years finale. Stosur is a former U.S. Open c

in Share With Other Members Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:12 pm
by sakura698 • 1.170 Posts

Welcome back, Premier League football. Minnesota Timberwolves Gear . Weve missed you dearly. The international break and EURO 2016 qualifiers meant we have been without our favourite league since the end of August. Two weeks of misery, and more importantly reflection on the transfer window come and gone, leading to even more hype and anticipation for the debuts of all new signings across the Barclays Premier League this weekend. Since no games have yet been played following a flurry of transfer activity, its still appropriate to dole out the grades for each club on their ins and outs through the summer window. An incredible ?£835 million was spent this summer, shattering the previous record of ?£630 million spent in 2013. It was a dizzying process, sifting through rumour and speculation leading to eventual dealing. Call this a proper refresher on how your team and others faired in the transfer market. The report card may be late arriving, but nonetheless fitting heading into Match-day four. Arsenal Grade: B+ Net Money Spent: ?£46 Key Players In: Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers Key Players Out: Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Carl Jenkinson (loan) The grade would have been an A if another top defensive midfield player was brought to the Emirates. That miss aside, it was a very good summer for Arsene Wenger. Sanchez fits perfectly in the Arsenal team, possessing pace and precision in attack. Welbeck could turn into a coup, especially with Olivier Giroud out long-term. Whether Welbeck can be a consistent finisher remains up for debate, but his speed will work well with all the talent on the ball. Louis Van Gaals comment Welbeck wasnt up to standard for United was accurate. Welbeck has a long way to go before being in the same conversation of the likes of Falcao, Rooney or Van Persie. He will have every opportunity in the coming months. A running start against Manchester City Saturday, coming off a brace for country is as high pressure an introduction one can have. The pick-up of Chambers represents Wengers keen eye for the future. He will be relied upon to replace Vermaelen over the short-term with no other suitable replacement brought in. Aston Villa Grade: D+ Net Money Spent: ?£6 Key Players In: Tom Cleverley (loan), Carlos Sanchez, Aly Cissoko, Philippe Senderos Key Players Out: Antonio Luna (loan), Karim Al Ahmadi, Marc Albrighton Paul Lamberts summer purchases leave much to be desired and are a clear statement of ownerships lack of financial backing in the team. Its a bunch of projects, has-beens or never-beens brought to Villa Park. Cleverley intrigues for what he was suppose to become. A move out of Old Trafford was essential. He has a lot to learn about starting and maintaining attacking football. While the transfers mostly add depth, team success is more about what the up-and-coming players (Fabian Delph, for example) can become. The summer acquisitions are nothing more than patchwork. Burnley Grade: D Net Money Spent: ?£8 Key Players In: Lukas Jutkiewicz, Matt Taylor, George Boyd Key Players Out: David Edgar, Chris Baird The Premier League newcomers were completely priced out of the market. Numbers were brought in but nothing of true substance. Canadian Edgar left his promoted club to remain in the League Championship. Burnley is punching above their weigh in the top flight. Burnley needed an out-and-out goal scorer and was unable to secure the service of one. Its the price of doing business in the EPL. This team isnt good enough. Chelsea Grade: A+ Net Money Spent: ?£10 Key Players In: Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, Felipe Luis, Didier Drogba, Loic Remy Key Players Out: David Luiz, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Samuel Etoo, Demba Ba, Fernando Torres (loan), Romelu Lukaku, Marco van Ginkel (loan) Hats off to Jose Mourinho for continuing his meticulously build of a team to his liking. That meant over 20 players leaving the club. Mourinho understands what kind of player he needs and thus the great clear-out of 2014 ensued. For a club that annually spends with the top clubs in the world, a net spend of just ?£10 is jaw-dropping. No more excuses of not having any strikers. Costa has taken the league by storm over the first three weeks, and Drogba and Remy are proven Premier League goal-scorers. Fabregas is a coup: a significant upgrade over Frank Lampard. The January signing of Nemanja Matic is almost like a new addition. The only area with any kind of question is depth at centre-back, but quite frankly, most teams could use more at that position. This team is built to win the league. Crystal Palace Grade: B- Money Spent: ?