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☆ Barclays Premier League Season 2016-17 ☆


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Pochettino, Son and Pedro land Premier League awards

12 May 2017 13:08

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has won the Premier League Manager of the Month award for April.

The news will come as little consolation for the Argentine, however, as May began with a damaging 1-0 defeat at West Ham that effectively ended Spurs' title challenge with Chelsea able to clinch the crown with victory at West Brom on Friday.

Pochettino led his side to six successive wins in April - scoring 16 times and conceding just one - as the north London team threatened to push Chelsea all the way.

But the 1-0 setback at the London Stadium means they will likely have to settle for second place and automatic qualification to the Champions League next season.

"For me it's an award, a trophy that deserves to be shared with everyone at the club."

A humble Mauricio on his manager of the month award. pic.twitter.com/W5gc8kk48U

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 12, 2017

Son Heung-min won the Player of the Month award to make it a Spurs double.

The South Korea forward scored five goals in four consecutive matches in April to become the first man to land the award twice in 2016-17.

"It's my second time this season and I'm thankful to my team-mates, coaching staff and so many fans."

Sonny on his April prize. #COYS pic.twitter.com/G76t0rQ4RI

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 12, 2017

Chelsea forward Pedro was handed the Goal of the Month prize for his stunning effort in the 3-0 win at Everton on April 30.

The Spain international picked the ball up on the edge of the area before turning back and hammering a left-footed shot past Maarten Stekelenburg.

[email protected]_Pedro17_ has won the Premier League’s Goal of the Month award for the second time this season with this beauty against Everton! pic.twitter.com/JL0Dzf9xNC

— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 12, 2017




Klopp remaining patient in pursuit of Liverpool transfer targets

12 May 2017 13:18

Jurgen Klopp is remaining patient in his pursuit of transfer targets for next season and concedes Liverpool qualifying for the Champions League will have an impact on their dealings in the market.

The Reds are locked in a tight tussle with Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United to finish in the top four and have just two matches to play this season against West Ham and Middlesbrough.

Klopp is already thinking ahead to next term, though, with Liverpool in discussions with players over possible moves to Anfield.

However, the German accepts several of Liverpool's targets are also in talks with other interested parties.

"The players we are talking to, I know they have offers from other clubs. It's important for the club," he said.

"There's a lot of money in the Champions League, as a football club we have to do this.

"Getting in the Champions League has [an influence]. [But] should I go to the players in the dressing room and say, 'boys, the better you play the better the players that replace you next year are'?"

Liverpool make the trip to London Stadium on Sunday with Klopp monitoring the condition of Roberto Firmino and Lucas Leiva (both muscle injuries).

However, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, who both came off the bench against Southampton, should be fit for selection.

Klopp: "Roberto and Lucas felt something this week. We will have to see." pic.twitter.com/j0u9SIbhiF

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 12, 2017

It has been another frustrating campaign in terms of injuries for Sturridge, whose long-term future at Anfield remains in doubt, but Klopp says the England striker is ready to feature.

"How it looked [in training], he's ready," Klopp added.

"But it was difficult. Can you start a player and think about 40 minutes and then change."




Klopp never doubted Sturridge quality

13 May 2017 04:58

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he never doubted Daniel Sturridge's quality as he prepares to look to the forward to seal a top-four finish.

Sturridge has again battled a series of injuries this season, scoring just two Premier League goals in 18 appearances – although just five have been starts.

Wins over West Ham and Middlesbrough to finish the campaign will be enough for Liverpool – who sit third – to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Ahead of a trip to the London Stadium on Sunday, Klopp said Sturridge was fit and available should he be needed.

"For me, there was not a second of doubt about Daniel Sturridge," he told UK newspapers.

"For all of us it was unlucky that at important moments he was not available. That was not his fault, it was not my fault, it was only the situation.

"I only think about now, at this moment, and I trust him 100 per cent. He's an instinctive footballer and a fantastic striker.

"For us it's good news that he's now available. Three or four weeks ago, I was not sure that it would happen. Now he's there, and that's all good."


Klopp: "He looks ready. Him and Adam are two top players. These two are options." pic.twitter.com/Ls8n0j8saX

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 12, 2017

Sturridge could be handed a start against West Ham, a club he has been linked to, with Roberto Firmino in doubt due to injury.

Klopp said the timing of the England international's availability was ideal.

"Daniel is a wonderful option to have but it is all about being fit or not. It is not the name we bring on the pitch, it is the player, the human being, in this specific shape," he said.

"When he was fit he was always a real, real, real option for us. And it is again now like this. It is really good timing."




Pochettino points to Chelsea spending as key to title win

13 May 2017 09:58

Mauricio Pochettino has hit back at Antonio Conte's suggestion that Tottenham had an advantage in the Premier League title race.

