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  • May 9, 2024
  • 63°

Premier League Soccer

A grounded airline in Australia. A lawsuit in a New York federal court alleging fraud in connection to a $600 million loan. And angry soccer fans in England resisting a takeover of Premier League club Everton. These are troubled times for Miami-based 777 Partners, the investment group that recently joined the wave of American owners in European soccer but is facing mounting problems in both the business and sporting world. 777 Partners owns soccer clubs in Germany, Italy, Belgium and Brazil but has failed to get approval for its bid to buy storied English club Everton. And the opposition is just growing stronger after its recent legal turmoil.

A bad season just keeps on getting worse for Manchester United. The 20-time English champion was routed 4-0 by Crystal Palace on Monday and faces the prospect of its lowest finish in the Premier League era. It also potentially faces a season without European soccer. Champions League qualification was already beyond Erik ten Hag’s troubled team before its latest defeat. Now his team is sitting eighth in the standings and even the third-tier Europa Conference League could end up out of reach. One of the world’s most storied clubs is in a mess and the humiliation at the hands of Palace was the latest evidence of that.

Tottenham has stumbled to four straight losses, has just two clean sheets since the end of October and is on its worst run of results for 20 years. Those looking at Spurs to provide a late twist in the Premier League title race might just be disappointed. Manchester City’s May 14 trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for its next-to-last game of the season appeared the last possible stumbling block for the champions in their bid to reel in Arsenal and win a fourth successive title. Arsenal is surely losing hope of a favor from its north London neighbor. And doubts are starting to creep in about whether Ange Postecoglou is the man to bring a winning culture to the club without a trophy since 2008.

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The referee for the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United on Monday will wear a camera on his head for a program that will be broadcast later this year to offer an insight into the demands of being a match official. The league says the head-mounted device worn by Jarred Gillett at Selhurst Park will be integrated into the referee’s usual communications system. It is being called “RefCam." The technology is being used on a one-off basis as part of filming for a short program promoting match officials. The footage will not be broadcast live.

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The smile is back on Jurgen Klopp’s face even if his Liverpool players seem intent on testing his nerves right to the end. The Premier League title may be all but beyond the Merseyside club but that doesn’t mean the drama is over for the departing Liverpool manager after a 4-2 win against Tottenham, which saw the unlikeliest of fightbacks from Spurs. A bad week for Aston Villa got worse after a surprise 1-0 loss at Brighton in the race for the top four. Unai Emery’s team lost 4-2 at home to Olympiakos in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semifinal on Thursday.

Mohamed Salah quickly put last week’s sideline spat with Jurgen Klopp behind him by scoring first in Liverpool’s 4-2 win against Tottenham in the Premier League. The sight of Salah arguing with his departing manager late on in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw at West Ham last week dominated debate in the following days. But the Egyptian was back in the starting lineup and back on the score sheet to set his team on course for victory against Spurs at Anfield. Salah had already come close to scoring by the time he rose at the far post in the 16th minute to head in Cody Gakpo’s cross from the left.

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Erling Haaland scored four goals in another win for Manchester City in its bid to capture an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League crown. Yet Arsenal isn’t going away in this title race. Haaland has now at least a hat trick in six of his 63 matches in England’s top flight after converting two penalties, powering in a header and curling home a sublime finish in City’s 5-1 victory over Wolverhampton. It was a response to Arsenal's 3-0 win over Bournemouth a few hours earlier. Arsenal retained its one-point lead over City but the defending champions have three games left. That's one more than Arsenal. Burnley slipped closer to relegation with a 4-1 loss to Newcastle.

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Ipswich will play in the Premier League for the first time since 2002 after securing the second automatic promotion spot from the second-tier Championship. Ipswich beat Huddersfield 2-0 to finish as the runner-up behind champion Leicester on the final day of the regular season. It sparked a pitch invasion at Portman Road. Leeds, Southampton, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich are in the playoffs for the third promotion spot. Birmingham, whose co-owner is NFL great Tom Brady, was relegated to the third tier despite winning on the final day.

Arsenal has maintained its pursuit of the Premier League title with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth that lifted Mikel Arteta’s team four points clear of second-place Manchester City. City can reduce the gap back to one point by beating Wolverhampton later and still has another game in hand. Bukayo Saka converted a penalty in the 45th minute before Leandro Trossard and Declan Rice added second-half goals at Emirates Stadium to secure Arsenal’s fourth straight victory in the league. Arsenal is seeking a first league title since 2004 It has matches to play away to Manchester United and at home to Everton.

The Premier League season is down to its final two weeks and there’s still plenty at stake from top to bottom. The title race is down to two teams in Arsenal and Manchester City, the relegation battle still involves three clubs in Nottingham Forest, Luton and Burnley, and the fight for the remaining European qualification positions contains as many as five rivals. The second-tier Championship’s regular season finishes on Saturday with a second promotion spot set to be secured. This is a glance at what is still to be decided.

Tottenham’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League are getting thinner by the day. Spurs fell 2-0 at Chelsea and slumped to a second loss to a London rival in the space of four days in the Premier League. They were beaten 3-2 by Arsenal on Sunday. In between those losses came confirmation that England will have just four places in next season’s expanded Champions League, and not five. Spurs are fifth and stayed seven points behind fourth-place Aston Villa with one game in hand.

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Tim Howard will join Tony Meola, Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel on Saturday as modern-era American goalkeepers in the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. Now 45, Howard was the U.S. goalkeeper at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and made 121 international appearances from 2002-17, most among American goalkeepers. Josh McKinney, captain of the U.S. seven-a-side Paralympic team, also was elected from the player ballot. Midfielder Tisha Venturini-Hoch was chosen from the veteran ballot and United Soccer Leagues founder Francisco Marcos was picked from the builder category.

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