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Category: Premier League

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Premier League at 25: the best match – Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle, April 1996

Roy Evans described Liverpool’s win as ‘kamikaze football’ but Kevin Keegan, during his time as Newcastle’s manager, helped to light up the Premier League

History is not always written by the winners. Manchester United were unquestionably the best team in the land in 1996; they proved it by landing the league and Cup Double. The triumphant return of Eric Cantona, the flowering of the Class of ’92, you can’t win anything with kids, all that … there is plenty to go on. And yet this particular story is not theirs to tell.

Occasionally the narrative is dominated by those who fell short. And that year there was clearly something in the air. Germany emerged triumphant at the European Championship, a tournament principally remembered for England’s dreaming, their 31st year of hurt. In golf the Green Jacket was draped around Nick Faldo’s shoulders at the Masters, the great man’s third win, an achievement back then bettered only by Jack and Arnie, though all everyone has talked about ever since is Greg Norman’s view-through-fingers collapse. And as for the Premiership …

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Premier League’s missing men: where have all the Scottish managers gone?

For the first time since England’s top division rebranded there will not be a Scottish manager in charge of one of its clubs when the season gets under way. In 2011 there were seven, so why has their star fallen?

It was a high point at the most curious of times. In 2011, long after Scotland’s national team had slid away from finals participation and its players had been revered in the English top flight, a mini coaching phenomenon was in play. Seven of the Premier League’s 20 managers were Scottish.

To say nothing lasts forever is gross understatement in these short-term football times but the onset of season 2017-18 still provides a grim line in the sand. There will not be a single manager from north of the border when England’s top division gets under way, breaking a record of at least one per seasonal start which stretches back to the league’s 1992 rebranding. The run is technically even longer, given Sir Alex Ferguson took over at Manchester United six years earlier. Context is of course necessary; only five of those in Premier League office are English.

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If Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are to succeed, Ederson needs to hit ground running

City suffered for the wrong choice of goalkeeper last season and Guardiola’s hopes will be compromised if Claudio Bravo’s inexperienced replacement does not prove worth the £34.9m outlay

The success of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City tenure could hinge on a 23-year-old goalkeeper who is untested in English football and has only one full season behind him at a major Portuguese club.

Ederson Santana de Moraes was bought for £34.9m from Benfica this summer. The size of a fee close to the world record for his position indicates two things: how good the Brazilian is believed to be and how keenly Guardiola wishes to remedy his problem at No1.

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Premier League at 25: the best player – Eric Cantona | Paul Doyle

In the first of a five-part series we pick the division’s finest player. Cantona was the enigma who exploded the doubt at Manchester United, his arrival sparking a first title win for 26 years and a sustained run of success under Sir Alex Ferguson

We can’t be putting Tina Turner on for just any old hero, nor merely for the most skilful. And the toughest, longest-lasting or most prolific can go whistle because only one player can be serenaded as simply the best and it must be the one who has done more than any other to shape the Premier League years. Show us another player who has radiated as much influence as Eric Cantona and we will show you a figment of your imagination.

The rebranding of English football’s First Division as the Premier League coincided with the dawn of Manchester United’s imperial age. Before that they had been champions seven times in 89 years; since then they have won 13 of 25 available titles. There is a fair chance that followers of Manchester’s red team would be (much less numerous and) still harking back to the black-and-white era if it were not for Cantona, the enigma who exploded doubt.

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Deceit, determination and Murdoch’s millions: how Premier League was born

Twenty-five years ago Rick Parry, David Dein and Greg Dyke turned British football on its head. Here the men behind the revolutionary deal retell the story

Rick Parry is showing me the most important document in the recent history of British sport. He has a photo of it on his phone. “Here it is in my handwriting,” he says. “Graham was upstairs, waiting for me to tell him, and I’d forgotten to put FA. So that’s Graham’s writing on the top going ‘by the way, that’s the FA Premier League’.”

“Graham” is Graham Kelly, the former chief executive of the Football Association. In 1991 he hired Parry to help him with a problem. Out of that problem was born a football competition that has become a global brand, a sporting hegemon and a form of soft power for the United Kingdom in the 21st century. But visible even in its totemic “founders’ agreement”, the document on Parry’s phone, were the tensions that would make the Premier League sometimes as reviled as it was beloved.

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Football quiz: the Premier League’s French connection

Alexandre Lacazette and Tiemoué Bakayoko are the latest in a long list of French players to move to England. How much do you know about their predecessors?

Who was the only French player to make an appearance on the first day of the Premier League in August 1992?

Rémi Garde

Eric Cantona

David Ginola

Frank Leboeuf

How long did it take Thierry Henry to score for Arsenal when he joined the club in 1999?

Fourteen minutes

Four matches

Nine matches

Fifteen matches

How many of the 11 players who started for France in the Euro 2000 final spent some of their careers in the Premier League?

Five

Six

Eight

All 11

Before Paul Pogba signed for Manchester United at the start of the 2016-17 season, which of these players held the distinction of being the most expensive French footballer in Premier League history?

