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Premier League kit power rankings: Which club tops the style table?

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Just 48 days after the end of the last campaign, the 2020-21 Premier League season will get underway on Sept. 12.

If that short recess makes it difficult to tell one season from the next, don’t worry: we have a fresh batch of kits, with teams releasing their new home, away and (for clubs that have released them) third alternate uniforms.

There are some re-imagined classics, daring new designs and a few misguided efforts that are unlikely to fly off the shelves.

We have compiled every one of them here and ranked each club by their collective output from worst to best.

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Newcastle’s traditional black-and-white vertical stripes, with all-black sleeves and no other embellishments, give the jersey a timeless, if underwhelming, look.


Away

Things get more vivid as we delve deeper into the Magpies’ new wardrobe with a garish block of fluorescent yellow that we don’t expect to see break any sales records at the Newcastle club shop this season.

Third

Newcastle’s third kit takes us down another level, with manufacturers Puma unleashing tessellated purple triangles and more flashes of that toxic yellow to launch a barrage on our retinas.

Order Newcastle’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

Just a generic, slightly clingy-looking Villa jersey in claret with sky-blue sleeves. It’s adequate and uninspiring: a bit like their 2019-20 Premier League season.

Away

The away kit is little more interesting in terms of design, with fine claret pinstripes on an inky blue background and the two-tone collar affording it an air of class.

Order Aston Villa’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

Honestly, you could tell us that this is last season’s Sheffield United shirt and we’d have no reason to doubt you.

Away

The colour is described as a “subtle light pink,” but it looks like they were ice-white until somebody accidentally washed them with the home jerseys on a high temperature.

Order Sheffield United’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

A homage to mark the 100th anniversary of the Clarets’ revered 1920-21 league-winning side. Not the most eye-catching, but a balanced combination of classic and modern styles.

Away

The Clarets are yet to unleash their new away kit on an unsuspecting world.

Order Burnley’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

In an innovative plan to get customers whizzing through the checkouts at their club shop, the Baggies have cleverly included the barcode in the design for their new home shirt so you can just scan and go.

Away

We appreciate that bright yellow and green are important colours in terms of Baggies history, but that doesn’t make this strip any easier to look at.

Third

There’s something very Ligue 1 about the Baggies’ third alternate shirt. We’re still not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, though we’re edging toward the latter.

Order West Brom’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

It’s perhaps fitting that West Ham should celebrate their 125th anniversary by not deviating from the tried-and-tested formula of their famous claret and blue colours.

Away

The away shirt is a little more interesting in terms of design, but then again we’re only really saying that to be polite.

Third

The Hammers are one of several teams to release black and gold away kits this season. Still, this one is also available to buy without the sponsor across the torso, so that’s a definite plus.

Order West Ham’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

The Foxes are still proudly sporting that golden trim adopted after their miraculous Premier League title win in 2015-16, and who can blame them? Otherwise, their new home shirt is a bit of a mediocre template design.

Away No. 1

To celebrate their return to European football, Leicester have also launched not one, but two, away kits for 2020-21 — the first being a solid white shirt with gold trim.

Away No. 2

The second away kit is a suave maroon number which looks less like a jersey to play football in and more as though it has been designed with the market for casual wear foremost in the mind.

Order Leicester’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

Chelsea debuted their new home kit, a basic blue non-entity, toward the end of last season, and so far it hasn’t been kind to them. On its first outing with the logo of new sponsor Three across the front, they lost 3-0 at West Ham. Christian Pulisic scored in the FA Cup final while wearing it, but the Blues lost to Arsenal with the U.S. forward limping off injured.

Away

The away shirt, for all the promotional talk of “a classic tailored aesthetic” and “a modern street lens,” looks like a set of baby-blue pyjamas.

Third

It’s hardly surprising that Crystal Palace were rendered aghast when Chelsea released their 2020-21 third shirt, as it looks like the design was lifted straight from the Eagles’ reject pile. As with the infamous grey and orange monstrosity of 1994-95, there’s a sliver of cult potential.

Order Chelsea’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


12. Fulham (Adidas)

Home

They took their time, releasing their new kits just days before they kick off their return to the Premier League. The broad black shoulder pads are reminiscent of the strip Fulham wore during their epic Europa League adventures under Roy Hodgson a decade ago, which is a nice touch.

