Newcastle’s guaranteed run to the title may have been stopped by a resurgent Brighton and Hove Albion, but the Magpies have very little to be disappointed about this season. Even a second place finish will see them automatically make it back to the Premier League next season, which was always the aim.
The fact that they have been able to make a comeback so quickly is down largely to the fact that they assembled a pretty decent squad, whilst also retaining the services of Rafael Benitez. Aside from that, they also have some pretty good young players who can make a splash for them soon enough.
One such player is Ivan Toney, a young English winger currently on loan to third division side Scunthorpe United. Their 0-0 draw against Millwall in the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final might have been dull. However, what wasn’t dull was Toney’s sumptuous nutmeg that he pulled off almost effortlessly during the game.
See the trick good enough to make it on to Soccer AM below:
Every sport in general tries to keep itself away from political issues, particularly the most controversial ones. In a world where corporate sponsorship and TV rights fees are just as important as winning the matches itself, it is important to present sports as an escape from the world, not a part of it.
Which makes it all the more heart-warming to see the two worlds intertwine, particularly for the right reasons. The Israel-Palestine conflict recently took a new turn when Palestinian prisoners launched a hunger strike demanding better amenities as well as more humane treatment whilst in jail.
The issue has gotten coverage worldwide, and now got support from a familiar source in the Celtic ultras. During the 4-1 win against St. Johnstone, the Green Brigade unveiled a banner that had the words “Hungering for Justice” on it. In a match that saw Celtic go 43 domestic matches unbeaten, this was perhaps the real story of the day.
See pictures (via @Liam_O_Hare) of the banners below:
It’s well-known that Chelsea’s deal with current kit-makers Adidas ends at the end of this season. From the next season, their shirts will no longer bear the iconic three stripes of the German clothing company, but the swoosh of American sports brand Nike. The reason is simple: more sponsorship money for the club.
However, whilst fans nowadays are well attuned to the financial side of the game, it doesn’t mean they don’t care about the basics like shirt designs. In fact, given the increase in awareness about branding and merchandise sales, companies have to be smarter when it comes to designing shirts.
Pictures of Nike’s designs for Chelsea’s training jerseys hit the internet today, and it seems Nike have done a good job on one shirt, which is features a minimalist design and a greater focus on the blue shade. As for the other shirt, well… let’s just say the design might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Check out the pics of Chelsea’s new training kits with sponsors Carabao here:
Aside from a climb back up the table under Ronald Koeman this season, perhaps the best part of Everton’s season has been the number of young players who have gotten the chance to shine. In an era where spending big money on proven talent is the norm, seeing young players getting such chances is refreshing.
One of the beneficiaries of this system has been Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The young British forward was signed only at the beginning of this season yet has somehow impressed enough to make 10 league appearances for the club so far, scoring one goal and even bagging himself a new contract in the process.
And whilst his on-field performances are impressive, it seems he’s just as good at scoring off the field. Pictures of him and his model girlfriend Meg Lilley recently surfaced on and nearly broke the internet. Calvert-Lewin himself might be a forward, but his girlfriend sure comes across as a keeper.
Check out pictures of the couple together below:
Needless to say Liverpool’s game vs. Southampton is a key one for the Reds. With only three games left to play, three wins are necessary to ensure they can at least get Champions League football next season.
And in order to do so, they will need all hands on deck, which is why there were questions raised about Philippe Coutinho’s availability for the game. However, Klopp’s gonna Klopp, as the German tried to hide the update on the Brazilian’s fitness by taking shots at John Achterberg’s running style.
The fact that he decided to crack a joke at the expense of his goalkeeping coach, who’s admittedly done a pretty phenomenal job of rehabilitating the career of Simon Mignolet of late, might be seen as a little weird. However, the retired goalkeeper took the joke in his stride, even having a laugh about it on Twitter.
See his reply to Klopp’s piss-take below:
Spurs’ ambitions of becoming a mega club in England are finally coming to fruition. Not only are they currently second in the Premier League, but their new stadium is coming along nicely and will eventually ensure they manage to compete with Europe’s elite due to increased ticket sales.
It’s safe to say that Tottenham wouldn’t be in the position they are today without their past investors. One such figure is former chairman Alan Sugar; his time at the club wasn’t popular at all, but his departure did eventually lead to Spurs’ resurgence.
The former chairman, who is quite active on Twitter, recently posted four unseen pictures of Spurs’ new stadium getting built. The aerial view actually captures pictures of the current White Hart Lane stadium alongside the new one, encapsulating both the past and the future in a few pictures.
Check out the photos he posted below:
When Loris Karius was signed by Liverpool in the summer of 2016, many predicted it to be the end of Simon Mignolet’s career. The Belgian was seen as inferior to the young German shot-stopper and was thus expected to eventually be moved on, whether it happened this season or the next.
However, Karius’ failing form and lack of confidence-inspiring performances meant Mignolet got another run in the first side.
Amazingly, his performances have gone up by several notches and contrary to what many believed, he has now essentially solidified himself as Liverpool’s number one goalkeeper.
And one of the main reasons for the Belgian’s improvement has been put down to the increased competition after the arrival of Karius.
Indeed, the theory seems to hold some weight, as was proved by a set of stats posted on Twitter that showed that Mignolet has quite massively improved in a couple of key areas that he struggled with before.
One look at that ‘Minutes per Error’ column and you know what we are talking about. Check out proof of the Belgian’s improvement below:
Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Watford was a hard-fought victory and one that will likely be key to their hopes of making the top 4. It was also another clean sheet for the much-maligned Simon Mignolet.
Since regaining his spot in the side, the Belgian has been a consistent performer. As long as he plays this way, it’s safe to assume summer signing Loris Karius will find regular play time hard to come by.
However, the oft-criticised German clearly hasn’t lost faith in his career or himself just yet. This was evidenced by his new tattoo that was spotted before the Watford game, which borrows a line from the Bible.
Check out Karius’ religion-themed tattoo, via @LFCTransferRoom, here:
Chelsea’s rise back to the top of English football was largely down to the solidity their three-man defence based formation provides. However, the fact that John Terry will be leaving the club at the end of the season means there is a vacancy for a new centre-back that has opened up.
Many fans want Andreas Christensen to be come in to the first team next season. The Danish defender was a key part of Chelsea’s youth side before impressing on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach.
However, Blues fans were less than pleased when he was linked with a move to Southampton in exchange for Virgil van Dijk.
Those worried about the prospect of the rumours becoming reality can rest assured that won’t happen. This is because Sten Christensen, the father of Andreas, comprehensively shot down any such rumours, meaning there is still hope to be had about seeing the young defender in Chelsea blue next season.
Check out the quote in question here:
Andreas will not be used in a barter and play for Southampton. There are no ways for this to happen.
Andreas should not sit on the bench. He has played solidly for two seasons. Therefore, it is also planned for the future that he will play every week.
Manchester United’s chances of finishing in the top 4 took a bit of a hit after their surprising draw against Swansea. United’s dire form against lower league opposition might just be the reason why, despite performing well enough against the top sides, Jose Mourinho’s men might not get that top 4 finish.
This probably explains why the Special One is treating the Europa League as such a priority nowadays. Winning the competition ensures a spot in the Champions League for the winners next season, and it’s safe to assume that this is an easier route to take for United to Champions League qualification.
One player who is willing to do whatever it takes to make it the Champions League next season is Chris Smalling. The defender recently returned to training for the Red Devils and sent out a message full of intent to the fans via Twitter, vowing to make a strong finish to the season and starting with a good result against Celta.
Check out the tweet in full below: