EPL

5 talking points: Three clubs battle for Premier League survival on last day

By Sports Desk May 27, 2023

All eyes will be on the battle for survival and the scrap for the final European place on the final day of Premier League season on Sunday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the main talking points.

Everton in the box-seat

Everton are one of three clubs in danger, with two making the drop alongside already-relegated Southampton this weekend.

But the Toffees at least have control of their own destiny heading into a Goodison Park clash against Bournemouth, knowing that a 70th-successive season in the top-flight awaits if they match the results of Leicester and Leeds.

It promises to be a nervous afternoon, though, with Everton’s cause not helped by injury absentees Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Nathan Patterson and Ben Godfrey.

Foxes’ future looks bleak

Seven years after the charismatic Claudio Ranieri masterminded Leicester’s stunning Premier League title triumph, the Foxes look Championship-bound.

They host West Ham knowing that victory over the Hammers might not be enough to keep them in the top division.

Dean Smith’s team must win and hope Everton do not collect maximum points against Bournemouth, otherwise their fate will be sealed. It is all a far cry from May 7, 2016, when Ranieri and captain Wes Morgan held aloft the Premier League trophy.

Leeds need a minor miracle

Sam Allardyce faced mission improbable when he was parachuted in as Leeds manager with just four games of the season left after Javi Gracia was sacked.

And so it has proved, with Allardyce overseeing one draw and two defeats so far.

Nothing less than a win will do for Leeds against Tottenham at Elland Road and even then they need the results from both the Everton and Leicester matches to go their way.

Battle for Europe

Tottenham have their own targets to worry about during their trip to West Yorkshire. After spending much of the season battling for a Champions League spot, they could miss out on Europe altogether as they fight Aston Villa and Brentford for seventh and a place in the Europa Conference League.

Villa are in pole position and know a win at home to Europa League-bound Brighton will be enough to secure European qualification for the first time since 2010. Anything less would open the door for Spurs, who last did not feature in continental competition in the 2009-10 campaign.

Should both slip up, then Brentford can secure European football for the first time in their history if they manage to win at home to champions Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s balancing act

What kind of City side awaits Brentford remains to be seen. With the Premier League title already won, City’s hopes of a trophy treble rest with the FA Cup final against Manchester United on June 3 then the Champions League final versus Inter Milan seven days later.

It will be about finding a balance between resting players and avoiding rustiness ahead of those games, so rotation can be expected for Sunday’s trip.

Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland could be among those rested, but if Haaland plays, it will be a last chance to extend his remarkable Premier League goalscoring record of 36 this term.

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    Defending ISSA Manning Cup champions have been docked three points following an investigation that revealed that the school used an ineligible player in their season-opening victory over Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive High School on September 9.

    In the recent development, the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association's (ISSA) Disciplinary Committee convened to address the issue pertaining to the alleged utilization of an ineligible player by Jamaica College in their season-opener clash against Tivoli Gardens High.

    After a thorough investigation, the Disciplinary Committee reached a decisive verdict on the matter. It was determined that Jamaica College indeed fielded an ineligible player and as a consequence, Old Hope Road school will forfeit all three points initially earned in the match, and Tivoli Gardens High will be awarded the points with a revised score-line of 3-0 for the game.

    The disciplinary committee also ruled that the player in question will continue to be ineligible for participation in the 2023 Schoolboy Football Competition.

    This ruling by the Disciplinary Committee reshapes the dynamics of the Manning Cup standings. Tivoli Gardens High now assumes the leading position in Zone B with seven points, while Kingston Technical follows closely in second place with six points.

    Jamaica College, despite having three points deducted, occupies the fourth spot, with the consolation that they have one match in hand to potentially amend their standing.

    When contacted Jamaica College's Head coach Davion Ferguson referred the question to ISSA.

    “You cannot play a player without registering the player because you cannot put him on your match card if he is ineligible. So, ISSA has to answer that,” he told Sportsmax.tv.

    ISSA's competitions director Ewan Scott explained how they arrived at the ruling.

    "Sometimes people get privileged based on the information presented. However, after the protest came in, we investigated further and took the necessary action," Scott shared.

    "The player was registered based on the initial information provided. So, it's basically a case of them presenting us incorrect information and after the protest came, we conducted further investigation," he added.

