Former teammates, current Stoke players provide tributes as Banks is laid to rest

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Thousands lined the streets and former players attended a service as former England National Team legend Gordon Banks was laid to rest on Monday.

Former England World Cup winning teammates Geoff Hurst and both Jack and Bobby Charlton all attended the funeral. Fellow goalkeepers Kasper Schmeichel, Jack Butland, Joe Hart and Chesterfield goalkeeper Joe Anyon were pallbearers. Fans watched the funeral service from the Bet365 Stadium.

Below are some images on social media from fans and Stoke City on Banks’ funeral.

Three things we learned: Man City v. Chelsea

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MANCHESTER — This is what you call making a statement.

Manchester City hammered Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola‘s men scoring four times in the first 25 minutes to move back to the top of the Premier League table on goal difference.

A hat trick from Sergio Aguero and goals from Raheem Sterling (two) and Ilkay Gundogan did the damage, as Chelsea collapsed away from home once again to cast fresh doubt over Maurizio Sarri‘s future as the Blues’ manager.

Here’s what we learned from a huge win for Man City, and another demoralizing defeat for Chelsea.


ANOTHER FAST START PROPELS CITY

Nothing eases tension in a title race better than an early goal. In three of Man City’s last four Premier League games they’ve scored their opener with less than four minutes on the clock, and Sterling’s opener set the tone for the entire game. City should have been 5-0 up inside 25 minutes, but they had to settle for 4-0 as Aguero scored twice and missed a sitter, while Gundogan added another. City got the ball wide as quickly as they could and dominated the individual battles with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso. City are showing no signs of nerves because they are just blowing teams away early on and they have now opened up a +10 goal differential lead on Liverpool which like an extra point.

Aside from their early goal at Newcastle, which seemed to breath overconfidence into the team which led to their shock defeat, scoring early has put Guardiola’s men back in the title race. The fast start also provided Guardiola with the luxury of subbing off the likes of Aguero, Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne for well-earned rests. In two weeks time City play against Chelsea at Wembley in the League Cup final and this display will leave Chelsea shuddering with fear. Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp will be watching on with a similar feeling of angst. City are pushing themselves to the limit as they chase winning all four competitions they’re in.


A NEW LOW FOR CHELSEA UNDER SARRI

Chelsea have had some embarrassing moments recently but the capitulation at Man City took the biscuit. These are the kind of defeats which instantly get you fired. Sarri knows that. Of course, City can do this to any team in the world but the way Chelsea totally lost their shape and any defensive stability was painful for Sarri to watch. You could see it etched on his face throughout the game. For the first time since December 1999 Chelsea conceded four times in the first half of a PL game and for the first time in the PL era they’ve lost three top-flight games in a row on the road without scoring.

Coming after their similarly horrific defensive displays at Arsenal and Bournemouth, Sarri has a huge problem to solve. If he’s given the chance to solve it. After they went 4-0 down, Chelsea did okay in the first half. Gonzalo Higuain went close on a couple of occasions and they patched together some fluid attacks, but that all came when City had taken their foot off the gas. Chelsea have now failed to beat any of the so-called ‘big six’ in their last seven away games against them, and this display underlined how far from a title-challenging team they are.

Many would suggest Chelsea’s players have chucked in the towel and after conceding 12 goals and scoring zero in their last three PL away games (all defeats) things are quickly unraveling for Sarri. The way a disinterested Eden Hazard failed to track back on City’s first goal, Ross Barkley nodded to Aguero to score and the general lack of defensive cover for full backs suggests Chelsea are in a whole world of hurt. The Blues are only one point off the top four and sit in fifth, but at this rate you’d put money on Manchester United and even Arsenal finishing above them. You also wouldn’t put much money on Sarri lasting beyond this season as his tactics and man-management aren’t working at all. Sarri-ball has been kicked into touch in a big way with this embarrassing shellacking.


AGUERO, GUNDOGAN KEY IN TITLE BID

Aguero is on the kind of tear which ends up winning a Premier League title. He’s now scored seven goals in his last four PL games and his treble on Sunday saw him equal the most hat tricks scored (11) in Premier League history. In truth, he should have scored five as he hit the bar and missed an absolute sitter early on. But we will let him off… City’s all-time leading goalscorer has now scored 10 goals in his last seven PL matches, with that run starting in City’s win against Liverpool on Jan. 3. If City win the league this season, it will be because Aguero remained fit and kept scoring goals. Simple. The stats around Aguero are mind-boggling. He’s now scored eight goals in his last six PL games against Chelsea and he has scored 14 times in 12 home games for City this season. He also leads the PL, along with Mohamed Salah, in goals with 17.