£11 Key Players In: Frazier Campbell, Wilfried Zaha (loan), Martin Kelly Key Players Out: Kaigsho Dikgacoi, Jose Campana, Jonathan Parr The most significant loss may be manager Tony Pulis who left before a ball was kicked in the new season. Pulis took a team seeming destined for relegation and turned them into one of the toughest to beat in the league. Zaha is an astute pick-up, after having so much success at Selhurst Park in their promotion season. The rest of the signings arent over the top, but add decent quality to a team thats success is predicated on team rather than individual. Campbell upfront is an immediate upgrade. This team should be improved. Everton Grade: B Money Spent: ?£33 Key Players In: Romelu Lukaku, Samuel Etoo, Gareth Barry Key Players Out: None Keeping Lukaku at Goodison Park was paramount: Mission Accomplished. It cost Everton a club record ?£28 million but money well spent on a 21-year-old who scored 15 goals in 31 Premier League matches a season ago. Samuel Etoo gives Lukaku a proven strike-partner. Roberto Martinez wanted to reunite with Cleverley but refused to do it on Uniteds terms. We will see if the team has requisite depth to deal with European competition. They may be a player or two short. Martinez is banking on internal growth and consistency in player and approach leading to success. Hull City Grade: B+ Money Spent: ?£25 Key Players In: Michael Dawson, Tom Ince, Jake Livermore, Mohamed Diame, Gaston Ramirez (loan), Hatem Ben Arfa (loan), Abel Hernandez Key Players Out: Robert Koren, Shane Long, George Boyd Steve Bruce had a busy window, and brought in genuine talent at the death in Ramirez and Ben Arfa. The latter is a top Premier League player when focused. Its a decent spot for the Frenchman to land: a place he will have every chance to play to re-establish his value. Hernandez and Ince give a team lacking true attacking punch more of a genuine threat. The sale of Shane Long to Southampton was pure robbery and shows how over-valued certain talent is in the transfer market. The money spent is considerable for a mid-table club. Progressing into the Europa League certainly would have helped the books. It may be a blessing in disguise for this team to solely focus on domestic competition and avoid the trap of distraction. Leicester City Grade: B Money Spent: ?£10 Key Players In: Leonardo Ulloa, Esteban Cambiasso, Marc Albrighton, Nick Powell (loan) Key Players Out: Lloyd Dyer Big money (?£8m) spent on Ulloa, expected to make a smooth transition from Championship to Premier League football, is a massive risk. He has looked good to start his top-flight career. We will soon find out what legs Cambiasso has left. At 34, the Argentine is worth the risk for a team lacking true experience at the top level. Strengthening down the spine is always advisable when making the jump. The Foxes show confidence in their team that was hands down the topside in the Championship a season ago. Liverpool Grade: B+ Money Spent: ?£36 Key Players In: Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, Emre Can, Rickie Lambert, Mario Balotelli, Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren Key Players Out: Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger, Martin Kelly, Andre Wisdom (loan), Pepe Reina After spending the summer buying up part of the successful Southampton team from a season ago, the biggest move unquestionably was losing Suarez. Whether they have done enough to replace the top player in the Premier League is reasonable to question. There can never be a true, straight-up replacement for Suarez. It has to be done by committee. Liverpool replaced one temperamental, unpredictable striker for another. One hopes the signing of Mario Balotelli is more than just selling team kits. Brendan Rodgers quipped Balotelli brings more trouble into the team, and he may not be far off. The upside of such a signing is too substantial to ignore. If any manager can teach Super Mario how to play proper football, its Rodgers. Balotelli will have to learn to play with his head in an intelligent system with some promising talent. There was enough brought in to Anfield to expect another competitive outfit. How good they are may depend on how Lovren settles at centre-back, on the surface, Liverpool looks slow in this position. Lallana and Lambert have much to prove whether they can make the jump and maintain top form at a new club. Manchester City Grade: B Money Spent: ?