Premier League 2020: Top-four odds

The latest odds suggest the fight for third and fourth places now only concerns Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester City The race for the last two places in the Premier League top four and the all-important Champions League qualification between Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester City will be decided on a crunch final day of the season. All three teams have had their chances to secure their place along with Liverpool and Manchester City, but dips in form mean there is only a point separating Manchester United on 63 and Chelsea and…

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Tension mounts in Premier League relegation battle

Tension is mounting at the bottom of the Premier League as the fight to avoid relegation heads towards a dramatic conclusion. With just five games left, rock bottom Norwich are seven points from safety and are sliding towards the Championship. Bournemouth and Aston Villa, who currently fill the remaining two places in the relegation zone, are locked in a four-team battle for survival with fellow strugglers Watford and West Ham. AFP Sport takes a closer look at the teams scrapping to preserve their top-flight status: Thrashed 5-2 at Manchester United…

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Spurs 'happy' with Kane's recovery, says Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur are ‘happy’ with Harry Kane’s recovery process following an ankle injury but manager Mauricio Pochettino does not know if he will be back in action ahead of schedule. The England captain was ruled out until early March after sustaining ligament damage in the 1-0 defeat by Manchester United on January 13, the third season in a row he has suffered such a problem. But Kane, who has previously returned from injuries quicker than forecast, raised hopes he could be back in action soon after posting a video of…

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No positives in latest round of Premier League virus tests

The Premier League’s plan to restart on June 17 received a fresh boost Saturday after the latest round of coronavirus tests produced no new positive cases in English football’s top flight. A total of 1,195 players and club staff were tested in the sixth edition of screening, which took place on Thursday and Friday. “The Premier League can confirm that on Thursday 4 June and Friday 5 June, 1,195 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive,” the league said in a statement. Saturday’s…

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Premier League to vote on return of contact training

Premier League clubs will vote on proposals for a return to contact training on Wednesday as the English top-flight seeks to take another step closer to resuming the season next month. New UK government guidelines issued on Sunday allow for the return of “close contact” training, including tackling, to help players step up their match fitness ahead of a return to competitive action. “This type of training would start with smaller ‘clusters’ of 2-3 athletes and eventually progress to larger groups of 4-12 athletes, and ultimately full team training,” added…

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Pressure mounts on Premier League players to make move on wages

Tottenham Hotspur’s decision to impose a 20% wage reduction on 550 non-playing staff due to the impact of the coronavirus has prompted increased pressure on Premier League players to take a pay cut or a deferral of wages. The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) are in talks with the Premier League over how best to deal with the current suspension of competition, but the moves by some clubs to use the government’s furlough scheme has prompted sharp criticism. On Monday, Newcastle United put non-playing staff on leave and instructed employees to…

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Cagliari president says staff agree to go without one month’s wages

The players and staff at Serie A team Cagliari have agreed to go without pay for one month to help the Sardinian club get through the stoppage caused by the coronavirus outbreak, its president Tommaso Giulini has said. Serie A, like football leagues around the world, has been brought to a standstill and there is no indication of when it may be able to start again, although the Italian federation says it wants to finish the season. “I notice a great sense of responsibility, all our employees and not just…

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IOC member: Tokyo Olympics to be postponed to 2021

TORONTO/TOKYO: The International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games because of the coronavirus pandemic, IOC member Dick Pound said on Monday, as a window slowly began to open that would allow the showcase to be staged next year. Major sporting nations Australia and Canada withdrew on Monday as organisers came under global pressure to postpone the event for the first time in its 124-year modern history. Pound told Reuters that a one-year postponement looked like the best solution. This would mean the Games, scheduled for…

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PSG under pressure against Dortmund to keep Mbappe, Neymar project on track

PARIS: Nothing ever seems to go to plan in the Champions League for Paris Saint-Germain, whose bid to avoid yet another exit in the first knockout round against Borussia Dortmund will be played out before an empty stadium on Wednesday. After Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and co. lost 2-1 to an Erling Haaland-inspired Dortmund before a crowd of 80,000 in Germany last month, PSG discovered on Monday the second leg of their last-16 tie must be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak. Estimates put the financial hit to…

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