Away

On their travels, Fulham will be adorned in matching bright yellow shirts, shorts and socks for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, when they achieved their highest-ever league finish (seventh) and secured their place in Europe for the following season.

Order Fulham’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

A classy pinstriped number with polo shirt collar inspired by previous Seagulls kits worn in 1983-84 and 1993-94. There’s a hint of nautical style about it, which is fitting for a club who play 10 minutes from the sea.

Away

A partner piece to the new home shirt, though this time the 1980s-tinged design is mainly yellow with a bright blue overlapping collar.

Third

It’s black. Plain black. Head to toe. The sleeves are different shade, but the difference is barely noticeable. Still, it’s not terrible, and at least the club badge and sponsor logos are a different colour.

Order Brighton’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

There’s nothing particularly wrong with Spurs’ new kits, per se — except that there is a distinct “first draft” vibe about them. The home shirt is white with chunky blue bands placed awkwardly just below each shoulder.

Away

Another straightforward design, though the flashes of clashing neon help break the monotony. That said, we’re not sure we’ll ever get used to the sight of Spurs playing in green.

Third

Inspired by both Spurs away shirts of yore and Nike’s classic Air Max 95 sneaker. It’s a plain yellow football kit. It looks more like a nice T-shirt that would go well with said footwear, rather than a sports kit.

Order Tottenham’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

Leeds are back in the big time with a sharp new strip. The shirt they’ll be wearing on their return to the top flight is nice, but a little too plain to elevate it above the ordinary.

Away

Reminiscent of their classic alternate kit of 1995-96, Leeds’ new away shirt instantly evokes memories of former striker and regular scorer of wonder goals Tony Yeboah — which is never a bad thing. The official colours used are “legend ink” and ‘”mystery green,” which also adds a fantastical flourish to proceedings.

Order Leeds’ 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

While United’s new strip may look to some like it’s made of material from a bus seat, the concept behind taking strands of thread from the club crest to create a mottled pattern is a good one.

Away

Yes it’s another black change shirt for United, but there’s something about the wavy print and silver trim, inspired by Manchester’s public transport network, that just gives it a modicum of sophistication.

Third

Designed in homage to the first time United wore stripes in 1910 (the club’s first season at Old Trafford), David Beckham was enlisted to unveil it on his Instagram account — presumably in the hope that he, the world’s most handsome footballer, could make it look good. The reception has been mixed.

Order Manchester United’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

Not to be confused with Chelsea’s new third kit, Palace have opted for a simple, unfussy reconfiguration of their famous red and blue stripes. The club’s fans would probably be happy with any new kit, just as long as Wilfried Zaha is wearing it for another season.

Away

A variation on the theme of the home design, Palace’s away strip sees the broad stripes laid out on a crisp field of white for a perfectly prim jersey.

Third

Much like Marge Simpson’s pink Chanel suit, Palace managed to coax a third iteration of the basic layout, proving that when manufacturers get their templates right, they can be wonderfully versatile.

Order Palace’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

Sleek and sophisticated, the 2020-21 iteration of Wolves’ famous “old gold” kit radiates an auric glow.

Away

With the neon blue slime clashing with the navy and bright gold trim, it’s hard to make sense of Wolves’ away shirt. It’s weird that we don’t entirely dislike it either.

Order Wolves’ 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

With the Saints set to celebrate their 135th anniversary next year, Under Armour have revived the classic sash first worn back in 1885. After all, who doesn’t love a sash?

Away

This navy kit has flashes of yellow and Solent blue (named after the body of water that the port city is based alongside) in reference to the shirts worn by the Saints during their 1976 FA Cup final victory over Manchester United.

Order Southampton’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

Trust new suppliers Hummel to serve up a warm batch of nostalgic goodness, with the Toffees’ chevroned home shirt bursting with 1980s appeal. Record sales on launch day seem to suggest that the fans are in favour, too.

Away

The away kit is based in the same template, but bright amber with blue trim — inspired by the Alan Ball-era Everton away strips of the late 1960s.

Third

Mint and toffee is a delicious combination, although you could easily be fooled into thinking this is just Jordan Pickford’s goalkeeper jersey from last season.

