A quick look back at why Fulham FC has long been known as “Fulhamerica”

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During the 2012-13 Premier League Season, Stoke City looked to be wrestling the title of “America’s Premier League” team away from Craven Cottage.

The balances could tip back to Fulham now that Shahid Khan, Pakistani by birth but owner of the very-American Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League, has assumed control of the little West London team on the Thames.

Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu and Brek Shea remain at the Britannia for Stoke City, while Fulham is fresh out of Americans. (On the senior team at least. Don’t forget, Emerson Hyndman, grandson of FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman, is a valued midfielder in Fulham’s youth development system.)

But Stoke has some catching up in order to match the historic rate of import of American who have come and gone at Craven Cottage. The quick rundown:

  • Marcus Hahnemann, 1999-02: Coming over from the Colorado Rapids, Hahnemann played just two matches in goal for Fulham. But the time there did help create a career in England, one spent mostly in the land’s second  tier.
  • Eddie Lewis, 2000-02: Playing time was similarly sparse for the midfielder, although he did see action a little more frequently over the first two seasons, before Fulham gained promotion into England’s top tier.
  • Carlos Bocanegra, 2004-2008: Playing at center back and left back, Bocanegra was the first American to truly establish himself as a Craven Cottage fixture, playing 116 games there over four seasons.
  • Brian McBride, 2004-2008: The same time Bocanegra was patrolling the back, Brian McBride was ensconcing himself as a legend up front. So beloved was the man who hit 33 times for Fulham over four seasons that they later named a lounge at the ground after him.
  • Kasey Keller, 2007-2008: Unlike the others, Keller was an established figure in European soccer when he arrived into West London. The longtime U.S. international took over as starter from the injured Antti Niemi, but was soon injured himself and eventually spent just one season at Fulham.
  • Clint Dempsey, 2007 – 2012: Clearly the star of the “Fulhamerica” show.  “Deuce” punctuated five highly successful seasons at Fulham with that amazing campaign of 2011-12, after which he finished fourth in FWA Footballer of the Year balloting behind Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes.
  • Eddie Johnson, 2008-2009: Johnson never quite caught on, playing out his original contract on a series of loans spells to three other clubs.

Pochettino: Dembele “next to Ronaldinho, Maradona”

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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).

Fonte leaves West Ham after one year (for Dalian Yifang)

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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.

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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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.

MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

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

Saturday
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]

Sunday
7 a.m. ET: Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur – NBCSN [STREAM]
9:05 a.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM

Pep sticking with Bravo for final: “Locker room more important”

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Petr Cech and Ederson will watch from the bench as their clubs start the League Cup Final on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola announced that Manchester City will turn to Claudio Bravo between the sticks against Arsenal, which has already appointed David Ospina as its backstop for the final.

[ MORE: Europa League draw ]

And if you think Pep, having seen his side lose to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, should go back to Ederson for the final, he gets it.

“You can have an opinion, I am the manager. We are here for Claudio. He saved two lots of penalties. He deserves to play in the final. The locker room is more important than the final.”

The points aren’t completely independent, of course, but at this point the final is pretty darn important as Man City could see its trophy potential drop from 4-2 in little more than a week’s time.

Bravo has played just 45 minutes in the Premier League, against Liverpool in relief of Ederson, but has been the man for each of eight League and FA Cup matches.

City has just one clean sheet in that group, but won the seven matches apart from the 1-0 Wigan defeat. Two of those, against Wolves and Leicester, came in penalty kicks.