Southampton 4-1 Hull City: Saints are flying high – video

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The Saints are marching in, indeed. And on. And up. Southampton’s all-too-easy victory over Hull City, combined with Chelsea’s draw with West Brom, puts the Saints in third place. Sure, Everton could cancel that out with a late victory over Crystal Palace, but it’s still certain: this start is not a fluke from Southampton.

The first half could hardly have gone better for Southampton, who saw themselves into fourth by the time the whistle blew for the break. The hosts had their first goal after a quarter of an hour had passed. Rickie Lambert wiggled his way in between two Hull defenders, heading across the face of goal. An inrushing Morgan Schneiderlin got his head on the end of the pass, knocking it past Steve Harper.

Hull very nearly had an instant reply, taking advantage of a slight slip in the Saints’ defense as the visitors sent in a corner. However, Paul McShane’s header went high, and that was about the last time the Tigers showed signs of life in the first half.

Instead it was Southampton who found a second. Harper came rushing out of goal and slid into Lallana, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Lambert stepped up to take, smashing the shot into the roof of the net.

But the Saints weren’t done just yet. Less than ten minutes later, Lallana put in the third, all before 40 minutes were up. The Englishman’s individual goal must’ve impressed Roy Hodgson, there to keep an eye on his three England callups. About 30 yards out, Lallana received the ball from Lambert then took it up the left, weaving and dancing around two Hull defenders. He easily slipped around Ahmed Elmohamady to send the ball across Harper and into the top corner.

(MORE: Premier League Roundup: Big wins for Liverpool, Saints, Norwich, Villa, Chelsea fight back – video)

For those just glancing at the scoreline, it seemed like Bruce’s halftime talk may have actually had some effect — after all, Hull managed to grab a goal 10 minutes after the restart. But in fact it was a bit of a mix up from Artur Boruc that started it all. The Southampton goalkeeper elected to pass the ball to Victor Wanyama, who was being closed down by Yannick Sabo. Sabo snatched away the ball to put it in the back of the net.

Although Bruce did his best to ring the changes, Southampton were more than up to the challenge. In fact, there was little challenge, what with Jake Livermore placing his shot high, and Robert Koren heading the ball wide.

The Saints took advantage instead, grabbing yet another in the 88th minute. Nathaniel Clyne put in the cross and substitute Steven Davis, on for Wanyama, easily slid the ball past Harper and into the bottom corner. Job well done for Southampton.

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Wanyama (S. Davis 63), Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Cork 84), Rodriguez, Lambert (Osvaldo 76)

Subs not used: K. Davis, Chambers, Hooiveld, Gallagher

Goals: Schneiderlin 16′; Lambert 30′; Lallana 37′; Davis 88′

Hull City: Harper, Rosenior, Figueroa, Davies, McShane, Elmohamady (Koren 45), Boyd (Quinn 80), Meyler (Graham 73), Huddlestone, Livermore, Sagbo

Subs not used: Jakupovic, Bruce, Gedo, Proschwitz

Goals: Sagbo 55′

Arsenal finishes atop UEL group despite defeat to Cologne

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The Gunners didn’t take care of business on Thursday in Germany, but luckily they got some help from two of their other Group H counterparts.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks, video previews ]

Cologne defeated Arsenal, 1-0, at the RheinEnergieStadion, but Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov ended in a scoreless draw to give Arsene Wenger‘s side the top spot in the group.

The difference on the day proved to be Sehrou Guirassy’s penalty kick, which came in the 62nd minute after he had been taken down by Matthieu Debuchy a moment prior.

Arsenal were forced back early on by the hosts, with Jhon Cordoba nearly breaking the deadlock inside the opening five minutes.

Meanwhile, the Gunners struggled to break down Cologne’s defense throughout the encounter, despite having an overwhelming amount of possession.

Arsenal will close out Group H play on Dec. 7 against BATE, while Cologne battles Red Star Belgrade for a shot at reaching the Round of 32.

Report: Earthquakes to name Mikael Stahre as new manager

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The San Jose Earthquakes are prepared to hire a new manager, leaving Chris Leitch’s status with the club unknown moving forward.

[ MORE: Michael Bradley issues strong views on Crew’s potential relocation ]

ESPN FC is reporting that the Major League Soccer side will hire Swedish coach Mikael Stahre in the coming days, replacing Leitch. The story was first reported by Swedish outlet Expressen.

The 42-year-old has primarily spent his managerial career in Sweden, but has also coached teams in Greece and China.

The Earthquakes qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012 this season under Leitch, but were bounced in the first round by the Vancouver Whitecaps — 5-0.

Leitch, who formerly played for the Earthquakes in his MLS-playing days, finished 2017 as both the manager and technical director for the Western Conference club.

Pending Stahre’s hire, the Quakes will be on their third coach in a span of roughly five months after Dominic Kinnear had been previously fired by the team back in June.

Study to look at long-term health risks of playing soccer

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LONDON (AP) A major study into whether soccer players are at risk of degenerative brain disease has been commissioned amid concerns that the sport’s authorities in England haven’t done enough to tackle the issue.

The Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association have appointed a research team, based in Scotland, to undertake a study entitled “Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk” from January 2018.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said it will be “one of the most comprehensive studies ever commissioned into the long-term health of former footballers” because “we feel compelled … to fully understand if there are any potential risks associated with playing the game.”

Researchers will address the question: “Is the incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease more common in ex-professional footballers than in the normal population?”

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks, video previews

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Ready for Week 13 in the Premier League? Let’s do this.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ] 

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

[ STREAM: Premier League “Goal Rush”

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the longshots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.

Click play on the videos below for quick previews on each game complete with a score prediction from yours truly.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Huddersfield vs. Manchester City – (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Manchester United vs. Brighton – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Tottenham vs. West Brom (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, CNBC) – [STREAM]

Burnley vs. Arsenal (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, CNBC) – [STREAM]

Swansea City vs. Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

DON’T TOUCH THIS… 

Southampton vs. Everton – (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Crystal Palace vs. Stoke City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

 

Newcastle United vs. Watford – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Liverpool vs. Chelsea – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM

West Ham vs. Leicester – (Friday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]