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Premier League Sunday Preview: Chelsea host Man City, Sunderland, Newcastle clash in derby

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There are four massive Premier League games coming up on Sunday, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Here’s a quick preview of what to look out for as the ‘Clash of the Cash’ takes place between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, and there’s the small matter of a huge Tyne-Wear derby up in the Northeast at the Stadium of Light.

Whatever game you decide to watch, NBC Sports has got you covered on NBCSN, Premier League Extratime or you can watch it all live online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

9:30am EST: Sunderland vs. Newcastle *NBCSN

The Magpies and Mackems square off with both sides desperate to record a win, especially the home team. New Sunderland manager Gus Poyet saw his men lose 4-0 at Swansea on his debut, and the Black Cats have lost seven and drawn one of their eight PL games so far. Can the passion and pride of a derby get Sunderland going this season? They hammered Newcastle 3-0 at St. James’ Park last season, so revenge is on the minds of Newcastle’s fans. Make sure you don’t miss this blood and thunder affair.

12:00pm EST: Chelsea vs. Manchester City *NBCSN

Two title contenders clash in West London, as Chelsea and Manchester City are clambouring to make up ground on Arsenal at the top of the table. Jose Mourinho’s Blues are ominously clicking through the gears, as the ‘Special One’ finally gets his best team out on the pitch and stamps his authority on the Londoners. Man City are doing the same under Manuel Pellegrini, and after winning two away games in the last seven days, can City make it three? USMNT ‘keeper Tim Howard will provide commentary for the game, the first-active PL player to do so for NBC.

source: Getty Images
Can Jozy Altidore and Sunderland get their first win of the season?

12:00pm EST: Tottenham vs. Hull City *Premier League Extra Time

Spurs return from Europa League action in Moldova on Thursday aiming to keep up with the chasing pack in the PL. Hull are missing four key players for the trip to White Hart Lane, as ‘keeper Allan McGregor, Danny Graham, Sone Aluko and Robbie Brady look to be out. Tottenham will bring back Kyle Walker, Paulinho and Andros Townsend as they aim to continue their splendid start to the season, with Hull hoping to cause an upset after their great start.

12:00pm EST: Swansea City vs. West Ham *Premier League Extra Time

The Swans gave up a late goal in Europa League action on Thursday to draw, but following their thumping 4-0 win over Sunderland last week things are back on track in the league. It’s been a real mixed bag so far for Michael Laudrup’s men and the same can be said for West Ham, who beat Spurs 3-0 away but were then hammered at Upton Park by Man City last week. Hard to predict, so definitely a game to watch out for.

Crew SC announce MLS Cup 2015 sold out 15 hours after qualifying

Wil Trapp, Columbus Crew SC
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The building formerly known as Crew Stadium has hosted its fair share of famous soccer games since it opened in 1999 — dos a cero, anyone? — and Sunday’s MLS Cup 2015 looks set to rank right up there among them.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Roughly 15 hours after advancing to this year’s MLS Cup, which they will host this Sunday (4 p.m. ET), Columbus Crew SC announced on Monday that MAPFRE Stadium is officially sold out.

Crew SC president of business operations Andy Loughnane addressed the fanbase in a blog post on the club’s official site Monday afternoon and said, “As of late this morning we are sold out of the extra capacity seating that was created for MLS Cup at MAPFRE Stadium. While there is a small chance that additional seats could be released for purchase as a result of MLS holds being returned, we are sold out of all known available seats.”

[ MORE: Beckham group abandons yet another stadium plan, site in Miami ]

Crew SC, making their second MLS Cup appearance in club history (2008 champions), will host first-time MLS Cup contestants, the Portland Timbers, on Sunday.

PL clubs combined to pay out $200 million in agent fees in 2015

Liverpool Unveil New Signing Christian Benteke
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What a time to be an agent in the footballing world, eh? The rich just keep getting richer and richer and richer.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

The steady increase in transfer fees being paid for players — bad, good, great and amazing alike — has made quite a few “selling” clubs rich reach over the last decade or two, to be sure, but it’s also made another group of people obscenely rich: player agents.

