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Pardew ‘furious’ after four WBA players steal taxi in Spain

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At least when you’re bottom of the Premier League table and appear headed for relegation, as West Bromwich Albion now find themselves, you can take the positive approach that “the only way to go from here is up.”

[ FA CUP: Man United advance, drawn against PL opposition in QF ]

Alternatively, four of your most senior players — Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, in this case — might have other ideas and elect to steal a cab during a late-season training camp in Barcelona. That’s the current state of affairs for the Baggies and manager Alan Pardew, who openly admits he was “furious” and felt “let down” — quotes from the Guardian:

“This is obviously not ideal. They broke the curfew and that’s unacceptable and I feel a bit let down by that.”

“It’s difficult for managers. Obviously, I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to stay faithful to the players and give them a chance to remedy the situation.”

The night’s timeline reads something like this: the quartet wanted to go out in the city center, but everything was closed late at night; they got a taxi to a McDonald’s by the Barcelona port; the driver left the car, at which point the players decided to drive back to the team hotel around 5:30 a.m.; the care was returned to the cab driver around 8 a.m.

Evans was stripped of his captaincy for Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Southampton. The players have since released the following statement through the club’s website:

“We felt it important we identify ourselves as the players involved in an incident which occurred during the training camp in Spain this week out of respect for team-mates who otherwise could be implicated by association. We freely acknowledge and apologize for the break of curfew which we accept represented a breach of the standards of professionalism required of us as representatives of West Bromwich Albion.

“The club has informed us that it will now conduct its own inquiry into the incident and we will cooperate fully. In the meantime, we would like to assure our supporters that this incident does not reflect the determination and resolve we possess to do all we can to recover a difficult season.”

With 11 games left to play, West Brom currently sit seven points adrift of safety; Pardew’s position grows more and more tenuous with each point dropped; and three of their final 11 games are against Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Evans, Barry, two others release apology for incident in Spain

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The quartet of West Brom players accused of stealing a taxi while breaking curfew in Spain has apologized to its team, fans, and bosses.

[ MORE: Chelsea loanees shining ]

Club captain (!!) Jonny Evans of Northern Ireland, backup goalkeeper Boaz Myhill (Wales) and English midfielders Jake Livermore and Gareth Barry are the players in question, and they released a statement on West Brom’s web site.

Saying they needed to claim responsibility for the incident so speculation could stop over which four players were in trouble, the four said (from wba.co.uk):

We freely acknowledge and apologise for the break of curfew which we accept represented a breach of the standards of professionalism required of us as representatives of West Bromwich Albion FC.

The Club has informed us that it will now conduct its own inquiry into the incident and we will co-operate fully.

In the meantime, we would like to assure our supporters that this incident does not reflect the determination and resolve we possess to do all we can to recover a difficult season.

It’s an incredibly stupid standard, especially considering not one of the four is a young buck, but it’s also not an indictment on their focus in the relegation race. The Spanish camp is a break for the players to come together; These four just chose to do something illegal (allegedly).

West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Chelsea: Pedro bags a goal, assist on his Premier League debut

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  • Pedro Rodriguez notched a goal and an assist on his Chelsea debut
  • West Brom scored their first goal of the 2015-16 Premier League season
  • With their victory, Chelsea climb nine places in the league table, now up to 9th
  • With the defeat, West Brom slip from 19th to 20th

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

West Brom were on cloud nine early on, if only momentarily, when Nemanja Matic took down Callum McManaman inside the Chelsea penalty area in the 13th minute. Up stepped James Morrison for the Baggies, but the Scottish international hit his penalty straight down the middle and knee-high, which allowed Thibaut Courtois to make the save with his trailing leg.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Morrison and West Brom were made to pay for squandering their early chance not even seven minutes later, when Pedro Rodriguez scored his first Chelsea goal to put the Blues into the lead. The former Barcelona winger combined brilliantly through the right attacking channel with Eden Hazard, which led to a quick shot that snuck inside Boaz Myhill’s left-hand post from the edge of the penalty area.

Chelsea doubled their lead in the 30th minute, when Diego Costa turned home Pedro’s wayward shot at the back post. After a quick counter attack that flowed through Willian and Pedro, the Spaniard unleashed a shot from a tough angle on the left. With that effort going well wide of the far post, Costa snuck in, cleaned up the scraps and nabbed his first goal of the 2015-16 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Morrison redeemed his earlier miss from essentially the same spot on the field, only through open play, to cap off a free-flowing bit of attacking play by the Baggies. James McClean crossed from the left, to the back post where Salomon Rondon kept the play alive and centered the ball with an overhead kick. Morrison came rushing in near the penalty spot and this time hammered the ball hard, low and through a sea defenders in the 35th minute.

Cesar Azpilicueta restored Chelsea’s two-goal lead just before halftime (42nd minute) with a simple finish from the top of the penalty area. Cesc Fabregas played a ball over the top, Costa chested it down into the path of Azpilicueta and the Spaniard finished low into the left corner.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score

John Terry was sent off in the 54th minute for denying Rondon an obvious goalscoring opportunity, meaning the Blues were to finish the game with 10 men. Five minutes later, West Brom made good on their newfound advantage, when Morrison’s flicked-on header looped its way to the far post and snuck just under Courtois’s crossbar.

West Brom 0-3 Manchester City: City cruises behind early Toure double (video)

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  • Yaya Toure struck twice in the first 23 minutes
  • Manchester City held 75% possession through opening half-hour
  • Vincent Kompany hit the third after 60 minutes to put things away

From early on, the result was never in doubt as Manchester City eased to an 3-0 season opening win over hapless West Brom at the Hawthornes.

