Man of the match: Nani had an amazing night, if quietly so. Though he assisted on Portugal’s second goal, most of his work went unrewarded. Playing on the right flank, he created a number of turnovers, shutting down Simon Poulsen (who had been so good against the Dutch). Nani passing was excellent, deserving a second assist on a missed Ronaldo chance in the 78th minute.
NBC Sports: Late Valera goal gives Portugal 3-2 win over Danes
Packaged for takeaway:
- It was practically a must-win match, and Portugal came through, taking advantage of lax defending on the first two goals and a dazzling finish when they needed a winner.
- The first goal came off a corner. Great delivery from Joao Moutinho found Pepe on a near post run, Daniel Agger having lost his mark amid a crowd of Portuguese runners.
- It was the start of a strong night of Pepe, with the Real Madrid star taking over at the back for long stretches of the second half. The only thing which kept him from Man of the Match was being the defender nearest Nicklas Bendtner on the late, equalizing goal, though it’s debatable whether Pepe should have been expected to prevent it.
- Portugal’s second goal seemed to be a function of lazy Danish defending. They defense had sunk deeper and deeper to position themselves for balls sent in from wide. On Fabio Coentrao’s ball from the left, Denmark was set nine yards from goal and didn’t push after it was headed clear. The clearance was eventually played to Nani on the right, 15 yards from the line, who had no pressure on him when finding Helder Postiga cutting across the box.
- Denmark’s first goal was beautiful. Michael Krahn-Dehli switched the ball right for Lars Jacobsen, who played back to Jakob Poulsen. Poulsen curled a ball from 30 yards out to the far post, where Krahn-Dehli had beat Joao Periera. With Riu Patricio coming to contest a shot, Krahn-Dehli played a header back across the box for Bendtner, who finished for a yard out.
- It was a disappointing goal to concede right before halftime, but Portugal came out in the second having never lost their composure. Denmark dominated possession but created almost no chances, with Portugal looking more likely to score.
- Cristiano Ronaldo was twice given open chances on goal by Nani. The first came when Helder Postiga dummied a long ball from the right, Denmark’s defense failing to account for Ronaldo. Stephan Andersen came out to make a nice save on a shot from 16 yards out. In the 78th minute, Nani gave Ronaldo another chance, but with Andersen going down early, Ronaldo pushed his shot wide.
- When Bendtner equalized, Ronaldo’s misses loomed large. Again, it was a near-perfectly executed goal. Lars Jacobsen had to cross from deep on the right for Bendtner, who had to position himself outside the far post. The shot went just inside the left upright, grazed off Rui Patricio’s hand, and went in.
- It was fitting that a well-executed Portugal goal won the game, though Denmark may ask why, when they were protecting their point, Silvestre Valera was given a second chance to win the game. Fabio Coentrao’s cross was met with a meek left-footed shot from the substitute, but turning on the rebound, Valera blasted an unstoppable shot just inside the right post.
- Coentrao also had a strong Man of the Match shout.
- For Denmark, you have to regret ever giving Portugal control of the match. The first 20 minutes were evenly played, but Denmark was too meek at the back, an attitude that conceded the first two goals. From there, Portugal was allowed to play their more comfortable, defensive approach, and although Denmark would end with 60 percent possession, they couldn’t get three points.
- As a result, Denmark fails to build on their upset of the Netherlands and now need some help to get out of group. Portugal has the tiebreaker, should the teams end up even, though a number of three-way tie scenarios are still in play.
- Portugal, on the other hand, have every reason to be happy with the result. It wasn’t a must-win game (they could have drawn and had a slim chance of surviving), but a win gives them needed confidence going into a final group game against the Netherlands.
ProSoccerTalk is doing its best to keep you up to date on what’s going on in Poland and Ukraine. Check out the site’s Euro 2012 page and look at the site’s previews, predictions, and coverage of all the events defining UEFA’s championship.
- Spurs won both matches in 15-16
- Cherries unbeaten in three overall
- Spurs 2W-2D on road this season
Tottenham’s treatment of new boys Bournemouth was downright disrespectful last season, and the improved Cherries would love a measure of payback (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports).
Spurs handled Bournemouth 3-0 at home last season after belting the Cherries 5-1 at Vitality Stadium in October.
[ MORE: USWNT’s Holiday has tumor removed ]
Almost exactly one year later, Bournemouth sits 11th with 11 points and is closer to the top of the table than the bottom.
Meanwhile, Spurs are again in a title race despite the continued absence of striker Harry Kane, who is back training but won’t be available for Saturday’s contest.
