Premier League Roundup: Both clubs from Manchester fall, Arsenal assumes two-point lead atop the table (video)

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There was history making stuff on Saturday as the bulk of Round 6 played out across England. And those tables … they are looking a bit wacky today, with Southampton ahead of Manchester City and well ahead of mighty Manchester United!

Here’s the full recap of Saturday’s PL matches, with video highlights of each:

Swansea 1-2 Arsenal – Recap

Wasn’t it just one month ago with the pitchfork-and-lantern crowd were at Arsene Wenger’s North London door? It has all turned so Gunners golden, as Arsenal’s 15 points matches the club’s best start since 2007-08. (They earned 16 points from their first six contests that year.) The Gunners are top of the PL table now after goals by Serge Gnabry and Aaron Ramsey at the Liberty Stadium.

Hull City 1-0 West Ham United – Recap

The big talkers of the day were those two glamour sides from Manchester falling. But we should save a few excited words for little Hull City, too! How about those Tigers, a newly promoted side now sitting (almost regally) in seventh after Saturday’s win over West Ham. Yes, these newly promoted sides have a way of starting fast and then slipping slowly through the year. But never mind that for now, because three wins in six matches is worthy achievement, indeed.

Fulham 1-2 Cardiff City — Recap

How about Cardiff, with its first win away from home in England’s top flight since 1961! Meanwhile, the shot of beleaguered Martin Jol on Fulham’s bench tells the story of this one, a big three points at Craven Cottage for the team from Wales. What will come of Jol this week?

Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea – Recap

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has not always had the kindest words for midfielder Juan Mata this year. But the Spanish midfielder has responded just as a good pro should, raising his game recently. And Mata was certainly the difference in Saturday’s London derby. Mourinho got his second half tactics right as the Blues split the points with Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Manchester United 1-2 West Bromich Albion – Recap

It was elation for West Brom (first win at historic Old Trafford since 1978, back before most of the players were even born) and more grim news for Manchester United and first-year manager David Moyes. This is the worst start for a league campaign around Old Trafford since the 1989-90 season. Coming off last week’s 4-1 hammering by the local rivals, the heat on Moyes must be absolutely intense.

Southampton 2-0 Crystal Palace – Recap

It may not have been the prettiest of matches, but Dani Osvaldo and Rickie Lambert hit for Southampton, and look who is suddenly in fourth place! If the Champions League places were chosen today … well, never mind. It’s a bit early for all that. Still, another big day for Southampton’s excellent defense (just two goals conceded) and more woe for Crystal Palace, just one spot off the bottom.

Aston Villa 3-2 Manchester City – Recap

It must have been difficult for City to come back to Earth after last week’s ginormous 4-1 win over rival Manchester United. But credit to Villa for a big second half performance, especially from Dutch midfielder Leandro Bacuna (who scored on a free kick) and to Andreas Weimann, who raced past the visitor’s clunky defense to poke in the game-winner. Said Weimann: “Scoring the winner against Man City, you don’t do that every day. It is incredible!”

Reports: Liverpool reject latest Barcelona offer for Coutinho

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Barcelona has reportedly upped its offer for the services of Philippe Coutinho. But the response from Liverpool has remained the same.

According to multiple reports, Liverpool has rejected a third Barcelona offer for Coutinho, believed to be worth up to $151.5 million. Coutinho put in a transfer request a week ago but Liverpool has remained firm on its desire to keep Coutinho for this season. Liverpool has not yet publicly commented on Barcelona’s latest transfer bid.

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Coutinho meanwhile is still off the field for Liverpool due to a back injury, the club states.

“Phil is not available; he is not training so far, so there is nothing new,” manager Jurgen Klopp told reporters. “It is always how it is with injured players, there is no real time on when he is back.”

The Brazilian midfielder signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool just last January and the deal doesn’t have a buy-out clause. But should Liverpool accept a new bid for Coutinho, he’d become the second-most expensive transfer behind fellow Brazilian Neymar.

It’s unclear whether Barcelona will shift focus to other targets such as Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele or Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann as a replacement for Neymar.

