A few things to consider as you watch the goals and some swell saves of Columbus’ 2-1 road win Saturday at D.C. United:
- United’s defending on set-pieces was terrible. Horribly so, for that’s the biggest reason United’s watched its 18-game home unbeaten streak go bye-bye Saturday.
- You get so much “good” with young United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, but a heaping helping of “bad” as well. Hamid’s decision making was awful on the Crew’s first goal, coming out into a crowd to collect a corner kick but getting nowhere near it. Later, he fumbled a free kick right into the worst spot, into the middle of the field; the Crew’s Ben Speas was there to nail the game-winner.
- Speaking of Speas: The Columbus Crew home-grown signing, who debuted on the final match day of 2012, continues to impress. Robert Warzycha and his staff really have something in the young midfielder.
- Previously, Speas was a replacement for the injured Eddie Gaven (and PST readers know we always call Gaven one of the most underrated of MLS men.) Saturday Warzycha had them both on the field, at either flank.
- Dwayne De Rosario is now into his third season at RFK, and yet the tinkering on how best to use the league’s 2011 MVP continues. He played ahead of holding midfielder Perry Kitchen, behind two strikers on Saturday. In his time at United, De Rosario has operated as a central attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, as a second striker and in the role he occupied Saturday.
Highlights of Saturday’s contest at RFK Stadium:
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- West Ham one loss in last 8 PL matches
- Liverpool won 4-1 in London on Nov. 4
- Reds lead all-time 70W-37D-28L
Liverpool can move second in the Premier League if it handles its business against West Ham United at Anfield on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).
The Reds enter the day two points and two goals of differential behind Manchester United, and are a point ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea. The Red Devils and Blues meet on Sunday.
WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE
A Mohamed Salah double led the Reds past the Irons in a London Stadium meeting earlier this season, but West Ham is a much different team under David Moyes.
Part of that is a firing Marko Arnautovic, who has seven goals and three assists in his last nine matches for West Ham.
The Irons announced the sale of Jose Fonte to Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang on Friday.
What they’re saying
Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s Spanish training camp: “As always with a training camp, you want the boys to be together the whole day. We are a lot together but not when we have time off so we had that time as well. The weather was brilliant and everything was easier – if you have to do hard work, which we did there, it is easier if the weather plays in your cards and that was a change of circumstance after a long winter. ”
West Ham’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez on the Irons renewed season: “We had our targets, but they changed. At the beginning of the season, we were aiming to qualify for European competition, but now we are fighting against relegation, but that is sport, that is football and part of life, so we need to accept it and try to be better and get out and see what’s going to happen next year. If we have all these players recovered, probably next year we are going to be fighting for a European position, you never know.”
The Reds are hard to predict, but the lay-off between their Porto triumph in the Champions League and Saturday’s match should benefit Liverpool. 2-1 to the hosts.
Mousa Dembele‘s been appreciated as a midfielder for sometime, but the Belgian is getting as many rave reviews as any other non-scorer these days.
Tottenham’s middle man got the twice-over from his manager on Friday, as Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino prepares for Crystal Palace.
[ MORE: Europa League draw ]
Calling Dembele a “genius,” Pochettino heaped praise on the 30-year-old.
“I’ve told you, I put him next to Ronaldinho, Maradona, Okocha – players I’ve been lucky enough to play with. For me he’s one of the unbelievable talents in the history of football.”
The temptation is to make a joke about Dembele being next to Ronaldinho and Maradona in the lobby of an awards ceremony, but the player has been dynamite for some time.
The advanced stats, for what they’re worth, aren’t incredibly kind to Dembele aside from his club-best 93 percent passing percentage and average of 2.2 successful dribbles per game. Still, it’s improbably hard to ignore the eye test, and Dembele passes that one every time.
Spurs are off to Selhurst Park for a Sunday match with Palace (Watch live at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Surely it was supposed to go a bit better than this: West Ham has moved center back Jose Fonte to the Chinese Super League.
Fonte, 34, is the latest member of Dalian Yifang, the Irons announced Friday. Reports say it’s a move for about $7 million.
[ MORE: Europa League draw ]
It ends an unexceptional 12 months for the center back, who made just 24 appearances for West Ham after engineering a move away from Southampton.
Fonte was publicly criticized by West Ham’s co-owner David Sullivan earlier this season as Sullivan said his children “begged him” not to sign Fonte and Robert Snodgrass last January. Ouch.
Injured for much of this season, Fonte was one of the Saints’ heroes as the club moved from the disappointment of League One to the Europa League.
Those heroics inspired this longform piece from Joe Prince-Wright.
Week 28 of the Premier League season is here and the main talking points are the battle for the top four and the ever-changing relegation situation.
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Remember: due to the League Cup final on Sunday, finalists Arsenal will host Manchester City on Thursday, Mar. 1 as they were also scheduled to play in the PL this weekend. That worked out smoothly.
The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.
Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.
[ STREAM: Premier League live here ]
You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.
[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ]
If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.
Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.
FULL TV SCHEDULE
7:30 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Stoke City – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Ham – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Bournemouth vs. Newcastle United – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Brighton vs. Swansea City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Brom vs. Huddersfield Town – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Watford vs. Everton – NBC [STREAM]
7 a.m. ET: Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur – NBCSN [STREAM]
9:05 a.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM]