Premier League snapshots: Wigan’s gifts, Liverpool’s rout, Fulham’s slide

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There were six Saturday games in the Premier League, but given the point of the season we’re at, only a couple carried any serious implications.

Here are the quick-hit recaps of today’s matches:

Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United

One liner: A late goal Andy Carroll goal allows the final score to carry the illusion of a close match.

More:

Yaya Touré’s 83rd minute goal:

Up until then, City had controlled a one-goal game, leaving West Ham one moment of against-the-run-of-play pragmatism from getting a result at Eastlands. After the goal, the game was over.

Implications: Neither team has much to play for, so aside from bragging rights, this game meant nothing. City remains focused on next month’s FA Cup final against Wigan.

Everton 1-0 Fulham

One liner: Fulham have been terrible.

More: Obviously, Steven Pienaar’s half-volley was all Everton needed, but this match may as well have ended in the 16th minute. While the Toffees pressed for a second, it was energy wasted. Fulham never put a shot on Tim Howard.

The Cottagers have one point in their last four games, matching their goal total over the same haul.

Implications: Everton maintains their distance on seventh-place Liverpool while Fulham, still 11th in the league, start to amass doubts.

Southampton 0-3 West Bromwich Albion

One liner: The Mauricio Pochettino bounce: Dead.

More: The game had as many red cards as goals, with Gaston Ramirez, Marc-Antoine Fortuné, and Daniel Fox all sent off. Ramirez was sent off in the 70th minute after an elbow to Shane Long, to which Fortuné responded by slapping Ramirez. Fox was sent off for a tackle on Steven Reid.

By that point, West Brom had all their goals. Fortuné opened the scoring in the sixth minute then set up Romelu Lukaku in the 67th. Lukaku did the providing for Long in the 77th.

Stoke City 1-0 Norwich City

One liner: Surprise, there was a goal (and it was Charlie Adam)!

More: Both these teams, already among the worst attacks in England, started with five midfielders. Granted, with Jon Walters and Kei Kamara, both teams could easily change, but neither alignment exactly screamed, “We’re going for this one!”

Just after halftime, Charlie Adam met  a Peter Crouch knockdown, beat Mark Bunn, and converted one of the matches three shots on goal (all from Stoke City).

Implications: Two weeks ago, this looked like it would have relegation implications, and while Norwich only has 38 points (Stoke has 40), it’s unlikely either team is in real danger. So, no implications other than the match having mercifully expired.

Wigan 2-2 Tottenham

One liner: Wigan run out of ways to give Spurs goals, can’t give away the last point.

More: We covered it here.

Implications: For Wigan, this is another match like the one two weeks ago at Manchester City – a chance at full points that slipped through their finders. For Spurs, you could say the same. They need Chelsea or Arsenal to start stumbling (something that will happen if Spurs win at Stamford Bridge on May 8).

Newcastle 0-6 Liverpool

One liner: Skeleton in hooded robe extends finger toward Alan Pardew.

More: Relive the onslaught.

Implications: Liverpool’s playing for nothing, but it’s encouraging to see them perform so well without Luis Suárez. For Newcastle, they still can’t be certain they’re clear of a relegation fight. And they can’t be certain their manager will be around to see them though it.

Pulisic: Dortmund can win the league

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Christian Pulisic isn’t short on confidence these days.

The rising star for the U.S. Men’s National Team is currently in preseason training with Borussia Dortmund, and he believes his side can push Bayern Munich for the title. Bayern has won five-straight league titles, but the last team other than Munich to win was Dortmund itself in 2012.

“We’ve got a big chance to win the league this coming season,” Pulisic said, via German publication Kicker.

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Pulisic has been firing on all cylinders so far in preseason. During Dortmund’s tour of China, Pulisic had three assists in a 3-1 win over AC Milan, and he also started and went the full 90 against Bochum on July 22 back in Germany.

The 18-year-old is coming off a breakout season for the Black and Yellows, scoring five goals with 13 assists over 43 games between the Bundesliga, German Cup and UEFA Champions League.

“Last season was a good step in my development,” Pulisic said, noting he wants to be “more dangerous” in the attack. “I want to build on that.”

Of course, Pulisic followed the U.S. Men’s National Team at the Gold Cup, taking the title for the sixth time. In less than a year’s time, Pulisic will likely be on the field, starting for the U.S. at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with the hopes and dreams of many Americans on his shoulders.

“(It was) a good victory,” Pulisic said of the final.

Transfer Rumor Wrap: Bale’s agent laughs off speculation

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It appears Gareth Bale has no plans of following Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez out of Real Madrid this summer.

“It’s a ridiculous, stupid story,” Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett told the BBC, following reports that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane wouldn’t promise Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo that they’d staying with the club this summer.

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Of course, these prompted counter reports that Manchester United could take advantage of possible instability at the Santiago Bernabeu and swoop in for Bale, but it seems that Bale is not for sale.

Bale played just 27 times for Real Madrid last season in all competitions, scoring nine goals with three assists while dealing with multiple injuries. His entire career at Real Madrid in fact has been plagued by injury, but ahead of a World Cup year with Wales still in contention for a spot in Russia, Bale will be extra motivated to stay fit this season.

Here’s some more transfer rumors from around the world:

(more…)

Neymar storms off after training dustup with teammate

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Neymar just won’t stay out of the headlines.

As his long-rumored “will he, won’t he go” transfer saga between Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona continues, Neymar stormed out of training on Thursday after getting into a tussle with teammate Nelson Semedo.

A video from the Daily Mail shows Neymar pushing Semedo before walking off and removing his training bib.

Neymar has reportedly agreed to personal terms with PSG over a move to France, but PSG have yet to come up with the nearly $260 million it would cost to trigger Neymar’s release clause. The news of Neymar possibly leaving Barcelona came as a shock, as he’s been content since joining the club to play slightly in the shadow of teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

If this fight is any indication, Neymar’s head could be turned and should PSG trigger the release clause, Neymar could be heading to Paris once Barcelona returns this weekend from its American sojourn.

In spite of all the transfer speculation, Neymar has dazzled for Barcelona on its tour of the U.S., scoring three goals in two games and delighting the thousands in attendance.

Australian women beat US 1-0 in Tournament of Nations

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SEATTLE (AP) Tameka Butt scored in the 67th minute and Australia beat the United States for the first time in the 28-game series, 1-0 in the Tournament of Nations on Thursday night.

The Matildas also snapped the Americans’ four-game winning streak.

Just moments after Butt’s goal got past goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, Carli Lloyd blasted a cross from Megan Rapinoe at Australia goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who made a fantastic save. Lloyd had another chance that sailed just over the net.

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Japan and Brazil played to a 1-1 draw in the tournament’s opening game in the afternoon at CenturyLink Field.

Each of the four teams in the tournament is in the top 10 of the FIFA rankings. The top-ranked United States went into the game with a 25-0-2 record over the seventh-ranked Matildas.

Rapinoe, who plays for the NWSL’s Seattle Reign, had a good chance early on in the game but the Americans were unable to break through. Rapinoe has 12 goals to lead the NWSL in scoring this season.

The Matildas have been on the rise of the past several years, with quarterfinal appearances in both the 2015 World Cup and the Olympics last year.

Following the stop in Seattle, the tournament shifts to San Diego on Sunday before wrapping up in Carson, California, on Aug. 3.

U.S. Soccer is looking to host a Tournament of Nations each summer that there isn’t World Cup or Olympic competition.