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.

Championship Focus: Bluebirds flying, Villa second-last

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The wild 46-game slate that is the Football League Championship is already howling, with all 24 teams three matches deep into their campaigns toward Premier League promotion (or avoiding relegation to League One).

The three clubs relegated from the Premier League last season all sit within the Top 8 after three match days. Sunderland is unbeaten with a win and two draws, while Hull City is 1-1-1.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

Middlesbrough has two wins from three matches, three points behind three sides who’ve started a perfect 3-0.

Wolves and Ipswich Town are two of the three, and Cardiff City leads the way. Owner Vincent Tan has seen his club score six goals without conceding once in defeats of Burton Albion, Aston Villa, and Sheffield United.

Burton is 0-3, while Steve Bruce‘s Villa is just one point better and sits 23rd.

As for individual superlatives, Bristol City’s Bobby Reid has four goals to lead the league while familiar names Lewis Grabban (Sunderland) and Abel Hernandez (Hull City) are among a quartet of players to score thrice.

Meanwhile, PL transfer target Jota of Brentford continues to impress with three assists through three matches. Will he remain in the second tier by the close of the transfer window?

MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 3-0 Chicago Fire

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The game in 100 words (or less)Ignacio Piatti is very good at soccer, and Chicago backstop Matt Lampson is going to see him deep into his dreams. Piatti beat Lampson up close on a turnover and then, with Montreal ahead 2-0 off a PK, the Argentine curled a surprise shot from distance around the keeper. Game, set, match, and it wasn’t even halftime. The loss keeps Chicago from using its match-in-hand to catch second place New York City FC, while the three points move Montreal to within two points of the East’s final playoff position.

Three moments that mattered

6′ — Piatti starts the party — Gifted a chance with the keeper by a sloppy missed clearing attempt, the Argentine deftly pops the ball over Fire keeper Matt Lampson.

36′ — Lampson hurts his cause — Chicago’s backstop wasn’t at fault on the opening goal, but he was for the second. After chopping down Matteo Mancosu in the box, Lampson guessed wrong on the striker’s penalty kick and the Fire went down 2-0.

38′ — It’s not your night, Lamps — Pretty sure you can anyone named Lampson, Lamps. Anyway, this time it was one of MLS’ top newcomers who set up Piatti for a goal. “Nacho” has his 12th of the season thanks to Blerim Dzemaili, and my goodness did Piatti do well here.

Man of the Match: Piatti.

Forbes ranks the top supporters in Major League Soccer

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Forbes claims the shared honor will give two Cascadia Cup rivals one less thing to argue about, but we completely disagree.

The celebrated magazine says their metrics show the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders tied for the honor of who has the best fans in Major League Soccer.

The post says the determination was made through four factors: attendance, local TV ratings, merchandise sales, and social media followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Attendance was weighted heaviest, which certainly gives Atlanta United hope to go charging up the rankings in the future. For now, the “Five Stripes” are not included in the list.

The Galaxy finish third in the rankings, while the sixth-place New York Red Bulls edge New York City FC by one spot.

For the report and full explanation, head here.

Europa League preview: Everton, Milan, Marseille take next steps

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The UEFA Europa League playoff round takes full flight Thursday, a day after Utrecht struck a blow for the Eredivisie with a 1-0 win over Zenit Saint-Petersburg in a Wednesday first leg.

Premier League participants Everton will be seeking a result at home against Hajduk Split, the third-place team from Croatia’s top flight.

Gylfi Sigurdsson passed his medical at Goodison Park but will not be available for Everton on Thursday.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

As for the match, manager Ronald Koeman knows the Thursday matchdays for the UEL will try his club’s endurance and depth. From EvertonFC.com:

“We know English teams have some problems. I think it is more mental than physical because if you play in the Champions League – so Wednesday and Saturday – you have the same amount of days to recover. I try to put out the strongest team to start the game. That will take into account the tactical aspects of each game. That will mean different players start and different options in terms of substitutions.”

Captained by Zoran Nizic and managed by Joan Carrillo, Hajduk has a young star in the making in the form of 19-year-old attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic, but Everton is heavily favored at home with Hajduk given 12:1 odds by bookmakers.

[ MORE: Barca GM says Coutinho, Dembele “close” ]

Those numbers are a relative sure thing compared to AC Milan’s visitors. Macedonia club Shkendija are a 33:1 underdog for its trip to Italy.

Elsewhere, Slovenian side Domzale is a longshot at home to visiting Marseille.

Speaking of bookmakers, Arsenal won’t enter the competition until the group stage but is considered the favorite to win the UEL by a hair over Milan. Everton, Villarreal, and Athletic Bilbao are level with third-best odds.

UEFA Europa League playoff first legs
Utrecht 1-0 Zenit — Weds.
BATE Borisov vs. Oleksandriya — 1 p.m. ET Thursday
Apollon Limassol vs. Midtjylland — 1 p.m.
Krasnodar vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m.
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Skenderbeu — 1 p.m.
FH vs. Braga — 1:45 p.m. ET Thursday
PAOK vs. Ostersund — 2 p.m. ET Thursday
Vardar vs. Fenerbahce — 2 p.m.
Plzen vs. AEK Lamaca — 2:15 p.m. ET Thursday
Altach vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Suduva — 2:30 p.m.
Panathinaikos vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:30 p.m.
Domzale vs. Marseille — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Osijek vs. Austria Wien — 2:45 p.m.
Viitorul vs. Red Bull Salzburg — 2:45 p.m.
Ajax vs. Rosenborg — 2:45 p.m.
Legia Warsaw vs. Sheriff — 2:45 p.m.
AC Milan vs. Shkendija — 2:45 p.m.
Club Brugge vs. AEK — 2:45 p.m.
Partizan vs. Videoton — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Everton vs. Hajduk Split — 3:05 p.m. ET Thursday
Maritimo vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:30 p.m. ET Thursday