Chelsea were crowned champions on Friday thanks to a 1-0 win over West Brom, which came about thanks to a late goal from substitute Michy Batshuayi.

Head coach Conte had previously suggested that Spurs should have had the edge over his side given that Pochettino is in his third season at White Hart Lane, whereas Conte is in his first in English football.

But Pochettino has rejected the notion, suggesting that Chelsea's significant spending in the transfer market has been critical to their success.

"I understand him. It's difficult for him because he was always a manager who liked to work with and to develop young talent," the Spurs boss said prior to Friday's result at The Hawthorns.

"It's difficult when you sign for a club like Chelsea and you have the pressure to win and you spend the money that they spent on David Luiz, Marcos Alonso, Batshuayi and [N'Golo] Kante. I totally understand but I don't know if I agree with him that it's an advantage.

"[Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger should win the league every season because he is 20 years in charge, if that is the right way to measure our advantage. I think it's not fair to measure with me, as it is to measure with Wenger. Twenty years is a massive advantage. Why not win every season?

"It's not a criticism [of Wenger]. It was not the best comment from him [Conte]."

Spurs host Manchester United on Sunday knowing that a victory will ensure that they finish second in the Premier League for the first time in their history.

It is also the last match to be played at White Hart Lane before the stadium is demolished to make way for the club's new 61,000-seater venue, which is due to be ready for the 2018-19 season.

"I am very sensitive person and so emotional, so it will be difficult not to cry," Pochettino said. "I think for the fans it means a lot but in the same way – and I don't want to be wrong – I think our fans are so excited to welcome the new stadium, too.

"That doesn't mean they are happy it is the end of White Hart Lane, but that they are excited towards the progress. They are excited to the future of the club. Be sure it will be very, very emotional but at the same time it will be very, very exciting to welcome the new stadium."




New system changed Chelsea´s season, claims Premier League champion Conte

12 May 2017 23:52

Antonio Conte pointed to a change in Chelsea's formation earlier in the season as the primary reason for their triumphant Premier League campaign.

Successive defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal in September prompted the Italian to switch to 3-4-3, which reaped immediate rewards with a stunning 13-match winning run.

Chelsea never looked back from that point, with Friday's 1-0 victory at West Brom securing the club's fifth Premier League crown.

Michy Batshuayi came off the bench to score the decisive goal at The Hawthorns, prompting typically theatrical celebrations from Conte.

"I think the decision [to switch to three at the back] changed our season," Conte told Sky Sports. "Before, we didn't have the right balance.

"After the bad defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, I wanted to change and find a new system, and in my mind there was this option to play with a 3-4-3 because I know the characteristics of the players would allow it, and give us more solidity.

"It's a great achievement for the players. I have to thank them for their commitment, their work rate at the beginning of the season, they showed me great attitude, great patience, great desire to try to do something great this season.

"And now, after this win, we must be happy and pleased for the whole season.

ANTONIO, ANTONIO, ANTONIO!!! #ChelseaChampions pic.twitter.com/Iguyy75ZXo
— CHAMPIONS! (@ChelseaFC) May 12, 2017

"I think tonight [Eden] Hazard and Pedro were a bit tired and I wanted to give more energy with Michy and Willian. I think that Michy paid me back a lot! It's great for me in my first season.

"It wasn't easy to arrive in England and try different habits and a different language and also after Chelsea's bad season. This win is for the players. They showed great commitment."

Conte also paid tribute to the club's fans and his backroom staff, before quickly switching his focus to securing the double, with an FA Cup final against Arsenal to come later this month.

"I think it's great throughout the season the fans have always stayed behind us, at home and away," he said.

"My staff did a fantastic job. We didn't have a lot of injuries and that isn't just luck. Now it's important to rest, and for it to become a fantastic season we have to win the FA Cup!

"We won this title together. We fought a lot to win this title. Our fans were fantastic. Now I want to celebrate!"




West Ham chairman Gold slammed by fans for youth academy tweet

May 20, 2017 19:35:01

The Hammers supremo suggested it would be difficult for teenagers such as Reece Oxford to play ahead of the club's "seasoned internationals"

West Ham co-chairman David Gold drew the ire of fans on Saturday after suggesting it was "extremely unlikely" that the club's top academy players would break into the first team as teenagers.

Many Hammers supporters have been unhappy with the lack of minutes given to prospects such as Reece Oxford this season despite the 12th-placed club's mediocre performances.

Oxford made his Premier League debut as a 16-year-old in 2015 and turned in an impressive display against Arsenal in the first of seven appearances that season, but has not played a single minute in the English top flight during the current campaign.

And Gold did not help matters when responding to a tweet critical of Slaven Bilic's reluctance to use the London-born defender or his fellow academy graduate Reece Burke this season.