The visitors swarmed at a high tempo as David Silva worked the West Brom defenders all night, and the Citizens got the opener just nine minutes in. Yaya Toure hit a relatively weak effort that skittered off the legs of Craig Dawson and squirted into the far post, with goalkeeper Boaz Myhill well caught out.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

While the opener was less than delightful, the second was much easier on the eyes. Toure burst through the midfield and slid a side-footed ball to Ivory Coast teammate Wilfried Bony. The striker slammed on the brakes at the top of the box and touched back to Toure who unleashed a curling effort that buried into the top corner 23 minutes in for a 2-0 lead.

City continued to attack at will and Bony ripped a shot of his own past the half-hour mark that curled just wide of the near post. Raheem Sterling had a glorious chance through on goal on 40 minutes, but Myhill came out to stop the shot one-on-one. Saido Berahino had the ball in the net down the other end for West Brom but was pulled back for the offside flag.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

At halftime, the prospects were grim for West Brom fans eager to get the season’s first result out of the way.

Baggies manager Tony Pulis brought on Claudio Yacob in the second half to reinforce the midfield, and it seemed to have some effect and Rickie Lambert pumped a free-kick just over on 55 minutes. But it wasn’t to be, as City increased its lead minutes later.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score ]

Vincent Kompany made it 3-0 on 59 minutes as he connected on a corner and produced an impressive header from a very acute angle into the far corner. It was Kompany’s first goal since

That was all she wrote for West Brom, although City wouldn’t let them off the hook down the stretch. Sergio Aguero came on for some game minutes and tested Myhill with three minutes remaining. The win put Manchester City atop the league table after the first week.

Premier League final day roundup: 2014-15 season finishes with a flourish

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The 2014-15 Premier League season is in the books, as the finale did not disappoint.

[ RELATED: Standings | videos | schedule

We saw 29 goals across 10 games on Sunday as Hull City were relegated, Newcastle saved themselves, Tottenham finished fifth, two PL legends finished off on the scoresheet and there were huge wins for Leicester, Stoke and Arsenal.

Here are recaps, videos, reaction and more from all 10 games on the final day of the season…

Newcastle United 2-0 West Ham UnitedRECAP

The Magpies survived on the final day of the season as goals from Moussa Sissoko and Jonas Gutierrez sealed the win for John Carver’s side. Relief was the overriding emotion for Newcastle, as they can now rebuild over the summer and put this nightmare few months behind them.

source: Getty Images
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Hull City 0-0 Manchester UnitedRECAP

Hull were relegated to the Championship after their two-year stay in the PL. The Tigers squandered several chances against 10-man United, with Marouane Fellaini sent off after a terrible lunging tackle. Steve Bruce’s Hull must now regroup and try for an immediate return but after scoring just 33 times this season it was clear that their lack of goals is what sent them down.

Chelsea 3-1 SunderlandRECAP

The Blues hoisted the Premier League trophy in west London on Sunday, as Steven Fletcher put Sunderland ahead but Diego Costa’s penalty kick leveled things up. Two second half goals from Loic Remy sealed the victory as Chelsea said goodbye to legendary forward Didier Drogba and finished the season on 87 points to win their first title in five years.

Stoke City 6-1 LiverpoolRECAP

What a way to finish a record-breaking season for the Potters. Stoke slammed home five first half goals to stun Liverpool, as Mame Diouf, Jonathan Walters, Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi set them on their way to the clubs biggest-ever PL victory. Steven Gerrard, making his final appearance for the Reds, pulled one back but Peter Crouch headed home late on as Liverpool were embarrassed at the Britannia.

Arsenal 4-1 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

The Gunners blitzed West Brom in the first half after Theo Walcott scored a hat trick and Jack Wilshere smashed in a stunning volley to make it 4-0. Chris Brunt made it 4-1, but the Gunners prepare for the FA Cup final next weekend in style and sealed third-place in the PL.

Manchester City 2-0 SouthamptonRECAP

Goals in either half from Frank Lampard and Sergio Aguero gave City a final day win as Lampard ended his PL career on a high before he moves to MLS. Saints finished in seventh and must now wait on the FA Cup final next weekend to see if they have qualified for Europe. If Arsenal win then Ronald Koeman’s side will be in the Europa League.

Leicester City 5-1 Queens Park RangersRECAP

Wow. What a way to finish things off as the Foxes battered already relegated QPR and the fans inside the King Power (who were given free beer by the owners!) were treated to Leicester’s biggest win of the season. First half goals from Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton put Leicester 2-0 up and then Leonardo Ulloa and Esteban Cambiasso made it 4-0. Charlie Austin pulled one back, his 18th of the season, but Andrej Kramaric finished things off.

Everton 0-1 Tottenham HotspurRECAP

Spurs sealed fifth-place in the PL thanks to Harry Kane’s diving header in the first half. That means Mauricio Pochettino’s men will compete in the Europa League next season, while Roberto Martinez and Everton will want to forget this campaign as the Toffees finished in 11th spot.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Swansea CityRECAP

Alan Pardew’s incredible job at Palace continued as the Eagles won back-to-back games to finish the season and secured their first top 10 finish in the PL. Marouane Chamakh’s goal was the difference, as a friendly atmosphere played out at Selhurst Park with Swansea also having a record-setting season under Garry Monk.

Aston Villa 0-1 BurnleyRECAP

Villa didn’t prepare well for their FA Cup final against Arsenal next week, as Tim Sherwood’s lost 1-0 at home to already relegated Burnley. Danny Ings popped up with the winner early on, as the Clarets finished the season on 33 points and will head back down to the Championship with their heads held high. As for Villa, they finished just three points and one spot above the relegation zone.