Premier League Roundup: Man City, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Stoke and Norwich win

1 Comment

It was another Saturday full of close clashes in the Premier League, as once again we didn’t see many goal but fans across the Premier League were put through the mill in the six games so far.

In the early kickoff where Hull surprised everyone at Man City to late drama at Upton Park and St. James’ Park and relief around Selhurst Park in South London, there were so many close games in Week 3 of the Premier League.

We covered them all at ProSoccerTalk, so here are the recaps with plenty more reaction to come. And here are the Premier League standings.

Cardiff 0-0 Everton

A tough encounter at the Cardiff City Stadium as the Bluebirds dug in to see out a 0-0 draw against a frustrated looking Everton side. Roberto Martinez’ men could have had two penalties in the first half and were stopped by David Marshall in Cardiff’s goal. In the second half Craig Bellamy had a good chance for Cardiff but Everton will be disappointed they didn’t push on more late in the game.

Crystal Palace 3-1 Sunderland

The Eagles have finally landed in the Premier League after a terrific second half display against Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland sealed the win. The pivotal moment came as John O’Shea was sent off and Crystal Palace were awarded a penalty in the 75th minute, as Dwight Gayle was tripped then picked himself up to score the spot kick. A wonderful evening at Selhurst Park… but not if you’re a Sunderland fan.

Man City 2-0 Hull

This was an incredible hard-fought win for Man City at the Etihad. Hull chased and pressed them for the entire game and the Tigers could have been 2-0 up after early chances were spurned by Sone Aluko and Danny Graham. However City’s classed showed in the end as substitute Alvaro Negredo headed home after 65 minutes and Yaya Toure curled in a tremendous free kick in the 90th minute. Hard work from Hull goes unrewarded.

Newcastle 1-0 Fulham

Hatem Ben Arfa was the hero at St. James’ Park as Fulham’s luck ran out in the 86th minute. The Frenchman finished superbly to give Alan Pardew’s side a much needed first win of the season, after the Magpies dominated for most of the game. It looked as though Fulham would walk away from the North East with a point but Martin Jol’s men can’t have many complaints about losing the game. Newcastle are up and running.

Norwich 1-0 Southampton

The Canaries clinched this one thanks to a terrific goal from teenager Nathan Redmond. The 19-year-old winger cut in from the left before smashing a wonderful low strike past Artur Boruc to send Carrow Road wild. Southampton came close as Adam Lallana struck the post with a fierce first half volley, but that was as good as it got. Both teams looked to force the issue in a lively second half but it was the Canaries who took all three points. Another close game, another close outcome.

West Ham 0-1 Stoke

Mark Hughes will be delighted with this win, as his new look Stoke side claimed back-to-back wins following a great performance against the Hammers. Jermaine Pennant’s free kick in the 82nd minute sent the traveling fans from Staffordshire wild, as Stoke prove they’re on the right track. Back to the drawing board for Big Sam and West Ham.

Mourinho: Tactics involved targeting young Benfica backstop

AP Photo/Armando Franca
Leave a comment

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho knew that promising Benfica backstop Mile Svilar would be facing some big nerves.

The 18-year-old was making his UEFA Champions League debut, and Mourinho instructed his Red Devils to challenge the backstop at every turn.

[ RECAP: Benfica 0-1 Man Utd ]

That paid off when Svilar carried Marcus Rashford‘s free kick into the goal, the lone marker of a 1-0 loss that keeps United atop Group A and Benfica three points behind second- and third place.

“I knew how good the goalkeeper was, I told the players that. We had a little bit of a strategy, especially on set-pieces to make him uncomfortable. We put men around him on corners so he cannot come out. He risks a lot, but only top keepers do that. He was unlucky for the goal,” Mourinho said.

Svilar looked dejected after the game, apologizing to fans at the Estadio da Luz and getting consolation from a fellow Belgian in Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku.

Nemanja Matic laid out United’s strategy a bit more, from the BBC:

“The manager said to us to try and shoot and get some crosses towards their goalkeeper because he is young and playing in his first game. This is football and I know he is a great goalkeeper and I wish him well for the future.

“We had control, some difficulties in the first 30 minuets but then we controlled the pitch. We used our experience. We could not find the second goal but did not make any mistakes at the back.”

Rashford limped out of the game, and Mourinho says he initially thought it was cramps. Instead, it’s a problem with his left knee. Simon Peach of the Press Association quotes Mourinho as hoping the injury is not bad.

United completed more than 500 passes, doubling Benfica’s production. Some have been critical of Mourinho’s penchant to play it safe, and he winked at them after the match in calling his tactics “a crime.”