£32 Key Players In: Fernando, Bacary Sagna, Willy Caballero, Eliaquim Mangala, Frank Lampard (loan) Key Players Out: Javi Garcia, Jack Rodwell, Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards, Alvaro Negredo (loan) City was limited in summer transactions due to financial fair-play. That being said, the team did very well to add in positions of need, which werent many areas to begin with. Fernando looks a natural fit in the middle of the park, allowing Yaya Toure and the other attacking midfielders thrive within the system. Mangala has the make-up of a top centre-back. The Frenchman, alongside Vincent Kompany could form an imposing partnership at centre-back for years to come. The only questionable play is allowing Negredo go out on loan. It doesnt make much sense, considering the checkered injury record of Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic coming back from an injury plagued campaign. Perhaps Manuel Pellegrini is comfortable moving David Silva or Samir Nasri forward in attack in a change of system, if need be. Manchester United Grade: A Money Spent: ?£122 Key Players In: Falcao (loan), Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo Key Players Out: Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Shinji Kagawa, Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez (loan), Rio Ferdinand Extreme Makeover: Old Trafford edition was an expensive one. Sir Alex Fergusons rulebook for buying players was thrown out the window. Louis van Gaal splashed significant funds on players who had successful World Cup campaigns and already in their prime. None of that truly matters. For a team that makes the most revenue in the world, it was time they started spending like it. Whether it be out of desperation or coming to the staunch realization the development of young players at the club has been sub-standard, van Gaal had no choice than to invest, and invest quickly. The squad is still flawed: a centre-back and maybe even another central midfielder is required. But this team now has substantial talent to compete with the best. When you have a chance to sign players as Di Maria or Falcao, you simply cannot say no. They are game-changers and among the best at their positions. Shaw was expensive but is a move as much now as is for the future. Herrera, Blind and Rojo have to prove they are of Manchester United quality, but each has shown signs they can be very good players. United had the most impressive transfer window of all. You get what you pay for. Excitement coming back to Old Trafford. Newcastle Grade: B- Money Spent: ?£25 Key Players In: Emmanuel Riviere, Remy Cabella, Siem de Jong, Jack Colback, Daryl Janmaat, Facundo Ferreyra (loan) Key Players Out: Mathieu Debuchy, Hatem Ben Arfa (loan) I like the summer signings for Newcastle, but the cloud of distrust and overall dislike for Mike Ashley, Alan Pardew and Co. has lead to a muted response. Pressure is on the team to win now. But like any team with new faces taking on important roles, it takes time for it to come together. The team brought in some useful players. The long-term injury to de Jong (thigh) delays any impact of his signing. That being said, Riviere and Cabella have showed signs they can be players. Its a big ask for new players to provide goals right off the hop. QPR Grade: B- Money Spent: ?£21 Key Players In: Rio Ferdinand, Steven Caulker, Mauricio Isla (loan), Leroy Fer, Jordan Mutch, Eduardo Vargas (loan), Sandro Key Players Out: Loic Remy, Julio Cesar, Stephane Mbia, Esteban Granero Harry spent money, but did he spend wisely? The defensive unit needed improvement and Caulker does add to that area. I just wonder about the mix of players at the club. Proven Premier League names are scattered throughout the squad. But is it the right mix? You worry when a new team to the Premier League tries to re-invent itself over a summer. Isla, Fer and Vargas are going to have to be key contributors. Im a big fan of Mutch, however not quite sure he has the consistency that will demanded of him. Southampton Grade: A- Money Spent: ?£31 profit Key Players In: Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Fraser Forster, Shane Long, Ryan Bertrand (loan), Toby Alderweireld (loan) Key Players Out: Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers, Gaston Ramirez (loan) The summer started in panic will the sell-off of key players in the squad. Supporters were questioning the methods behind the madness. In truth, the club capitalized on sky-high valuation of their players: a good problem to have for any mid-table club. The losses of Shaw and Chambers hurt, but the others are readily replaceable. Southampton did just that, bringing in intriguing talents in Tadic and Pelle. All Alderweireld does is win and the team upgraded at goalkeeper with Forster. The biggest win was refusing to sell Morgan Schneiderlin, who has proven to be a physical force in the middle of the park. All the while Southampton made a substantial summer profit. With Jay Rodriguez working his way back to fitness, this is a team that should round into form under Ronald Koeman in the coming months. New manager, new players, new energy. Stoke City Grade: B Money Spent: ?