Jan 17, 2020

Sheffield United isn't supposed to be this good

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Data: Premier League; Chart: Axios Visuals

Sheffield United is back in the Premier League for the first time in 13 years, and through its first 22 games, the club has 32 points and sits in sixth place, just behind Manchester United and ahead of both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Why it matters: It's the best 22-game start to a Premier League season for a newly promoted team since Birmingham City picked up 33 points in 2009-10, per FiveThirtyEight, and the fourth-best ever behind 2005-06 Wigan Athletic (34 points) and 2000-01 Ipswich Town (37 points).

Coming up: Sheffield United, whose nickname "the Blades" comes from the city's history of steel production, has two tough games coming up, as the club looks to become the first newly promoted team to ever qualify for the Champions League (finish top four).

  • Tomorrow: Travel to North London to play Arsenal
  • Tuesday: Host defending champion Manchester City

Also this weekend: First-place Liverpool hosts fifth-place Manchester United at Anfield.

Go deeper: The world's wealthiest soccer clubs

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Premier League champs Manchester City banned from Champions League

Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Reigning Premier League champion Manchester City will be banned from European soccer competitions for two seasons in response to "serious breaches" of financial regulations, Europe's governing soccer body announced Friday.

Why it matters: The restriction means City won't compete in the Champion's League, European soccer's top competition. The club garnered £54 million ( $70 million) in revenue from the competition in the 2017-2018 season. City will also have to pay a fine of €30 million ($32.5 million).

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The Negro National League's lasting legacy, 100 years on

Rube Foster (center) and the Chicago American Giants. Photo: Diamond Images/Getty Images

100 years ago Thursday, the Negro National League was founded by former pitcher and executive Rube Foster.

Why it matters: The NNL became the first Negro league to achieve stability and last more than one season. It "proved that African American players could play on even terms with their white counterparts — and draw just as much interest from baseball fans," per the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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