, KDB is influential to the way City press to win the ball back and then have so much quality to hurt opponents when they have possession. The Belgian wizard had a very good World Cup but will be eager to prove he is undoubtedly the best player in the PL after losing out on the Player of the Year awards to Mohamed Salah in 2017/18. His driving runs, incisive passes and hammered shots from central areas are near on impossible to stop given all of the quality attackers swirling around him each weekend.


Coaches’ Corner: Guardiola delivered the PL title in record breaking fashion and signed a new extended deal at City to celebrate over the summer. That said, the Spaniard is never happy and he will be eager to make sure his squad doesn’t become complacent. City didn’t retain their title on their previous two occasions they’ve been crowned champions of the Premier League and Guardiola may have to tweak a few things, especially when it comes to not leaving themselves exposed defensively, as they go all-out for goals and victories each week.


PST predicts: This is Man City’s title to lose. It really is. Their incredible strength in-depth means that despite several stars only returning to preseason training a few days before the season starts, they can bed themselves into the league season easily without City missing a beat. Expect them to be challenging for every trophy going, once again, and even the distraction of a deep UEFA Champions League run shouldn’t stop them from running away with the PL title for a second-straight season.

Liverpool nips Man City in New Jersey

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Sadio Mane converted a Dominic Solanke-won stoppage time penalty as Liverpool beat Manchester City 2-1 in an International Champions Cup game in New Jersey on Wednesday.

Leroy Sane and Mohamed Salah traded goals early in the second half.

Man City started few familiar names, with Riyad Mahrez and Claudio Bravo the most experiences, while Liverpool used nine regulars from last season as well as new man Fabinho.

Second half subs included Sadio Mane and Dominic Solanke for Liverpool, while Pep Guardiola introduced Joe Hart, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane, and new signing Claudio Gomes.

[ MORE: Brighton breaks transfer record ]

Fabinho was fortunate to not give a penalty away to Lukas Nmecha within the first quarter hour. Riyad Mahrez found Nmecha in the box and Loris Karius put the rebound back to the player. Fabinho made contact with the back of Nmecha’s leg before the player popped the ball over a goal, but what followed was only a corner kick.

Fabinho then fouled former NYCFC midfielder Jack Harrison moments later.

Curtis Jones provided rare early danger for Liverpool, but Claudio Bravo had little trouble with the youngster’s shot.

Man City’s Riyad Mahrez was the bright spot of the first half hour for both teams.

Jones forced Bravo into another low save in the 33rd minute. He’d later be whistle for a perceived dive in the 43rd minute, but this was clearly a man not in the penalty-giving mood.

Liverpool made plenty of halftime changes, and Sadio Mane nearly scored in the 48th minute.

Caoimhin Kelleher stopped a Leroy Sane effort in the 53rd minute. At the other end, Solanke had a goal pulled back for offside.

That’s when Sane scored a beautiful goal, using his speed to get behind the Liverpool back line before hammering a shot inside the far post that bounded into the top of the goal.

Salah subbed into the game, and scored a headed goal moments later. He was offside, but the fans were pleased and the linesman didn’t spot it.

Salah could’ve made it two had a back post header not been cleared wide by Cameron Humphreys-Grant.

Liverpool was the better money for a goal over the rest of the match, Mane and Salah giving the American crowd plenty of reason to ooh and aah.

Solanke was taken down in stoppage time with a body check from Tosin Adarabioyo.