I think we all have to except that it is extremely unlikely that a teenager will break into a PL team full of seasoned international. dg https://t.co/R0c1SimdVr
— David Gold (@davidgold) May 20, 2017

Fans of West Ham and other clubs alike questioned the description of the Hammers' first-team players as "seasoned internationals" while pointing out the success of the likes of Tom Davies, Marcus Rashford and Dele Alli this season.

@davidgold which seasoned internationals are these you talk of?
— Paddy Hobbs (@Paddy_Hobbs) May 20, 2017

@davidgold Dele Alli. Marcus Rashford. Tom Davies
— Rhys James (@rhysjamesy) May 20, 2017

@davidgold Sums up the problem with UK football. Average foreigners over British potential. If Mbappe was British he's still be playing youth/ressies!
— Darryl Duffy (@Duffers9) May 20, 2017

@davidgold David ..

This season you have gone and got us one of the poorest squads I have seen over WestHam in years

Seasoned internationals?

— Mr Paul Turner ... (@paulturner67) May 20, 2017

@davidgold You've effectively raised the middle finger to the entire West Ham academy here & told them not to bother. Exceptional leadership.
— Sibs (@SibsMUFC) May 20, 2017

@davidgold Ah yes a team full of seasoned internationals such as Mark Noble
— Cartlon Cole (@_CarltonCole9) May 20, 2017

@davidgold Basically telling the parents of any talented youngster to send their kids to another club. Lovely end to the season.
— Trevor Giess (@TrevGiess) May 20, 2017

@davidgold What a kick in the teeth for these teenagers, David. Let's hope none of them read your tweet. How demotivating and diminishing
— B P (@bexprice24) May 20, 2017

@davidgold pic.twitter.com/4waN4LWlLo
— ㅤ (@thfcAlex) May 20, 2017

@davidgold Gotta agree David,our team has been absolutely class this season, can't fault them. Can see why young talent isn't getting in ahead of them! pic.twitter.com/uaytZqkaLR
— Soph (@SophWHU) May 20, 2017

West Ham have previously given the likes of Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick their Premier League debuts.




Chelsea must not relax as they are still not a blazing inferno, says Conte

Nizaar Kinsella
May 20, 2017 22:34:56

The Blues boss has sent a warning to his players as he aims to keep the fire burning despite a season of glory in west London

Antonio Conte said upon his unveiling as Chelsea manager that he saw a "small flame flickering that can grow into a blazing inferno," but he admits that he is still not satisfied despite getting his hands on the Premier League trophy.

Chelsea will lift the title, regardless of the result, as they face Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in their final game of the season.

Conte doesn't want his players to lose their passion or relax as a result of their success in the first season of their new manager. He thinks that his players will go from winners to losers, if they chose to rest on their laurels.

“Yeah, but I think that we started to light the fire. This is very important. If you want to be a good season, you must have always this fire in your soul, in your heart, in your head. It's very important. I think that, about me, we have just started this.

“It's very difficult to answer this question because, now, I repeat, it's important to be focused on finishing the league. Then, together with the club, we have to take the best decision for next season.

“It's normal because, I repeat, we must have a winning mentality. If you have the winning mentality, you want to continue to win every season. It's not easy because, above all in England, there are many teams who want to do the same things.

"But we have to continue to work very hard, maybe stronger than this season, to try to repeat a good season. But when you have the winning mentality and you want to win every game... if there is someone that is happy to see his past, then he's not a winner. He's a loser.

"The past is good. The past is beautiful if you won in your past. You can see your past. But, in the present and the future, it's not important if you are a winner. If you are a loser then you always stay looking behind you and you won't win.

“But for me I hate this word: 'relaxed'. Relax, relax... I hate this word. I prefer to tell you and use this word 'enjoy' instead. Enjoy your achievement. We had a path, a very difficult path, this season so it's important to enjoy the win with the players, the club and the fans.

We worked very hard. But relax? No. I don't like this. I want people who stay, every day, concentrated and preparing for a new win.”

Conte went onto reveal that his favourite drink to celebrate with is red wine and that he and his players will earn a bonus from Chelsea for their success.

The former Italy head coach admits that he is going to enjoy a relaxing holiday after the season is over, as he moved quickly from Euro 2016 into a Premier League season in a new country.

“I think maybe to buy a house in Italy," Conte said when asked what he might do with his bonus. "Yes. Yeah, in Lecce I have all my parents and, for sure, I hope to spend a bit of time in Lecce on my holidays, to go to Turin and also to Italy.”

“[I want a] Very calm holiday. For me, it's an opportunity because, in the last season, I had no chance to have a holiday because we started after three days from the Euro with Chelsea. I have spent a few days with my parents and the place I was born.”




