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Butland blames Stoke relegation on “farcical” transfer dealings

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When things go wrong — spectacularly wrong in the case of Stoke City, who were relegated from the Premier League on Saturday — one question, above all others, is inevitable: “Where did it all go wrong?”

[ MORE: Wenger speaks, bids farewell to Emirates after final home game ]

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland, who left the bet365 Stadium field in tears, was asked this very question following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, sealing the Potters’ place in the Championship next season, and he had some thoughts.

[ MORE: Guardiola jovial after Man City lift PL trophy ]

The 25-year-old prospective England no. 1, who will almost certainly leave Stoke for a PL club in the summer, held back very little in criticizing the club’s transfer and recruitment processes over the course of the last few seasons, and in turn essentially calling out his own teammates as not good enough for the club and the PL — quotes from Sky Sports:

“I think the whole recruitment process needs looking at. There have been transfers that aren’t even part of the squad for all kinds of reasons, whether it be discipline, whether it be lack of performance.

“You’ve got to look at that — what decisions are being made and the type of characters. Look at [January arrivals] Badou [Ndiaye] and Moritz Bauer — two positive signings. But you look at others and they’re not even here to have an input.”

“It’s not because they were playing at the top of their game, because if they were they’d be here.

“Too many of the recent investments and over the years are completely unused and that’s unacceptable. So before anyone is signed and any changes happen that’s got to be looked at because it’s been farcical, really.”

[ MORE: Klopp admits Champions League run taking toll on Liverpool ]

Kevin Wimmer, Saido Berahino,  — both of whom have either underperformed and, in Berainho’s case, been banished to the club’s U-23 side altogether — cost Stoke a combined $40 million, while former Real Madrid wonderkid Jese Rodriguez — on loan form Paris Saint-Germain — managed all of one goal in 13 PL appearances (8 starts) this season.

The “unwatchable” days of route-one soccer under Tony Pulis seem oh so far away now, don’t they?

Liverpool 0-0 Stoke: Home dominance without finish

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  • Dominant Reds can’t score
  • Pieters penalty uncalled
  • Salah misses breakaway

Liverpool couldn’t find a way past Stoke City, drawing the relegation-threatened Potters 0-0 at Anfield on Saturday.

The Reds wasted a chance to stay in the race for second place but staying mostly healthy for Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg at Roma.

The Potters now have 30 points, three back of 17th place Swans and one ahead of Saints, but have played two matches more than both.

Stoke was out shot 20-5 and held less than one-third of the ball on the day.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Stoke’s Moritz Bauer nearly put Liverpool on the penalty spot in the fifth minute when he reached out for Trent Alexander-Arnold inside the six, but was mercifully let off the hook.

Moments later, the Reds gave the Potters a break in the most surprising fashion, with Mohamed Salah‘s 50-yard breakaway chipped over Jack Butland but wide of the near post. Stunning, really: It would’ve been a remarkable way to set a Premier League record.

A rare Stoke counterattack saw Mame Biram Diouf head a cross off the outside of the goal from an acute angle in the 20th minute.

Peter Crouch just missed getting on the end of a cross through the six moments later, as the Potters started to fancy their chances of a necessary away result.

Salah missed the near post and rippled the outside of the netting with a free kick in the 34th.

Danny Ings score a fine goal from a tight, tight angle, but was just offside when the ball was played.

Already thin in the midfield, Jordan Henderson took a follow-through of Xherdan Shaqiri‘s pass in the shin and collapsed to the turf.

Liverpool bumbled through the second half, but was unlucky to not receive a penalty when Giorginio Wijnaldum’s cross was blocked by Erik Pieters‘ dangling arm. Most times, that’s given.

The Potters nearly took advantage when Diouf crossed for Shawcross and the veteran couldn’t cut it inside the goal with a slide in tight.

As for the below stat, make it 55…

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Stoke City 1-1 Burnley: Deflating draw

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  • Ndiaye opens scoring
  • Diouf assists, then misses big chance
  • Barnes levels for Burnley

Neither Burnley not Stoke City will be pleased with a 1-1 draw at the bet365 Stadium on Sunday.

Badou Ndiaye gave Stoke a first half lead en route to a hopeful three points which could help save the side’s Premier League status, but Ashley Barnes‘ fortunate equalizer gave the Clarets a point.

Stoke has 29 points, four behind 17th place Swansea. Burnley sits four points behind Arsenal with one more match played in the race for sixth.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Stoke led in the 11th minute through a very nice team goal, as Joe Allen found Ndiaye in the middle of the pitch. The midfielder worked a 1-2 with Mame Biram Diouf before sneaking a shot inside a tiny window.