Order Everton’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

A throwback to the mid-1990s with chunky collar and teal trim, the Reds’ new home shirt is evocative of the club’s 1990s “Spice Boys” like Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and Stan Collymore. Let’s hope Jurgen Klopp’s players aren’t inspired to don cream Armani suits for their next cup final.

Away

The vivid teal colour is a nod to the famous Liver Bird that watches over Liverpool from its perch atop the Liver Building, while the leafy abstract pattern is inspired by the Shankly Gates — in short, a surefire winner with Reds fans.

Order Liverpool’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

One of several clubs who have gone back in time for inspiration, the angular geometric pattern on the Gunners’ new home shirt is lifted from the art deco crest used on their kits between 1936 and 1949.

Away

The accompanying away shirt is also inspired by the glories of the past, this time the grand marble entrance halls that awaited visiting dignitaries at Highbury, the club’s former home. The promo that launched it took kit reveals to a whole new level with its sweeping tour through an Arsenal-themed art gallery.

Order Arsenal’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website


Home

You have to hand it to City for trying something a bit different. Their new “cracked” shirt (inspired by the folk-art mosaics that decorate Manchester’s northern quarter) is a hit for us.

Away

Suave and subtle, this jersey is layered with lovely details and is topped off with copper trim. City managed to produce this beauty despite taking inspiration for the design from the canals and railway bridges that run throughout Manchester.

Third

Who doesn’t love a bit of paisley? City’s trippy third shirt is a nod to Manchester’s musical heritage, from the 1960s all the way through acid house, the “Madchester” scene, to the Britpop and indie bands of the 1990s. Mad for it!

Order Manchester City’s 2020-21 kits via the club’s official website

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Toronto FC hoping to make MLS Cup run having spent much of 2020 far from home

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On a recent Thursday in Hartford, Conn., Toronto FC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg pondered the dichotomy of wanting to reach MLS Cup on Dec. 12, but also desiring to see his family again. Meanwhile, Jim Liston, the team’s director of sports science, was planning a trip to Lowe’s to buy 15 garbage cans so players could have an ice bath after training. As for manager Greg Vanney, he was fretting about his team’s health and the lack of practice time their schedule was affording.

Such is the life of a team as it attempts to not only navigate its way through the COVID-19 pandemic, but has been forced to do it away from home.

Due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, TFC — like the league’s other two Canadian teams, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps — set up a “home” base in the U.S. for the remainder of the season; Toronto were stationed in Hartford. (Vancouver Whitecaps took roost in Portland, ground-sharing with Timbers, while Montreal Impact split use of New York Red Bulls’ facilities in Harrison, N.J.) This was on top of nearly every team spending nearly a month inside a bubble back in July at the MLS is Back Tournament outside Orlando, Florida.

The Reds spent about seven weeks back in Toronto as they played a series of matches against Canadian teams. In mid-September, the remainder of the regular season — and the temporary move to Hartford — beckoned. The vagabond nature of the campaign is what led Liston to joke that he was willing to discuss “whatever five seasons” the team has been through so far. But for Vanney and the players, the campaign has required a special kind of focus.

“A lot of what we’ve done here, and what we try to preach here is just control the controllables, and don’t get too drawn into the things you can’t,” Vanney told ESPN. “Roll with it, and make the best out of whatever the situation is.”

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Toronto has largely succeeded in spite of its odyssey. While there was disappointment at missing out on the Supporters’ Shield to the Philadelphia Union, TFC went 7-3-2 during its Hartford sojourn and finished with the second-best record in the league. But the challenges have still been immense. Simply being out of one’s home environment is difficult enough, but the time spent away from family and loved ones weighs heavy on the psyche, even as Vanney has given players the occasional trip back to Toronto — under quarantine — to reconnect with loved ones.

“It’s just very different, very challenging and emotionally exhausting,” Westberg said of his experience while based in Hartford.

Westberg has arguably had it tougher than most. The TFC goalkeeper is married with four children, including a baby girl who was born in June. For that reason, Westberg and his wife, Ania, made the decision at the end of September that it would be better for her and their kids to head back to his native France so they could be surrounded by family. Westberg called it “the least bad decision,” but there are difficulties nonetheless.

“I’m a very even person, and this year has challenged me a lot,” he said. “I’m still pretty even, but I keep a lot to myself and for sure there’s some difficult days, seeing your family [struggle] from your absence.”