£0.5 Key Players In: Mame Biram Diouf, Steve Sidwell, Bojan Krkic, Victor Moses (loan), Oussama Assaidi (loan) Key Players Out: Ryan Shotten, Michael Kightly, Matthew Etherington, Cameron Jerome Hows this for a concept: replacing workmanlike players with superior talent. Mark Hughes is slowly rebuilding the Potters from a team content to kick-run-defend into a team that actually desires to play football. The transition takes time, but is well underway. Its Hughes biggest challenge to loosen the reigns and allow his team to play. Heres hoping Krkic, Diouf, Assaidi and others have the freedom to attack. It all depends on how this team lines up. Talent has been brought in and progress is being made. Sunderland Grade: C+ Money Spent: ?£10 Key Players In: Patrick van Aarnholt, Jack Rodwell, Santiago Vergini (loan), Ricky Alvarez (loan) Key Players Out: Phil Bardsley, Jack Colback, Andrea Dossena, Ignacio Scocco Gus Poyet is swinging for the fences bringing in the likes of Will Buckley and Jordi Gomez to the Stadium of Light. Poyets other summer signings make a lot of sense. Van Aarnholt has made an immediate impact, standing out as starting left back. Its time to find out what Rodwell can be, after having his career stagnated sitting on the bench at the Etihad. Alvarez should be an upgrade on Altidore but is no sure thing. Perhaps the biggest loss for Poyet is talented central midfielder Ki-Sung Yueng going back to Swansea after a successful loan-spell last season. Swansea City Grade: B+ Money Spent: ?£1.5 Key Players In: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jefferson Montero, Bafetimbi Gomis, Lukasz Fabianski, Federico Fernandez Key Players Out: Michu, Ben Davies, Michel Vorm, Alejandro Pozuelo, Chico Flores, Jose Canas The Swans have thrived off structure. The players they lost were replaced with like for like. Michu goes, Sigurdsson comes in. Need more speed on the wing, here comes Montero. Pozuelo and Canas leave, they bring back a better player in ball possession in Ki-Sung Yueng. Not just that, Gomis has the makings of a massive signing. Some believed it was cover in case Swansea lost Wilfired Bony. They not only kept the Ivorian, but provide him with another goal-scorer to compliment his game. The Welsh side made be a centre-back short, but there is a lot to like about this team. Speed to burn down the wings, strong through the spine. Tottenham Hotspur Grade: C Money Spent: ?£6 profit Key Players In: Eric Dier, Federico Fazio, Ben Davies Key Players Out: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michael Dawson, Sandro, Lewis Holtby (loan) It was a quiet summer at White Hart Lane after a spending spree a season ago. Mauricio Pochettino seemed more focused on getting rid of players than adding to his squad. Bounce-back seasons from the likes of Erik Lamela will go a long way to proving few moves were required. It is somewhat surprising the club wasnt more active after being dismantled by Liverpool before the transfer window closed. More moves could come in January if desired results arent achieved. Size in the back was added with the towering Dier and Fazio. The team is one of the biggest and fastest in the league. West Bromwich Albion Grade: C+ Money Spent: ?£13 Key Players In: Craig Gardner, Joleon Lescott, Brown Ideye, Christian Gamboa, Andre Wisdom (loan), Silvestre Varela (loan), Jason Davidson Key Players Out: Billy Jones, Liam Ridgewell, Diego Lugano Aside from big money being splashed on Ideye, which raises some eyebrows, not a whole lot was spent revamping this team in need of improvement. However, some useful pieces were brought in. Gamboa, Davidson, and Gardner have their worth. A motivated Lescott should benefit if he ever comes to the realization he isnt as good as he think he is. That doesnt mean he cant be a true upgrade across the back four. The team didnt lose much in terms of quality. But do they have enough to avoid the relegation battle? West Ham United Grade: B- Money Spent: ?