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Chelsea vs. Spurs should add to rich history of “battle for fourth”

Tottenham’s trip to Chelsea this Sunday is unquestionably the biggest game of the Premier League weekend. It might be the biggest of the Premier League season too.

With Manchester City out of sight, Liverpool and Manchester United highly likely to join them in the Champions League and Arsenal concentrating on the Europa League, there’s only one major issue remaining at the top: fourth place. nfl authentic jerseys cheap That battle, like Sunday’s contest at Stamford Bridge, is Tottenham against Chelsea and both sides have heavily been involved in the “battle for fourth” over the years.

The first Premier League campaign where fourth place was rewarded with Champions League qualification was back in 2001-02, when Newcastle finished there with relative ease. The following season, however, featured unquestionably the most significant battle for fourth. On the final day of 2002-03, two sides were gunning for the final Champions League position: Chelsea and Liverpool. Both were on 64 points but Chelsea had a superior goal difference ahead of the clash at Stamford Bridge, meaning the draw favoured them. Nevertheless, this was a play-off for the Champions League.

Among Chelsea supporters, this is now recognised as the most important match in the club’s recent history: Chelsea were in dire straits financially and the players had been informed many would be sold if the club didn’t qualify for the Champions League. It was widely billed as the “£20 million match” but in retrospect, it was probably worth more like £1 billion.

After a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals from Marcel Desailly and Jesper Gronkjaer, Roman Abramovich bought the club weeks later. It’s generally understood that he wanted a club competing in the Champions League; therefore, had Sami Hyypia’s opener also been the winner, the subsequent course of English football may have been extremely different.

The 2003-04 season should have featured a similar final day decider because Liverpool and Newcastle faced off sitting fourth and fifth respectively. Unfortunately, Newcastle had contrived to collect only two points from their previous three games, all against bottom-half clubs, and therefore Liverpool already had a sufficient points gap.

There was something of a complication the following season because Everton clinched fourth ahead of city rivals Liverpool as Rafael Benitez’s side were distracted by their European Cup run. After their legendary comeback against Milan in the final, UEFA changed their rules to allow Liverpool back into the competition from the first qualifying round. Meanwhile, Everton failed in their own qualification process, meaning all the previous season’s work went unrewarded. nfl jersey wholesale Incidentally, this confusion prompted UEFA to change the rules permanently, formally declaring that any champions would be allowed to defend the trophy in future if finishing outside the usual qualification places, at the expense of the fourth-placed side. This would have major ramifications in 2011-12.

21

Report: Case Keenum to Sign Contract with Broncos After 1 Year with Vikings

Case Keenum will sign with the Denver Broncos, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday morning.

The terms of the agreement are unknown.customized nfl jerseys The Broncos were also interested in free agents Kirk Cousins and Teddy Bridgewater, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.

He spent the 2017 season with the Minnesota Vikings and threw for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

The Vikings went 11-3 in games started by Keenum during the regular season on their way to a first-round playoff bye. He entered 2017 with a 9-15 career record after stints with the Rams and Texans.

“I think you dream about it, it’s always a dream, it’s why we play the game to play well and do what we do,” Keenum said of his season, per Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. “To see it come true has been incredible.”

Keenum was particularly brilliant in the second half of the season,cheap custom nfl jerseys when he threw for 15 touchdowns against four picks while leading the Vikings to a 7-1 record. There seemed to be a fire lit under Keenum following the return of Teddy Bridgewater, whom most expected to take over after working his way back into game shape.

The fairytale ended in the postseason when the Vikings lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, but Keenum did enough to become one of the premier free agents on the market.

Those numbers are fine in the macro sense, but Keenum’s best off as a mid-tier starter. He almost exclusively works underneath and between the numbers. That’s nice as a stopgap, but it’s not clear he can lead a franchise for the long term.

The Broncos have spent the last few seasons floundering at quarterback, so a mid-tier starter would be a vast improvement. The Cleveland Browns were the only team with a worse quarterback rating than Denver in 2017, and the Broncos have ranked in the bottom half of the league for three straight seasons.

11

Ranking the top 30 NBA draft prospects by stats and scouting

With conference tournaments in full swing and the NCAA tournament a week away, it’s time to take a first look at my WARP projections for the college prospects who could be in this year’s NBA draft.

As always,wholesale nfl jersey outlet my projections are built on three factors:

The player’s projected performance as a rookie, based on translated NCAA stats over the past three seasons, adjusted for strength of schedule and a factor regressing outlier performance to the mean;

The player’s age;
Where the player ranks in the latest top 100 rankings from my Insider colleagues Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz.

(For more on how the projections work and a look back at past projections, see here.)

Even without factoring in international prospects, most notably Luka Doncic and his historic production in EuroLeague, this looks like a strong crop at the top. There’s an unusual amount of agreement between my stats-only projections (factoring in translated production and age) and this year’s top 100. Still, there are some surprising names in my top 30 and the order isn’t quite the same as our top 100, starting at the very top.

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