As the soccer world has gone crazy with its “now, now, now” approach — managers must win now, or they’re fired; new signings must become stars now, or they’ll be sold; etc. — agents are the ones making out like bandits — no losses to be sustained on players who turn out to be flops; no future loss of wages due to taking “too long” to settle in and being labeled a flop — at the expense of clubs and, most cruelly, the players.

More than $195 million was paid out agents by Premier League clubs across the January and summer transfer windows, with Liverpool — ever the club in constant change — paying out $21.5 million in agents fees to remain top of the table for a second straight year. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal were the four other clubs to top $15 million.

[ MORE: Premier League Payback — The Diego Costa era over at Chelsea? ]

Agents not only receive a fee when players change clubs through transfers, but can only be compensated again and again when one of their clients signs a new contract with their current club.

For instance, Wayne Rooney has signed at least four new contracts since joining Manchester United in 2004, the latest of which came barely three years after he was given a new five-year deal in Oct. 2010 upon handing in a transfer request in an attempt to force a move to Manchester City. Rooney’s current weekly wage is reported to be in the neighborhood of $450,000. His agent, Paul Stretford, will have received a sizable payday upon negotiating the deal in Feb. 2014.

At the end of the day, sports are little more than a business, and it’s the ones who play the game — the political game, that is — the best, and most ruthlessly, who are making out like bandits.

Puksas Award finalists: Somehow absent is USWNT’s Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd, USWNT
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FIFA announced on Monday its three-man list of finalists for the 2015 Puskas Award, handed out each year to the player who scored the “most beautiful” goal of the past calendar year.

[ MORE: 2015 Ballon d’Or finalists ]

The three men up for this year’s honor are Alessandro Florenzi (WATCH HERE), Lionel Messi (WATCH HERE) and Wendell Lira (WATCH HERE) — all scorers of fantastically beautiful goals this year.

That means Carli Lloyd, who made the original list of nominees before being whittled down to just three, is shockingly tragically scandalously criminally not a finalist for this year’s award. Reminder: This is the goal we’re talking about.

[ MORE: Timbers reach first MLS Cup | Crew SC to host MLS Cup 2015 ]

So, here’s the case for Lloyd:

  • She scored from midfield
  • She scored the winner from midfield in a World Cup final
  • She scored the winner from midfield in a World Cup final to complete a hat trick
  • She scored the winner from midfield in a World Cup final to complete a hat trick in the 16th minute

How in the world is Carli Lloyd’s midfield goal to complete a 16-minute hat trick and win a World Cup final not a top-three goal of the year? You got some (more) explaining to do, FIFA.

Beckham group abandons latest plans for Miami MLS stadium

David Beckham
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All signs seemed to point toward an all-too-familiar outcome for the David Beckham-led investment group hoping to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to the city of Miami: another failed plan in their bid to build a brand new stadium.

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Earlier this month, newly-joined all-world sports executive Tim Leiweke warned that groups or individuals currently owning the various parcels of land surrounding the Miami Marlins’ baseball stadium, the latest site Miami Beckham United (MBU) had chosen, were making “unrealistic” demands and threatened to derail the project at that location.

Today, it’s been reported across South Florida that the group has altogether abandoned plans to build their stadium at that particular site. Miami city commissioner Francis Suarez confirmed that MBU were “moving in a different direction” — quotes from Local 10 News:

“It’s going to be withdrawn from the next agenda because the Beckham group has not acquired the private properties that are needed to construct the stadium on that site.”

“The residents expect us to hold these teams to the fire,” Suarez said. “A lot of times they’re financed by wealthy people and they want some sort of a public subsidy, which is very controversial as well, which is why we were going to take it to referendum.”

[ MORE: Timbers reach first MLS Cup | Crew SC to host MLS Cup 2015 ]

On Sunday, during halftime of the league’s Eastern Conference final, MLS commissioner Don Garber was asked about the Miami stadium situation, to which he responded, “We think Miami will be a great market. We found a reasonably good site. I’m confident that we’ll get something done there.”

MBU is reportedly being held to something of a deadline by the MLS board of governors, which meets every year ahead of MLS Cup, with this weekend’s sit-down thought of as a target date to have something concrete going forward. Meanwhile, Sacramento Republic FC, an MLS expansion hopeful currently playing in the USL (third division), announced last week they would be moving forward with building their brand new MLS-sized stadium, expansion bid or not.