What they’re saying
Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe on facing Tottenham: “I think we’re better prepared for these kind of games. We’re more hardened to Premier League football and our belief and confidence levels are better than what they previously were, but we have to prove it on the pitch. It’s going to be a real test for us. They have an outstanding manager who in my opinion is up there with the very best. The intensity at which his sides play makes them difficult opponents. They are general title contenders.”
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino on Vincent Janssen: “Always we need to give time. He’s young, he’s come in from the Netherlands and always the players that come from outside need time. He’s a striker that brings to the team different characteristics but I am happy with his behavior, his professionalism and how he is playing.”
It’ll be far from easy, and Howe certainly has a motivated team in form. Spurs’ quality will be on display as well, and both managers like to see their teams play free. Call it 2-2.
Week 9 of the 2016-17 Premier League season is here.
[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]
It all kicks off with Bournemouth hosting Tottenham Hotspur (7:30 a.m. ET live NBCSN andonline via NBC Sports.com) at the Vitality Stadium with two teams full of young English players to go head-to-head.
Then Arsenal welcome Middlesbrough (10 a.m. ET live NBCSN and online via NBC Sports.com) to the Emirates with Arsene Wenger‘s side searching for a seventh-straight win in the PL, while Boro have won just one of their opening eight games.
Rounding things off on Saturday, Liverpool and West Brom clash at Anfield (12:30 p.m. ET live NBC and online via NBC Sports.com) in a battle between two different styles. Can Tony Pulis‘ pragmatic approach shut down Jurgen Klopp‘s fluid offensive machine?
On Sunday Manchester City host Southampton at the Etihad (8:30 a.m. ET live NBCSN and online via NBC Sports.com) with both teams coming off the back of disappointing defeats away in European action. Then comes the big one: Chelsea vs. Manchester United at Stamford Bridge (11 a.m. ET live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports.com). Jose Mourinho is returning to the Bridge for the first time since he was fired last December and he’ll likely get a very warm reception from the home fans. Will his United side again frustrate a big-name opponent away from home?
You can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App, plus you can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at 10 a.m. ET for all the goals as they go in. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App,
If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here. They are available soon after the final whistle, but rights limit us to a certain number each week. Looking for game highlights? Try this. Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.
FULL TV SCHEDULE
7:30 a.m. ET: Bournemouth vs. Tottenham – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Hull City vs. Stoke City – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Watford – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Everton – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Ham vs. Sunderland – Premier League Extratime [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Brom – NBC [STREAM]
8:30 a.m. ET: Manchester City vs. Southampton – NBCSN [STREAM]
11 a.m. ET: Chelsea vs. Manchester United – NBCSN [STREAM]
Maybe he just got sick of the criticism, and of (relatively) keeping his cool.
Maybe he just doesn’t care anymore.
Regardless of the “why”, there’s a lot to love about this season’s Arsene Wenger.
[ MORE: Top 5 PL storylines — Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge ]
Wenger has slowly built up his hope and expectations for the club. The Gunners “have a better chance” to win in the Champions League. They’re “stronger with every win“, and need humility.
And Wenger is taking it to the jungle to explain that last part.
“I believe that humility is to understand that you start again from zero and that you are in a jungle. We live in a jungle where everybody wants to eat you, and you have to survive by keeping your vigilance. That’s what competition is about. Every day you have to fight again to survive.
“The love to win and the competitiveness of the Premier League is very exciting. We are all in that [jungle] together.”
Arsenal hosts Middlesbrough on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.
- Liverpool leads all-time: 59W-37D-32L
- Teams drew both matches last season
- WBA last won at Anfield in 2013
West Brom has hope for a big Anfield upset when it visits Liverpool this weekend (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC and online via NBC Sports).
The Baggies are have picked up points in three of their last five trips to Anfield, and have a 4-4-4 league record against the Reds since returning to the Premier League in 2010.
[ MORE: USWNT’s Holiday has tumor removed ]
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp refused to rule anyone out for Saturday’s match, and the in-form Reds will have to break down a side that’s unbeaten in four.
What they’re saying
Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren: “Every game is a ‘win’ game for us – we have the quality to beat everyone, when you look at the teams we have played already. It’s just about a winning mentality. If we can keep that, at the end of the season we can be proud.”
West Brom boss Tony Pulis: “We know Liverpool is going to be a really tough game. Their front five are exceptional. Jurgen Klopp is passionate and that is important in the game and important for Liverpool. They’ve got a good chance this year. The games that are coming up are difficult but ones we should embrace. Anfield is wonderful.”
Pulis has done a fine job setting his team up to defend, and his counterattack will think well of breaking down Liverpool. But this one’s at Anfield, with the Reds in the international spotlight to end Saturday’s Premier League slate.
It doesn’t feel like an upset is in the cards, especially with the Reds still seething from last week’s scoreless draw vs. Manchester United. Call it Liverpool, 3-0.