The inability to be home has affected the players and staff in other ways. In Toronto, there are ways of disengaging from the game. Being with friends, loved ones or even in familiar surroundings can be the best medicine in terms of forgetting a bad game or training session. But in Hartford, at the team’s hotel, that escape is nearly impossible even as players try to distract themselves by reading or taking online classes.

“You don’t really unplug,” Westberg said. “You FaceTime family, or this or that, but it’s too short. You’re 100 percent focused on your soccer, and your whole day basically relies on being ready for whatever soccer activity that you have next, whether it’s practice or game. It’s good for your physique, it’s optimal for the way you eat and the way you [train]. But mentally, you’re not as fresh as your body.”

That isn’t to say there are only negatives to the separation. There is also an us-against-the-world mentality that Toronto has adopted, given that their players and personnel are experiencing the season in a way that is vastly different than most other teams. The team staff has done what it can to make their surroundings a home away from home, whether it’s personalizing the locker rooms at Rentschler Field or having hotel staff brand the surroundings in TFC colors. The hotel went so far as to bring in a barista who could consistently give the players their coffee fix. Supporters groups have even sent down banners in a bid to convey the fact that the players are remembered.

The care that TFC takes for players has extended to families back home, with the club supplying meals to loved ones three times a week.

On the logistical side, Liston made sure that one of the gyms used at MLS is Back was brought to TFC’s hotel in Hartford, and he remarked that the food at the hotel is “arguably the best we’ve ever had on the road.”

There have also been efforts to create new routines. Assistant coach Jason Bent, aka DJ Soops, has been in charge of the pregame music selection for the past 18 months — no easy feat for a squad that has a considerable international presence. In Hartford, Bent has set aside Thursday nights to spin music in one area of the hotel. He’ll even go live on Instagram or Twitch for those who prefer to relax in their rooms.

“[We] opened it to players and staff and basically anyone that’s part of our bubble to come relax, listen to music and just enjoy each other’s company,” Bent said. “I enjoy making people happy so if it’s helping everyone even in the slightest, I have no problem arranging the set and spinning.”

For Vanney, the pandemic and operating outside of the team’s home market has meant any number of challenges. He said the team has used three different training facilities in Hartford, with varying field conditions. He recognizes that the trips home are vital for the mental health of his players and staff, but any breaks also mean less time spent on the practice field. The compressed schedule, which at times involved games every three or four days, has had an impact as well. Even the best-laid plans in terms of squad rotation were impacted as minor injuries began popping up.

“We end up with a lot of guys in different positions because they need special kinds of treatment or care to help them get fit and back to health,” Vanney said. “So it ends up being a lot of different things kind of going on all at once, and that’s been the challenge of it.”

Recovery from matches has been complicated by the fact that TFC doesn’t have access to the same level of facilities that it does at home — hence Liston’s emergency trip to Lowe’s to fashion impromptu ice baths for the players. Then there are the different ways the players occupy themselves on the road as compared to home, especially amid the pandemic.

“There’s really no life outside of the hotel,” Liston said. “[At home], you may go walk the dog in the afternoon or go for a walk with your wife or friend or girlfriend or family and you’re out and about. The recommendation [here] is to kind of stay put. So you’ve got a really active population and pro athletes, who we’re asking them to be sedentary the rest of the time, kind of stay in the hotel from a COVID and safety standpoint. That’s not optimal for recovery either.”

There are also the creature comforts of home that are no longer available on the road, which can impact sleep.

“Sleep is the number one tool for recovery, and that’s definitely been a challenge,” Liston said. “We do well-being questionnaires and the scores on quality of sleep, and hours of sleep, just drop.”

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Tom Barlow and Brian White seal Toronto’s fate in a 2-1 win for New York Red Bulls. Watch MLS on ESPN+.

Another change has been same-day travel, which has drawn mixed reactions from the TFC players and staff. Vanney and Westberg are generally in favor, saying it reminds them of when they each played in France. Flying back the same night also means a training day isn’t lost. Liston has a different perspective in that he prefers arriving the day before, and then leaving the same day.

“I think [same-day travel] makes for a really long day,” he said. “And there’s definitely a negative impact on performance, taking three bus rides and a plane ride before your game. You’re getting home — it can be 12:30, but it could also be 1:30 in the morning, and that’s where you know our well-being scores and sleep hours and quality just disappear. When you have so many games in succession, you can’t make up the sleep.”