“We were in control, David De Gea did not have one save to make. I never felt we could concede a goal and were solid defensively. Sometime I feel being good defensively is a crime, but that is a way of getting results.”

Chelsea 3-3 Roma – Thrills at the Bridge

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment
  • Luiz, Hazard put Chelsea up 2-0
  • Kolarov, Dzeko brace flip lead
  • Hazard nabs equalizer
  • U.S. U-20 mid Scott on bench for Chelsea

Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea overcame the sacrifice of a 2-0 lead and the Blues drew AS Roma 3-3 at Stamford Bridge in UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday.

David Luiz also scored for Chelsea. Ex-Man City men Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov starred for Roma, with Dzeko scoring twice and Kolarov adding a goal and an assist.

Chelsea has seven points to lead Group C, two more than Roma and five ahead of third-placed Atletico Madrid. The sides will meet again in Rome on Halloween.

[ MORE: Landon Donovan, USSF prez? ]

Luiz started the scoring with a delightful strike. Call it a second bite at the proverbial apple if you must, but then admit he sunk his teeth into it.

Eden Hazard made a darting run to double Chelsea’s lead, but Kolarov pulled Roma within one with a deflected strike past Thibaut Courtois.

Diego Perotti curled a shot that hardly troubled Courtois in the 63rd minute, the Chelsea keeper just leaving his feet collect it.

Dzeko and Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Then the former Man City striker struck again, seeing a long diagonal ball over his shoulder and whizzing a perfect left-footed volley through the flailing arms of Courtois.

Dzeko then made a late move before a Kolarov free kick to lose his mark and nod home a go-ahead goal.

It wasn’t over, as Hazard found his way to space and a cross from Pedro.

The Belgian headed his chance beyond a diving Alisson, and it was 3-3 with 15 minutes to play.

American-English midfielder Kyle Scott did not make his Chelsea bow. The 19-year-old has represented England at the U-16 level and the U.S. at the U-18 and U-20 levels.

Benfica 0-1 Manchester United: Match-winner Rashford injured

AP Photo/Armando Franca
Leave a comment
  • No shots on goal for Benfica
  • United puts four on frame
  • Man Utd out-passes Benfica 522-237.

Marcus Rashford scored the lone goal of the match, then limped off injured in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Benfica in UEFA Champions League action at the Estadio da Luz on Wednesday.

United is close to wrapping up a knockout round berth with the win, leading Basel by three points, CSKA Moscow by six, and Benfica by nine.

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho got his managerial start at Benfica when he replaced now-Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes in 2000.

[ MORE: Landon Donovan, USSF prez? ]

Rashford’s free kick from the left fooled young Benfica backstop Mile Svilar.

The 18-year-old was making his UEFA Champions League debut, and was caught out of goal.

While retreating toward his end line, his two-handed catch carried him and the ball into the goal despite the efforts of his outstretched paws.

Report: Landon Donovan mulling U.S. Soccer presidential run

3 Comments

Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl has been all over the turmoil at United States Soccer since the men’s national team’s embarrassing World Cup qualifying ouster last week.

The latest is that many interested observers are encouraging American legend Landon Donovan to run against Sunil Gulati in February’s presidential election.

[ MORE: JPW sits down with Ederson ]

Donovan retired from playing for a second time in 2016. He’s invested in Premier League club Swansea City and tried his hand at broadcasting as well.

According to Wahl, Donovan issued no comment when asked whether he is seriously considering a run for president. Gulati didn’t confirm that he’d run for a fourth term — the maximum tenure — during his post-World Cup failure conference call, but strongly lauded his credentials for another stint.

Wahl had previously reported that lawyer Steve Gans has the required letters of nomination to run against Gulati.

While Gans would challenge Gulati and perhaps make for interesting debate and a bellwether of the appetite for change amongst the constituency, Donovan’s name would likely be enough to swing some voters regardless.

Without making any judgments about the job Donovan would do, think of it as a big entertainment name like Dwayne Johnson amongst Democrats or Donald Trump amongst Republicans who might upturn eyebrows amongst folks thinking, “Maybe we need something different.” The name value isn’t the same but perhaps it’s less polarizing to compare the runs of Jesse Ventura and Al Franken, or Jack Kemp and Steve Largent instead.

A Donovan run would likely keep U.S Soccer’s cozy relationship with Major League Soccer while perhaps emboldening those who seek big changes within the youth structure (Donovan was part of the U.S. residency program which was recently canceled in a sort of “We did it” nod to academies). His experience is varied and his network exceptional.

Donovan for President? Maybe!