Eyebrows were raised when City’s resident magician David Silva was left out of their starting lineup for such a pivotal game in the title race, but that was soon forgotten. Gunodgan pressed Jorginho into making several mistakes and scored City’s fourth with a trademark cool finish. The German midfielder is finally injury free and his freshness as a combative playmaker could prove pivotal in the big games coming up. Gundogan doesn’t do anything outstanding. He just oozes class at whatever he does. From his chipped pass to Sterling to set up City’s second goal against Arsenal last week to his caressed finish against Chelsea, Gundogan is popping up with vital contributions in the title run.

Atlanta United cuts McCann just weeks before season begins

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It’s not often that MLS teams cut veteran players a few weeks into preseason training.

But that’s what happened on Saturday, as Atlanta United announced the departure of utility player Chris McCann. The Irishman spent two seasons with ATLUTD as a team original, deputizing in both his natural central midfield and out on the left as a left wing back.

[READ: Solskjaer hails Pogba after win]

One possible reason for the decision to cut McCann before the start of the season could be due to his large cap hit, as Atlanta United looks to potentially bring in more players or better pay for Josef and Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez’s (no relation) contracts. McCann earned a total compensation package last season of $588,000, despite playing 22 games and scoring just one goal with no assists. At 31-years old, it may have been time for Atlanta United to look for younger players in his position.

In addition, with George Bello a year older and Brek Shea brought in, Atlanta United has plenty of options at left wing back this season.

The timing is rough for McCann. There’s still time for him to latch on to another MLS club if he wants to stay in the U.S., but it would be difficult for him to go back to England, with most team’s rosters set after the end of the January transfer window.

Liverpool need to keep ‘staying professional’ over 90 minutes

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It’s very rare that Jurgen Klopp‘s post-match comments are outclassed by one of his Liverpool players, let alone two.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth ]

But both James Milner and Andrew Robertson were effusive in praise after Liverpool battered Bournemouth 3-0 to reclaim the top spot on the Premier League table, with Klopp a bit more understated.

As he should be, perhaps.

“Some of the play was mesmerizing,” Milner said. “We could have scored more. The crowd was immense. There’s not many better in the country when it is like that. It’s like a 12th man.”

Milner said the club is not just dealing with injuries but sickness, and Klopp revealed in rather plain terms that clever goal scorer Georginio Wijnaldum was dealing with some intestinal problems.

The Reds scored thrice, through Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane, but Robertson was just as happy to see a clean sheet and the killing of a game after consecutive draws restarted the Premier League title race.

“We can’t rest on a 2-0 lead,” Robertson said. “Getting the third just killed the game. It was all about staying professional. If there were any point to prove then it was in our dressing room. We were good all over the pitch.”

As for Klopp, he praised the third goal and the club’s response to dropping points in consecutive matches. Liverpool has defeated Bournemouth 3-0 or 4-0 in each of its last four matches.

Liverpool needed a big win heading into a week which will see it host Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League before visiting Manchester United in the Premier League.

Cardiff snatch dramatic late win at Saints (video)

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  • Zohore scores stoppage time winner
  • Back-to-back wins for first time this season for Cardiff
  • Southampton equalized in 91st minute 
  • Bamba put Cardiff ahead
  • First defeat in six for Saints

Cardiff City secured victory in a huge relegation scrap at Southampton, as the Bluebirds scored a dramatic winner in stoppage time.

In the same week as Emiliano Sala was confirmed dead, both clubs paid tribute to the Argentine striker and Cardiff’s club-record signing before the game with a minute’s silence.

Sol Bamba had given Cardiff the lead in the second half but Saints looked to have rescued a point as Jack Stephens equalized in stoppage time. However, Cardiff went straight up the other end and substitute Kenneth Zohore slotted in off the post to spark wild scenes in the away end at St Mary’s.

The win pushed Neil Warnock‘s men out of the relegation zone and into 15th place on 25 points, as they leapfrogged Burnley, Southampton and Newcastle.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Southampton had plenty of the ball early on but Cardiff looked dangerous from long throws as Neil Warnock’s men set up their stall early.

Saints struggled to get going in attack, as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg‘s shot from distance was the only one Neil Etheridge had to save.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Cardiff didn’t get going in attack either, as Bobby Reid and Oumar Niasse had little service.

Before half time Bruno Manga blocked superbly as Nathan Redmond surged into the box as Southampton finished the first half strongly.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

In the second half Saints continued to see the majority of the ball but were hit by a Cardiff set piece. A corner was flicked to the back post and Bamba flicked home expertly to made it 1-0.

Saints then came so close to drawing level as Yan Valery‘s run saw his shot blocked, then substitute Charlie Austin and Mohamed Elyounoussi had shots cleared on the line by Manga and Lee Peltier. From the resulting corner Austin sent a header over.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Stephens then finished at the back post in stoppage time to make it 1-1, and just as Southampton thought they were back in the game they lost it.

A long ball into the box found Cardiff sub Zohore who poked a shot home off the post to seal a huge win for the Bluebirds and cue wild scenes of celebration in the away end.