Eliaquim Mangala

Samir Nasri

Morgan Schneiderlin

Anthony Martial

Who has captained France more than any another player?

Didier Deschamps

Marcel Desailly

Hugo Lloris

Laurent Blanc

Claude Makélélé didn’t score a goal for Chelsea until the last few weeks of his second season in England. What type of goal was it?

A free-kick from 30 yards

An overhead kick from a corner

A rebound off a penalty he missed

A towering header in which he outjumped Rio Ferdinand

Christophe Dugarry became a cult hero when he scored five goals in four games to save which club from relegation in 2003?

West Brom

Birmingham City

Leicester City

Norwich City

Which Premier League club has fielded the most French players over the last 25 years?

Arsenal

Manchester United

Newcastle United

Sunderland

Which French player has scored in a Manchester derby and a Merseyside derby in the same year?

Louis Saha

Nicolas Anelka

Gael Clichy

Mikael Silvestre

Who was the first French player to win the Premier League golden boot?

Thierry Henry

Nicolas Anelka

Louis Saha

Eric Cantona

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Football transfer rumours: Neymar to PSG for a world record fee?

Today’s fluff is written in the stars

That 6-1 clobbering Barcelona handed out to Paris Saint-Germain last March still weighs heavily on the minds of the French club. In fact, PSG are still seeing stars as a result of the thrashing. One star, in particular: Neymar, who PSG’s Qatari owners see dancing spryly around them every time they close their eyes. Rich folks shouldn’t have to suffer thus! Rich folks should be free to enjoy the wealth they worked hard to inherit!

PSG’s Qatari owners are said to be in talks with Barcelona, who have previously had close ties with the Gulf state, over triggering the Brazilian’s £195m buyout clause. That sounds like an outrageous amount of money to pay for a footballer until you consider how much money Qatar’s ruling regime reportedly pays for weapons, mass surveillance technology and so forth.

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Football transfer rumours: Neymar to PSG for a world record fee?

Today’s fluff is written in the stars

That 6-1 clobbering Barcelona handed out to Paris Saint-Germain last March still weighs heavily on the minds of the French club. In fact, PSG are still seeing stars as a result of the thrashing. One star, in particular: Neymar, who PSG’s Qatari owners see dancing spryly around them every time they close their eyes. Rich folks shouldn’t have to suffer thus! Rich folks should be free to enjoy the wealth they worked hard to inherit!

PSG’s Qatari owners are said to be in talks with Barcelona, who have previously had close ties with the Gulf state, over triggering the Brazilian’s £195m buyout clause. That sounds like an outrageous amount of money to pay for a footballer until you consider how much money Qatar’s ruling regime reportedly pays for weapons, mass surveillance technology and so forth.

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David Squires on … Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich era in the Premier League

Our cartoonist continues his off-season series on the Premier League at 25, with a look at the impact in England of a new oligarch owner

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Will the wait for an English manager to win the Premier League ever end? | Paul Wilson

After 25 Premier League years an English coach is still to lift the title and the supply of qualified foreign coaches suggests the wait may continue awhile

The Premier League has been going for 25 years and it is still no closer to being won by a team with an English manager.

Actually that might not be completely true. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth finished ninth last season and in the arid landscape of English achievement since Howard Wilkinson took Leeds United to the final old First Division title in 1992 that possibly counts as progress. There have certainly been seasons, 2015-16 being the most recent, when the top 10 positions were the exclusive province of foreign coaches.

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Who is paying for the Premier League’s bumper TV deal? Your local pub

Sky and BT hiked up prices by around 10% last summer to cover the cost of their £8.3bn deal with the Premier League. Not every pub can afford to pay

By Joe Devine for The Set Pieces, part of the Guardian Sport Network

The recent Premier League season was the first in the latest three-year broadcasting deal, which gives the Premier League £8.3bn in TV rights, with £5.14bn of that coming from two domestic broadcasters, Sky and BT. The 71% increase on the previous deal was welcome news for clubs, players and many supporters. Clubs have larger sums to spend on players, who are earning bigger wages, and the beginning of a levelling-off effect is being seen within the league, as the extra income helps smaller clubs attract and keep a broader range of talent. Clubs are less reliant on matchday income and fans hope this will lead to cheaper tickets; seats for away fans have already been capped at £30.

But, where there is commercial progress there is a cost to bear and that cost usually finds its way to the consumer – or, as we call them in football, the “supporter”. The cost of home subscriptions have gone up a little but broadcasters have found another way of increasing their revenues: by charging pubs more.

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Who is paying for the Premier League’s bumper TV deal? Your local pub

Sky and BT hiked up prices by around 10% last summer to cover the cost of their £8.3bn deal with the Premier League. Not every pub can afford to pay

By Joe Devine for The Set Pieces, part of the Guardian Sport Network

The recent Premier League season was the first in the latest three-year broadcasting deal, which gives the Premier League £8.3bn in TV rights, with £5.14bn of that coming from two domestic broadcasters, Sky and BT. The 71% increase on the previous deal was welcome news for clubs, players and many supporters. Clubs have larger sums to spend on players, who are earning bigger wages, and the beginning of a levelling-off effect is being seen within the league, as the extra income helps smaller clubs attract and keep a broader range of talent. Clubs are less reliant on matchday income and fans hope this will lead to cheaper tickets; seats for away fans have already been capped at £30.