Ashley Barnes bid to level the score when he collected a Kieran Westwood diagonal ball, but his curling effort from the left failed to find the goal.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson curled a free kick over the Stoke wall, and Jack Butland did well to save for a corner.

Diouf flubbed a chance to make it 2-0 when an Ndiaye cross found him alone near the back post.

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[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Butland made an outstanding save to force a Burnley corner in the 55th minute.

Barnes continued his villainous streak all match, and saw Butland’s slap save bound off his thigh and across the line to level the score in the 62nd minute.

Gudmundsson dragged a stoppage time shot millimeters wide of the far post.

Arsenal 3-0 Stoke City: PKs inspire win

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  • Controversial PK converted by Aubameyang
  • Gabonese striker completes brace, 86′
  • Lacazette scores second Gunners PK
  • Stoke remains in drop zone

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a 75th minute penalty kick and then belted home an emphatic insurance goal as Arsenal beat Stoke City 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Alexandre Lacazette also scored a penalty kick for the Gunners.

The win gives Arsenal 51 points, five more than seventh place Burnley and five less than fifth place Chelsea.

Stoke remains 19th, three points back of 17th place Crystal Palace.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Xherdan Shaqiri threatened from the top of the 18 yard box, but curled his shot across the goal and outside the far post.

For Arsenal, it was all going through an active and armband-wearing Jack Wilshere. He cued up Aaron Ramsey for a blocked shot int he 29th minute. The corner came to nothing.

The second half saw Arsenal find better form as the match neared the hour mark, and Nacho Monreal forced Jack Butland into a low collection.

Shaqiri swept a shot into the arms of David Ospina with 23 minutes to play. The Swiss attacker struck the post with a corner kick moments later.

At the other end, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Alexandre Lacazette in having in-tight shots blocked by the Stoke defense.

Arsenal won its penalty with controversy, as Bruno Martins Indi pushed the ball away from Mesut Ozil before the German hit the deck. It wasn’t a dive, but the referee had a rough angle and awarded a penalty that Aubameyang converted for 1-0.

Badou Ndiaye tried his luck from just outside the arc but swirled the ball around the post in the 82nd.

Butland made another pair of stops in the 85th, but Aubameyang scored off the ensuing corner to salt away all three points.

Stoke gave away another penalty when Ndiaye shouldered Lacazette to the turf in the 88th. Aubameyang deferred to Lacazette for the PK.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Butland to Liverpool; Malcom to Arsenal

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Liverpool could be set to spend more of the $197 million they received for Philippe Coutinho on shoring up their defense.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news

After splashing out a club-record $100 million on Virgil Van Dijk earlier in January to make him the most expensive defender in the world, the Daily Star says that the Reds will try to sign Jack Butland in the summer.

The Stoke and England goalkeeper, still just 24 years old, will reportedly be a top target to replace Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius in goal who have both struggled at times over the past 12-18 months.

With Butland battling relegation with Stoke between now and the end of the season, the Potters won’t sell him in January, but if they do go down then surely they won’t stand in the way of their England international moving on.

Butland has all the attributes to be England’s first-choice goalkeeper for the next decade and beyond and after recovering from his recent injury problems he is one of the few Stoke players who performed well this season.


Arsenal continued to be linked with a move for Bordeaux’s Brazilian forward Malcom.

On Friday, Arsene Wenger said that Malcom, 20, was a “good player but at the moment nothing is happening” with regards to a $55 million deal.

However, later in his press conference the Arsenal manager did hint that if Alexis Sanchez was allowed to leave in January then it would only be if the Gunners had a replacement lined up.

So, what is Malcolm all about? Firstly, this screamer he scored last month turned plenty of heads and the youngster has put in consistent displays in Ligue 1 over the past two seasons for Bordeaux. He arrived in France from Brazilian powerhouse Corinthians in 2015 and is a member of the Brazilian U-23 national team.

Malcom has scored seven goals in 20 appearances for Bordeaux this season and 18 in 78 appearances since 2015.

Close to $60 million is a lot to play for a promising young attacker, especially when Arsenal appear to have plenty of talent coming through the system, but if they sell Theo Walcott to Everton and offload Sanchez, Wenger will be a little short in attack.

With Tottenham and others said to have been sniffing around Malcom, Arsenal will likely have to act in January before his name is added to Wenger’s now infamous list of players “he looked at” as a youngster…