£31 Key Players In: Cheikhou Kouyate, Mauro Zarate, Enner Valencia, Alex Song (loan), Carl Jenkinson (loan), Morgan Amalfitano Key Players Out: Joe Cole, Matt Taylor, Jack Collison Valencia joining the attack after a promising World Cup suggested West Ham would win virtually every aerial challenge in attack. The Ecuadorian can flat out jump. Andy Carrolls continual battle with injuries has postponed that idea, most likely to the chagrin of tactical wizard Sam Allardyce. There is something to this team. The arrivals of Zarate, Song, and Jenkinson give marked improvement in important positions. The squad is significantly upgraded. The money spent demands it. So does Big Sams job. I look for this team to be much more difficult to beat. @WheelerTSN gareth.wheeler@bellmedia.ca Kevin Garnett Jersey . He will be practicing with the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. - @AnaheimDucks Corey Perry has a knee sprain and will miss the next three to four weeks. Ryan Gomes Jersey . Schaub will start for an injured Case Keenum and try to help the Texans end a 12-game skid. Schaubs last action in Houston came when he took over late in a game against Oakland on Nov. 17 as Keenum was struggling. https://www.cheaptimberwolves.com/190j-craig-smith-jersey-timberwolves.html . QUARTERBACKS Carson Palmer (vs Colts)Last week: 30/42, 419 yards, 2 TDsWinners of their last three and now tied for the final wild card spot in the NFC, the Cardinals are worth keeping an eye on.Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Fourth seed Simona Halep and former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic reached the fourth round, while one former champion moved on and another, Ana Ivanovic, exited the draw Saturday at the French Open. The Romanian Halep moved into the round of 16 with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Spains Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor. Halep committed only 11 unforced errors and saved all eight break points she faced in the 64-minute affair. The 22-year-old is the highest-remaining seed in the draw following an upset- filled first week. "Thats a surprise for everyone," said Halep. "Is not easy to be the top seeded now, during the tournament. But I try just to keep ... the pressure away." The 2008 girls champion in Paris, Halep will next face 15th-seeded American Sloane Stephens, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over 22nd-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova on Day 7. Stephens has reached the second week at a major for a sixth straight time. "If I knew what the switch was or what I was supposed to do, I would probably do it every week," Stephens said. "I guess fortunately its at the Slams I play well. Not too disappointed with that." Meanwhile, Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova rallied to beat fifth-seeded Czech star Petra Kvitova 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 9-7. The former Wimbledon titlist Kvitova had a 49-26 advantage in winners, but piled up 65 unforced errors, compared to 20 for her 27th-seeded counterpart. Kuznetsova is a former French and U.S. Open champ, with her title coming here in 2009. She was also a Roland Garros runner-up in 2006. A sixth-seeded Jankovic rolled along with a 6-1,, 6-2 pasting of 26th-seeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea, while 10th-seeded 2012 Roland Garros runner-up Sara Errani of Italy whipped Israeli Julia Glushko 6-0, 6-1. Gorgui Dieng Jersey. The former U.S. Open runner-up Jankovic will meet Errani on Monday. Czech Lucie Safarova, seeded 23rd at this fortnight, prevented a fourth-round matchup between the former French Open champions Kuznetsova and Ivanovic by defeating the 11th-seeded Ivanovic, 6-3, 6-3. Ivanovic titled here in 2008 after finishing as the runner-up in 2007. Safarova will battle Kuznetsova in her next outing. Also on Saturday, 28th-seeded German Andrea Petkovic held off Frances Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 and surprising Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens doused last weeks Strasbourg, France, runner-up Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain, 6-2, 6-1. Mladenovic stunned second-seeded Aussie Open champ Li Na in the opening round this week. Petkovic and Bertens will square off in the round of 16. The fourth round will commence Sunday, including a match between seventh- seeded Maria Sharapova and 19th-seeded Aussie Sam Stosur. The former world No. 1 Russian star Sharapova was the French Open champion two years ago and lost to Serena Williams in last years finale. Stosur is a former U.S. Open champ who was the Roland Garros runner-up in 2010. Also on Sunday, eighth-seeded German Angelique Kerber will face 18th-seeded Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, 14th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro will be opposed by Croat Ajla Tomljanovic and rising Spaniard Garbine Muguruza will take on Frances Pauline Parmentier. Muguruza shocked Williams in the second round here. ' ' '

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