But, where there is commercial progress there is a cost to bear and that cost usually finds its way to the consumer – or, as we call them in football, the “supporter”. The cost of home subscriptions have gone up a little but broadcasters have found another way of increasing their revenues: by charging pubs more.

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Premier League remains world’s richest courtesy of huge TV revenue growth

• Total earnings of 20 top-flight clubs in 2016-17 expected to exceed £4.5bn
• Premier League earned almost €2bn more than any other European league

The Premier League is set to remain by far the world’s richest football league, its clubs earning approximately €2bn (£1.7bn) more collectively than those in Europe’s second richest, the German Bundesliga, according to the annual review of football finances by the consultants Deloitte.

The total £3.6bn earnings of Premier League clubs in 2015-16, as reported by the Guardian’s own review of the clubs’ most recently published accounts are projected to have increased to £4.5bn last season, the first of the league’s vastly more lucrative 2016-19 TV deals.

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Premier League remains world’s richest courtesy of huge TV revenue growth

• Total earnings of 20 top-flight clubs in 2016-17 expected to exceed £4.5bn
• Premier League earned almost €2bn more than any other European league

The Premier League is set to remain by far the world’s richest football league, its clubs earning approximately €2bn (£1.7bn) more collectively than those in Europe’s second richest, the German Bundesliga, according to the annual review of football finances by the consultants Deloitte.

The total £3.6bn earnings of Premier League clubs in 2015-16, as reported by the Guardian’s own review of the clubs’ most recently published accounts are projected to have increased to £4.5bn last season, the first of the league’s vastly more lucrative 2016-19 TV deals.

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Do Chelsea really need new £34m signing Antonio Rüdiger?

The 24-year-old Germany international has potential but so do Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Nathan Aké

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Since arriving in London, Antonio Conte has had one definitive wish: to sign a centre-back schooled in his homeland. In Antonio Rüdiger, to an extent, he has finally got that man. Yet, Conte would have preferred Leonardo Bonucci and there is a lingering sense that Chelsea have again had to settle for second best in this transfer window, even after winning the title so convincingly. They have stumbled over a number of targets this summer – most notably Romelu Lukaku – and the manager is unimpressed.

Rüdiger has been linked with the club for some time now but his arrival seems like a move designed to appease Conte in the short term. Chelsea needed to make a signing and, while a transfer for Monaco midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko remains close, a deal for the Roma defender has proven more straightforward.

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David Squires on … Arsenal’s Invincibles of 2003-04

Our cartoonist continues his off-season series on the Premier League at 25, with a look at Arsène Wenger’s unbeatable (in the league, anyway) Gunners

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Aaron Lennon grateful for support after returning to Everton pre-season training

• Thirty-year-old winger was detained under the Mental Health Act in May
• ‘Anyone feeling anything out of the ordinary should seek support’

Everton winger Aaron Lennon is happy to be back in training and has thanked people for their support after he was detained under the Mental Health Act in May.

The 30-year-old has been back in pre-season training with Everton for the past week following his treatment for a stress-related illness after the police detained him at the side of a road in Salford.

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Wayne Rooney: Everton was the only club I wanted to join – video

Wayne Rooney says Everton was the only club he wanted to join following his move from Manchester United to Goodison Park at the weekend. The 31-year-old rejoins his boyhood club 13 years after leaving Merseyside for Manchester. Rooney, who became United’s all-time leading scorer during his time at Old Trafford, also admits he has been sleeping in Everton pyjamas since leaving the club

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No sign of austerity in Premier League’s never-ending transfer spree | Paul Wilson

It already looks like another record-breaking summer of spending for English clubs, but the disconnect between footballers and the real world is growing

Liverpool and Everton were first, Arsenal have just joined them, and Huddersfield Town managed it twice in the same week. The transfer window still has the best part of two months to run and the real horse-trading is yet to start, but this looks like it could be the summer when almost every Premier League club sets a transfer record.

Perhaps such a development is a logical and inevitable corollary of the new television deal, the one responsible for making English clubs richer than ever before. Perhaps it is simply a matter of inflation, not just prices going up all the time but the follow-on effects from, say, the benchmark set by Romelu Lukaku changing clubs for around £75m.

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Jermain Defoe: I always knew Eddie was a leader and now I’d like to follow

The England international is back where it all began at Bournemouth, reunited with Eddie Howe – who ‘used to kick people’ – and raring to go again

It does not take Jermain Defoe long to roll back the years after walking back into a pocket of Dean Court. It was here where it all started for a raw, tenacious teenage striker looking to make his mark on loan from West Ham United in October 2000.

He scored on his debut against Stoke City and went on to equal a post-war record, scoring in 10 consecutive league games. “I remember every goal but my favourite was the chip against Oxford – that was special,” he says, beaming.

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