We have the quality - Guardiola backs misfiring Manchester City to sharpen up

Dom Farrell
May 20, 2017 22:44:53

The City boss believes his side already have the players to improve on their third-best goalscoring total next season

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City have the attacking firepower to mount a more effective title challenge next season.

Victory over Watford and their outgoing boss Walter Mazzarri at Vicarage Road on Sunday will secure third place in the Premier League for City in Guardiola's first season at the helm.

However, their potential 78-point haul leaves them comfortably shy of top two Chelsea and Tottenham and the ex-Barcelona coach has regularly lamented his side's aptitude "in the boxes" – often noting a raft of missed chances when points have been dropped against more clinical opponents.

Chelsea and Spurs are the only sides to have scored more goals than City heading into the final weekend, but Guardiola has no doubts over a key area for improvement following a trophy-less campaign.

City have been heavily regularly linked with a move for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, while Guardiola's recent praise of 31-goal top scorer Sergio Aguero has not been a constant feature of his time in Manchester.

Since the arrival of Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus in January, Kelechi Iheanacho has been confined to a role on the margins of the first-team squad and the 20-year-old was reported to have attracted £20million attention from Everton and West Ham this week.

Nevertheless, Guardiola namechecked all three of his main strikers, along with midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and wingers Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling as men who can be involved in alleviating the main bugbear of his first year in Manchester.

Shooting drills and free-kicks in our [email protected] work-out...

WATCH: https://t.co/NTwKXDLaAm #mcfc pic.twitter.com/KvndRx6wZo
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 19, 2017

"We have to play a little bit better to create more chances, to create more goals," he said. "If we reduce that gap, maybe our gap against Chelsea and Tottenham will be short. If we don't it will be the same.

"I think we have the quality of the players to score goals. Keli, he didn't play too much for my reasons, but he has the quality. Sergio there is no doubt about that; Gabriel there is no doubt about that.

Sergio Aguero Pep Guardiola Manchester City

"Kevin I think is a guy to score 12 or 14 goals per season, no problem at all. And our wingers scored goals.

"Leroy, his impact in the second part of the season was amazing – he scored a lot of goals - and Rash in the first part of the season was top, creating chances, crosses, penalties, assists and goals.

"It's just, especially at home, for the chances we create we have to score more goals. Here in England when the result is 1-0, 2-1 anything can happen until the end.

16 – Kevin De Bruyne has provided 16 assists in the PL this term, the most by a Man City player in a single season in the competition. Key.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 16, 2017

"We have to be stronger in the boxes because our game, I think, is better and better and next season will be better because we know each other better and will stay more time together. I think it is going to happen."

Close-season attention could therefore fall upon the other end of Guardiola's team, with long-serving right-back Pablo Zabaleta in line to make his last appearance for City at Watford following an emotional farewell to the Etihad Stadium after the 3-1 win over West Brom on Tuesday.

Fellow defenders Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna are also out of contract, along with goalkeeper Willy Caballero, Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas.




'We're back on track' - Players want to come to Liverpool again, says Klopp

Stephen Creek
May 20, 2017 23:31:16

The Reds boss has said that the club's transfer talks have been more positive than a year ago, saying: "The mood is different"

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has spoken to a number of transfer targets and said he noticed an increased desire to play at Anfield following the club's progress this season.

The Reds are in fourth place, one point ahead of Arsenal, as they prepare to face Middlesbrough in their final Premier League game of the season, and Klopp is aiming to guide the club into the Champions League for the first time since 2014-15 by finishing in the top four.

When asked whether the club's reputation had been restored, Klopp told the Telegraph that he had sensed a shift in players' feelings towards Liverpool.

"I feel we are already back on track," he said. "It should not sound disrespectful to the past. I really feel we are already on the way – we started already. Of course it is important that a club of our power needs to be at the top.

"Everyone can see from outside. The mood is different, a few people are different, but the base is there. It is still the power and size of this club and then the perspective and that has changed.

"We feel it in the talks. They have to see it, they have to feel it and they have to make a decision. The players are really positive this year compared to last year because they have seen our way, our football and that is good."

While Klopp is optimistic about his side's chances of a top-four finish this season, he insisted players wanting to join the Reds in order to play in the Champions League should look elsewhere.

He said: "It should not sound negative but if Champions League is the only reason why a player is coming, it makes no sense for him or for us.

"It is important for players because that is what they want to play but it is the progress and development and a positive perspective of a club that is important for players and we are powerful will be successful in the future. For this we need the players, of course. We have very good players and we need a few more."

Liverpool have been linked with a number of Europe's top players, including Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe and Roma winger Mohamed Salah, but Klopp warned that large transfer fees would not be spent lightly.

He said: "The world is not full of players who will make us better immediately, but clearly there are a few out there and we have spoken to them."



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