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Manchester United 1-2 West Bromwich Albion: Spotty defending costs United dearly at home (video)

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A cracking second half saw Manchester United saddled with their second-straight loss in the Premier League and left David Moyes shaking his head at their inability to deal with an opponent they quite frankly shouldn’t have an issue with at home.

Early on Scott Sinclair went down injured and was replaced by Sado Berahino.  More on that later. A major chance came in the 24th minute for the home side, as Nani sent in a slicing free kick from long range, and Wayne Rooney caught a head on it with power but it was right at Boaz Myhill.

Jonas Olsson, in a somewhat harmless header challenge, got a big cut over his eye which covered his shirt in blood and sent him off the pitch for a bit, but he returned with a massive wrap over his forehead.

In the 34th minute, United produced a dangerous counter, and Kagawa found Anderson who thundered the crossbar with his header.  It didn’t matter because the flag went up for some reason, even though replays showed Anderson was clearly onside.

United continued to absorb and play on the counter, and Kagawa himself got a few good looks at goal as the first half went on.

The second half brought fans what they were searching for, as the game was brought to life.

source: Getty ImagesIt was Amalfitano first who gave West Brom the lead in the 54th minute. He received the ball in his own half and a wonderful run saw him embarrass Rio Ferdinand and deke De Gea, leaving the keeper in a heap on the ground and letting the Frenchman touch the ball home.

Rooney was there for United though.  His free kick from a tight angle came rocketing into the box. Two Red Devils whiffed at a redirect touch, but it wasn’t needed as the ball found the corner pocket anyways to level.

West Brom continued searching for another lead, and it was a young substitute who gave it to them in the 67th minute.  Stephane Sessegnon sliced a wonderful ball into the box for Amalfitano, who cut back to 20-year-old Sado Berahino for a thundering low finish past De Gea and a 2-1 lead.

The game settled down from there, until United believed they had another equalizer by substitute Marouane Fellaini until they saw the linesman’s flag was up.

It was all she wrote for Manchester United, as they went relatively meekly the rest of the match and sent David Moyes home with their first-ever loss to West Brom in the league, and more importantly Manchester United’s worst start in the top-flight in 24 years.

Goals:

Manchester United – Rooney 57′
West Brom – Amalfitano 54′, Berahino, 67′

Lineups:

Manchester United – De Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Buttner; Anderson (Fellaini 68′), Carrick; Kagawa (Januzaj, 45′), Rooney, Nani; Hernandez (van Persie, 58′).

West Bromwich Albion – Myhill; Olsson, Ridgewell, McAuley, Jones; Yacob, Mulumbu, Sinclair (Berahino, 13′), Amalfitano, Sessegnon (Rosenberg, 90′); Anichebe (Lugano, 85′).

Watch Live: Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Lineups and Live Stream)

AP Photo/Tim Ireland
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Tottenham Hotspur’s thin hopes of winning the Premier League demand all three points from its visit to Chelsea on Monday (Watch live on NBCSN at 3 p.m. ET and online via Live Extra).

Spurs are eight points behind Leicester City, and a loss or draw makes the Foxes the 2015-16 champions.

[ MORE: Burnley clinches promotion to the Premier League ]

Reigning champion Chelsea, in an odd twist, can play the spoiler for either its London neighbors or the fairytale Foxes.

 

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Begovic; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Pedro; Diego CostaSubs: Amelia, Baba, Loftus-Cheek, Kenedy, Oscar, Hazard, Traore.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (c), Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Dembele; Lamela, Eriksen, Son; Kane. Subs: Vorm, Davies, Wimmer, Carroll, Chadli, Mason, Clinton.

“It’s magic” — Goal hero Vokes hails Burnley’s Premier League return

BURNLEY, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 02:  Sam Vokes of Burnley (obscured) scores their first goal past goalkeeper Matt Ingram of QPR during the Sky Bet Championship match between Burnley and Queens Park Rangers at Turf Moor on May 2, 2016 in Burnley, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
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Sam Vokes‘ 61st minute header has Burnley back in the Premier League at the first time of asking, and there’s only one way to describe it.

Magic.

[ MORE: Bobby Wood to Hamburg for $4 million? ]

Burnley clinched automatic promotion thanks to its 1-0 win over QPR and Brighton’s draw earlier in the day. With Brighton facing Middlesbrough this weekend, only one could pass Burnley in points.

Take away the math, though, and Burnley is flying off the emotion of the 1-0 win.

From the BBC:

“It’s magic, it’s a great feeling. You could feel the anticipation around the place when we kicked off. We knew what we had to do after the Brighton result earlier. Magic scenes here today. Getting that goal sparked relief around the place. I missed a lot of the Premier League last season but hopefully I’ll get another chance next season.”

And here’s Sean Dyche, classically stoic in the face of extreme emotion:

“That was well off our performance level but the result was all that mattered today. The resilience, belief and character got us through. You can’t be brilliant every week, we don’t think we’re the real deal, but we’re a real group that sticks together.”

If you don’t know much about Burnley, we suggest Joe Posnanski’s SportsWorld piece from last season’s Premier League campaign.

Congrats to the Clarets.

Burnley clinches automatic promotion to the Premier League

PRESTON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 22:  Andre Gray of Burnley holds up one finger to indicate the score to opposing supporters as he is substituted during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Burnley at Deepdale on April 22, 2016 in Preston, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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One claret and blue team has been relegated from the Premier League, but another is taking its place.

Sam Vokes did not score in 15 Premier League appearances last year with Burnley, but his goal on Monday boosted the Clarets back into England’s top flight.

[ MORE: Bobby Wood to Hamburg for $4 million? ]

Vokes, 26, headed home in the second half to give Burnley a 1-0 lead over Queens Park Rangers, and the Clarets held on to make sure their absence from the Premier League was a mere season long.

The win gives Burnley 90 points with one match to play. With Middlesbrough and Brighton & Hove Albion sitting on 88 points and playing each other on the final day of the season, only one winner can pass the Clarets.

Report: USMNT striker Wood would cost Hamburger around $4 million

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 29:  Bobby Wood #7 of the United States Men's National Team controls the ball against Guatemala during the FIFA 2018  World Cup qualifier on March 29, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The United States defeated Guatemala 4-0.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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There seems to be growing interest in USMNT striker Bobby Wood, who is having a sensational season for Union Berlin in 2.Bundesliga.

Linked with Liverpool in March, Wood is now said to be desired by Hamburg in Germany’s top flight.

[ MORE: Klinsmann calls up 40 for Copa America camp ]

Hamburg’s strike corps consists of young target forward Pierre-Michel Lasogga, ‘Gladbach loanee Josip Drmic and veteran Ivica Olic.

Bild.de says the fee is around $4 million, but that the club has yet to begin discussing terms with Union.

Wood has 17 goals and 3 assists in league play this season, and has also become a mainstay with the U.S. team under Jurgen Klinsmann.

[ MORE: Timbers striker wanted by Palace, St. Etienne ]

Union Berlin is sixth in 2.Bundesliga, while Hamburg is 11th in Bundesliga.

Fellow USMNT striker Aron Johannsson has faced a long injury lay-off with Werder Bremen, while a similar situation has faced Terrence Boyd. The latter is with Red Bull Leipzig and is set for a promotion to the Bundesliga barring extreme unlikelihood over the final few weeks.