With the playoffs set to begin for TFC on Nov. 24, the end is in sight, even as it makes for a complex — and even conflicting — set of emotions.

“This is the tricky part. I miss them a lot,” Westberg said of his family. “But in a way I want to see them as [late] as possible in December, because obviously, there’s this idea that we want to do well in the playoffs and we want to keep going. TFC has a history of setting high standards and high expectations. It’s a heavy load to carry but also an exciting one.”

Win or lose, it’s a season they’ll never forget.

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Bettman: NHL is mulling temporary realignment

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The NHL is considering a temporary realignment of its teams for the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, according to commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bettman said Tuesday that restrictions on travel across the Canadian border, as well as “limitations in terms of quarantining when you go from certain states to other states” within the United States, could mean the NHL creates a more regionalized alignment for its upcoming season.

“As it relates to the travel issue, which is obviously the great unknown, we may have to temporarily realign to deal with geography, because having some of our teams travel from Florida to California may not make sense. It may be that we’re better off — particularly if we’re playing a reduced schedule, which we’re contemplating — keeping it geographically centric and more divisional-based; and realigning, again on a temporary basis, to deal with the travel issues,” Bettman said during a 2020 Paley International Council Summit panel with fellow commissioners Adam Silver of the NBA and Rob Manfred of MLB.

The NHL board of governors has a meeting scheduled for Thursday which will provide a progress report and possible recommendations for a season format, based on talks between the league and the NHL Players’ Association. The target date for starting next season remains Jan. 1.

Bettman said the league is considering a few scheduling options for the 2020-21 season. Something that’s off the table: playing the entire season in the kind of bubbles the NHL had in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, to complete last season. But Bettman said teams opening in their own arenas is a possibility, along with a modified bubble.

“We are exploring the possibility of playing in our own buildings without fans [or] fans where you can, which is going to be an arena-by-arena issue. But we’re also exploring the possibility of a hub. You’ll come in. You’ll play for 10 to 12 days. You’ll play a bunch of games without traveling. You’ll go back, go home for a week, be with your family. We’ll have our testing protocols and all the other things you need,” he said.

Bettman also indicated that the NHL is exploring “a hybrid, where some teams are in a bubble, some teams play at home and you move in and out.”

The NBA’s board of governors unanimously approved a deal with the players’ union that sets the stage for a season that will open on Dec. 22 and with a reduced schedule of 72 games. Silver said that the commissioners are in communication on COVID-19-related issues, especially the NBA and the NHL, since the two leagues’ teams share arenas and, in some cases, team owners.

Silver said he senses that the NBA will have fans in many of its buildings this season.

“We’re probably going to start one way, where we’re maybe a little bit more conservative than many of the jurisdictions allow,” he said. “What we’ve said to our teams is that we’ll continue to work with public health authorities. Arena issues are different than outdoor stadium issues. There will be certain standards for air filtration and air circulation. There may be a different standard for a suite than there will be for fans spaced in seats.”

Silver said there will be standardized protocols that are consistent from arena to arena, such as proximity between players and fans: “In certain cases, for seats near the floor, we’re going to be putting in testing programs, where fans will certify that they’ve been tested — some within 48 hours, some within day of game.” While Silver supported a continued expansion of the NBA postseason through its play-in tournament, Bettman said that he’s not in favor of expanded playoffs or “playing with the fundamentals of the game.” The NHL had 24 teams in its postseason last summer.

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The Battleground States Where We’ve Seen Some Movement In The Polls

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With apologies to The Raconteurs, the presidential race continues to be “steady as she goes,” with little sign of tightening despite a plethora of new polls. FiveThirtyEight’s presidential forecast gives Joe Biden an 89 in 100 shot at winning the election, while President Trump has just an 11 in 100 chance. This makes Biden the favorite, but still leaves open a narrow path to victory for Trump, for whom a reelection win would be surprising — but not utterly shocking.

At the same time, we also have fewer polls from live-caller surveys, which have historically been more accurate and have shown slightly better numbers for Biden, than polls that use other methodologies, such as polls conducted primarily online or through automated telephone calls. Nevertheless, while the overall picture has shifted only a little in recent days, a few battleground states have seen at least some movement in their polls, which has slightly altered the odds Biden or Trump wins in each of those places.

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