  • Javon East: Concacaf's Game-Changer in Central American Cup Group Stage Javon East: Concacaf's Game-Changer in Central American Cup Group Stage

    In the high-stakes arena of Concacaf matches, exceptional talent invariably takes centre stage. At the 2023 Concacaf Central American Cup group stage, it was Deportivo Saprissa's dynamic forward, Javon East, who rose to the occasion and stood as a game-changer.

    East, a 28-year-old Jamaican striker, delivered a stellar performance for the Monstruo Morado, propelling his team to a commanding first-place finish in Group A. His remarkable display included three goals from eight well-placed shots, all accomplished within 251 minutes of relentless gameplay. Impressively, he also boasted a pass completion rate of nearly 65 per cent.

    As a fitting tribute to his pivotal role, Javon East has been bestowed with Concacaf's Game-Changer title for the 2023 Concacaf Central American Cup group stage. In an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com, East expressed his gratitude for this recognition and acknowledged its motivating influence on his future endeavours.

    "I'm grateful for the credit, and it adds a little bit of motivation to push even harder for the future games coming up in Concacaf," said East.

    He went on to emphasize the significance of the accolade, stating, "I'm thankful. I'm happy as a player that I know I'm doing something right, and people are watching and see my talent and give me credit for it. I'm grateful for that."

    East's remarkable impact extends beyond the pitch, as he attributes much of Saprissa's success in the competition to the strong bonds forged both on and off the field.

    "It's a family first. It's more important that we are a family on and off the field, it is carrying over inside the game, and we are doing pretty well in Concacaf. We are qualified to the next round, and we just have to take it a game at a time and see where it goes," East remarked.

    While his two-goal performance in the resounding 5-0 victory against Coban Imperial may appear particularly impressive, East personally values his role in the team's opening 1-0 triumph against Cartagines as his standout performance of the group stage.

    "I think the first game was my best game, not because I scored one goal in that game, but because of the number of chances I created. So normally as a striker, I like to see how many more chances I create more than how many I score," East explained.

    With the group stage behind them, Saprissa now shifts its focus to the knockout stage, where they will encounter a formidable adversary in Real Esteli of Nicaragua during the quarterfinals. East recognizes the challenge posed by their upcoming opponent and emphasizes the importance of thorough preparation.

    "[Real Esteli] are a team that has improved over the years. I watched them in their first game and their last game. I didn't know that we were going to play that team, but I was watching the game, and they are very impressive. I give them their respect. We have to prepare mentally and physically for that battle because it's going to be a tough one," East asserted.

    As Javon East continues to make his mark on the Concacaf stage, his remarkable journey unfolds as an inspiring testament to talent, dedication, and the pursuit of excellence in the world of football.

     

     

  • Massimiliano Allegri plays down Juventus’ chances of winning Serie A Massimiliano Allegri plays down Juventus’ chances of winning Serie A

    Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has attempted to play down expectations after his side’s strong start to the season.

    The Bianconeri have claimed 10 points from their opening four Serie A games and sit second in the table, two points behind early leaders Inter Milan.

    With no European commitments this season, Juve could made a strong push to reclaim the title but Allegri does not want to look further than Saturday’s trip to Sassuolo.

    Allegri told reporters: “Now we have to stay focused because there’s too much euphoria and, while on the one hand that’s nice, it can take away energy and attention.

    “We’re only on matchday five and Sassuolo, with the exception of a 3-0 win a few years ago, have always been tough opponents.

    “They’re coming off the back of a big defeat to Frosinone, so we’ll have a tough task and we will have to be very attentive, physical and technically good. It will be important to get a good result.”

    Allegri insists other teams are still in a stronger position than Juve and he thinks it will be tough enough to get back into the Champions League.

    He said: “We have a chance to get into the top four, but it won’t be easy because Inter, AC Milan and Napoli are stronger than everybody.

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    “Whatever path we take will be determined to have been right or not by the results at the end of the season.

    “We have to have the desire to be at the top but we have to get the results to get into the Champions League.”

    Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic have been passed fit for the trip to Reggio Emilia but with a short turnaround before Tuesday’s home clash with Lecce, Allegri recognises the need to manage his squad.

    He said: “Vlahovic had some back pain and Federico had some fatigue with his flexor but they’re fully available.

    “We are only thinking about Sassuolo but we have a game three days later and I think we’ll rotate on Tuesday. I’ll evaluate Vlahovic’s condition.

    “We have a less experienced squad this year but we’ve got enthusiasm and dynamism.

    “We have to keep working hard to improve, remembering that we have to run more than everybody else and results will bring more confidence and belief.”

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