Happy Boxing Day, Mane Landers. No, it is not an official holiday in the United States, but it does mean a day full of great English Premier League matches for us. I hope that everyone who celebrates Christmas had a good day with family and friends, and for those that don’t celebrate, I hope you had a special day of relaxation. Let’s get to the links.
El Pulpo Reportedly Re-signs With Orlando City.
The absolute biggest question for Orlando City’s off-season has been whether or not Pedro Gallese will return to the Lions. Gallese is out of contract, but has hinted that he wants to stay with Orlando City. According to MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert, the Lions have reportedly re-signed the goalkeeper.
Sources: Orlando City re-sign Peru int’l goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to a new contract.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) December 25, 2022
Gallese, 32, was out of contract and is among best GKs in the league. Has made 97 apps with Orlando over three seasons. pic.twitter.com/a71u1iDjKn
On top of that, there was this exchange between Orlando City Director of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi and Technical Director Ricardo Moreira on Christmas Eve.
I seriously doubt that the two were having a legitimate discussion regarding the main courses for their respective Christmas dinners. For those who are not scientifically minded, an octopus is a cephalopod, which is a class of mollusk. Now, we are just waiting for an official announcement. What a great Christmas gift that would be.
EPL Boxing Day Matches
The English Premier League continues its annual tradition of Boxing Day matches with a full slate of seven matches. The early match pits Tottenham Hotspur against Brentford and Tottenham’s Antonio Conte is not happy that the EPL has started back so quickly following the World Cup. In fact, he might rest some of his players due to the scheduling. It’s a bit reminiscent of when Jose Mourinho criticized the EPL during the pandemic.
The 10 a.m. matches include Southampton taking on Brighton. Southampton is currently in the relegation zone and needs a result. Leicester City faces Newcastle, and Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side could be without five starters. Lastly, Crystal Palace plays Fulham, with USMNT defenders Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson hoping to get Fulham a win.
Liverpool visits Aston Villa looking to bounce back from its EFL Cup loss to Manchester City. The final match of the day pits Arsenal against West Ham. Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side looks to continue its top-of-the-table run while missing a few players due to injury.
MLS Remembers Kevin Payne
National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Payne passed away Sunday at the age of 69 in Charleston, SC. Payne had been battling a long-term lung illness. He was D.C. United’s founding president and helped build MLS in the early years of the league. Payne also made D.C. United into a dynasty, with the club winning three of the first four MLS Cups. He will be missed by the D.C. United and MLS communities.
We are saddened to share the news that our founding president and general manager Kevin Payne has passed away.— D.C. United (@dcunited) December 25, 2022
He will always be remembered as a dedicated champion of our club, MLS, our community and soccer in the U.S. Our deepest condolences go out to his family. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/qpeogaqKgj
World Cup Aftermath
The World Cup may be over, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still news from it. FIFA confirmed that Richarlison’s stunning goal against Serbia was the Goal of the Tournament. The 25-year-old scored three times in Qatar and had two nominees for the award. In case you somehow forgot that goal, here it is.
In other international soccer news following the World Cup, Japan’s Hajime Moriyasu will reportedly stay on as manager. Moriyasu is the first Japan manager to remain at the helm after a World Cup. Given how well the team played to reach the round of 16, it’s not very surprising.
- Pele’s family spent Christmas with the soccer legend in his hospital room at Albert Einstein Jewish Hospital in São Paulo. Pele has been in the hospital due to a respiratory infection and a re-evaluation of the chemotherapy treatment over colon cancer.
- Representatives from Inter Milan have reportedly made contact with Yunus Musah’s agent. There were hints that Inter was interested in the American midfielder a few weeks ago, but now the pursuit is heating up following Musah’s impressive World Cup performance.
- In other Inter Milan news, Stefan de Vrij may be leaving the club depending on whether or not he accepts a two-year contract extension. If he doesn’t accept it, there are reportedly several MLS clubs interested in the 30-year-old defender.
- Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr is having to show patience in its pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo.
- Wolverhamption signed Brazil’s Matheus Cunha on loan from Atletico Madrid. The loan could turn into a permanent transfer if specific clauses are triggered.
- Here is a list of the top 20 players in the EPL so far this season. I’m betting you can guess who tops the list. His name rhymes with Darling Balland.
That will do it for me. Enjoy a day full of soccer and leftovers.