Conte can’t stop laughing when asked about Costa

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was asked for his thoughts on Diego Costa‘s latest comments on the club-player impasse. When he heard a reporter say Costa felt he was being treated like a criminal, Conte lost his composure and began laughing.

Conte spent a good 20 seconds giggling during the question before responding, saying “I can tell you that everyone who was in Chelsea knows what happened last season with Diego.

“I’m not interested to continue this issue.”

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Diego Costa has held out from Chelsea training to stay in his native Brazil after being told to train with the reserves ahead of the 2017-2018 Premier League season. Costa has made clear his desire to leave Chelsea for a return to Atletico Madrid, but Costa claims that Chelsea are asking for an absurd transfer fee, which prices Atleti out of the market.

[ Costa: Chelsea “won’t decide my fate”]

It’s unclear as to what’s next in the transfer saga, but it’s looking more and more likely that it will come down to the final hours of the transfer window. Complicating matters is that Costa’s preferred destination, Atletico Madrid, is banned from signing players during this transfer window and can’t add new pieces until January.

Transfer Rumor Wrap: Tottenham set to make Ajax’s Sanchez its record signing

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Tottenham look set to break the bank on one of the world’s most exciting defensive prospects.

According to a report in the Guardian, Tottenham and Ajax have agreed on a $54.1 million transfer fee for centerback Davinson Sanchez. The Colombian international only joined Ajax a year ago but led the backline to the Europa League final, where Ajax fell to Manchester United.

Spurs officials reportedly traveled to Amsterdam earlier this week to sort out a deal to bring Sanchez back to London. It’s believed to be a $36 million transfer with add-on clauses worth around $18 million.

Sanchez will add more speed and strength to one of the Premier League’s best backlines, giving Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen a partner to play with in a back three.

Here’s some more news from around the Premier League:

(more…)

Costa: Chelsea “won’t decide my fate”

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As each day passes, the impasse between Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and Diego Costa grows.

Costa is continuing to holdout from Chelsea after being asked to train with the reserves and has made clear his preference to transfer back to his former club, Atletico Madrid. But in his latest comments to ESPN Brazil, Costa said that Chelsea are asking for a transfer fee that’s well above what Atletico can afford.

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“Chelsea offered me to several clubs,” Costa said. “But I was very clear with them. They said that since I’m not part of the coach’s plans, I want to choose my destiny. For them they have made more money, I will not let them decide my destiny. Even because when I came to Chelsea they paid well below the proposal that is coming now. I think they have to be aware and see everything I’ve done.”

It’s easy to feel sympathetic for Costa and his situation. He said in the interview that he’s struggled with English and as such, has had to rely on people at the club to take care of a lot of tasks. In Madrid, a country he’s received citizenship from and a city and language he’s comfortable with, he doesn’t have these worries.

But for all the good will he earned, Costa also painted himself in a bad light later in that response to a question about what the deadlock was about with Chelsea.

“It’s not my fault I’m not there,” Costa said. “If it was up to me, I’d be playing. There’s already (been) a month. Holiday is good, but it gets boring. I did not cause this situation. Since this is where the club has to think in two ways. Of course they have to have a payback, as I have given sportily and financially as well. After three years you will receive an amount above what you paid.”

Costa though did provide some insight. It had been believed over the past week or so that Costa would only move to Atletico Madrid, but the Brazilian-born Spanish international forward clarified that statement, saying he’d prefer to go to Atletico but if Atletico can’t afford him or can’t figure out a deal to sign him and get around the club’s transfer ban, he’d be open to going to another European club.

“I have already shown my affection and my interest in playing for Atletico,” Costa said. “But if they, Athletic and Chelsea did not reach an agreement and they [Athletic] do not force a move, I can not be wanting to play in a club that does not want to make a greater effort. I know that this will happen. If it is to pay as much as Chelsea want [the transfer], it is not possible. You must see this. What I know is that the proposal to come will exceed that Chelsea paid when he brought me. And I gave back in every way.”