Lineups and discussion: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Swansea City

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While news surrounding Spurs’ season continues to be dominated by Gareth Bale’s inevitable departure, the team is actually playing games. And with today’s visit from Swansea, both teams’ second match of the season, Tottenham has a chance at a six-point start, something that would place them no lower than fifth come the end of round two.

Of course, Bale won’t be in the team today, the Welsh international still nursing an ankle injury that’s kept him from playing for the better part of a month. His absence was felt last week, with Spurs unable to score from open play in their 1-0 win at newly promoted Crystal Palace. Though Tottenham kept 58 percent of the ball, they were only able to put three shots on target, the same as their hosts.

It will be up to Roberto Soldado, last week’s goal scorer, to change that. Likewise, Nacer Chadli and Andros Townsend, starting in place of the injured Aaron Lennon, will have to find a way to carry over some of the team’s Europa League form, with Spurs having won 5-0 at Dinamo Tiblisi mid-week. Etienne Capoue, who like Townsend was brought into the team in Georgia, maintains his place in the starting XI, with Gylfi Sigurdsson dropped from the team that faced Palace.

Swansea, who’ve lost their last three meetings with Tottenham, are coming off a 4-1 loss to Manchester United in their home opener, a match where clinical finishing from Robin van Persie and failings in Swans’ defense doomed Michael Laudrup’s side to a disappointing start. Like Spurs, though, Swansea moved on from their first week problems in Europa League, posting a 5-1 win over Petrolul Ploiesti on Thursday.

Laudrup’s made two changes to the team that faced Manchester United last Saturday. In midfield, Jonathan de Guzman comes in for Leon Britton at the base of midfield while Pablo Hernandez is in for Nathan Dyer on the wing. That means Ivorian attacker Wilfried Bony, the team’s much-hyped summer signing from Vitesse, won’t get his first Premier League start despite scoring on his debut.

If you’re not near NBCSN for the 11:00 a.m. Eastern kickoff, head over to NBC Sports Live Extra to check out streaming options for this as well as the league’s other 11:00 a.m. kickoff: Cardiff City vs. Manchester City.

Starting Lineups

Tottenham: Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose; Etienne Capoue, Moussa Dembele, Paulinho; Andros Townsend, Roberto Soldado, Nacir Chadli.

Swansea: Michael Vorm; Angel Rangel, Chico Flores, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies; José Cañas; Jonathan de Guzman; Wayne Routledge, Jonjo Shelvey; Pablo Hernandez; Michu.

 

Soccer world reacts to the Manchester attacks

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NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Report: Jermain Defoe meeting with Bournemouth

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Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.

Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.

[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]

The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.

Chelsea’s Conte wins pair of top managerial honors

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Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.

The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.

The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.

In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.