Premier League Roundup: Wins for Arsenal, Newcastle, Chelsea, Palace and wild Merseyside draw

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Well, well, well, that was fun.

Seven fantastic games took center stage on Saturday as the Premier League returned with a bang.

The Merseyside derby delivered one of the most enthralling encounters the league has seen in quite some time, while big wins for Arsenal and Chelsea ramped up the tension at the top of the table.

Did you miss any of it? If you did, it’s okay, chill out, we’ve got you covered.

Drink in our recaps, highlights and all that other good stuff from every PL game during Saturday’s Week 12.

Enjoy.

Arsenal 2-0 Southampton

The Gunners stretched their lead at the top of the table to four points but Saints certainly shot themselves in the foot. Olivier Giroud scored both goals courtesy of a goalkeeping howler for Artur Boruc in the first half and a second half penalty kick late on. Southampton pressed by Arsenal contained them easily.

Everton 3-3 Liverpool

What. A. Game. This has to go down as the game of the season so far. It had it all. Philippe Coutinho put Liverpool ahead, Kevin Mirallas equalized then Luis Suarez put the Reds 2-1 ahead at half time with a stunning free kick. After the break Everton pushed for an qualizer and Joe Allen spurned a glorious chance to put Liverpool 3-1 up before Romelu Lukaku struck twice to put the Toffees 3-2 up late on. However, there was one more twist in this tale as substitute Daniel Sturridge scored late on to equalize and give both sides a deserved point. Wow, this will go down as a classic Merseyside derby.

Fulham 1-2 Swansea City

The Cottagers keeping slipping down the table and are entrenched in a relegation battle after yet another poor results. Swansea took the lead after Aaron Hughes put into this own net but a terrific strike from Scott Parker leveled things up. Swansea grabbed the winner late on through Jonjo Shelvey as the sub worked his magic with a cool finish.

Hull 0-1 Crystal Palace

The Eagles grabbed their first win since the second weekend of the season with a gritty display away at Hull. Barry Bannan got the game-winner in the second half as caretaker boss Keith Millen signed off with a win as newly-appointed boss Tony Pulis can now see plenty of light at the end of the tunnel.

Newcastle 2-1 Norwich City

A superb start for the Magpies saw them lead 2-0 at half time thanks to goals from Loic Remy and Yoan Gouffran. Alan Pardew’s men took their foot off the gas in the second half and Norwich piled forward to try and get back in the game. Leroy Fer’s header gave them some hope but Newcastle held on to rise into the top half of the table.

Stoke 2-0 Sunderland

The Potters were extremely relieved to see this game out after a dogged Sunderland outfit pushed them all the way. Stoke went ahead through Charlie Adam in the first half and then Wes Brown was inexplicably sent off for the Black Cats moments later. The away side still rallied and had a few efforts in the second half but Steven Nzonzi finished off the win.

West Ham United 0-3 Chelsea

Chelsea did all the damage early on in this one as Oscar won a penalty kick that Frank Lampard converted and the Brazilian playmaker then scored a stunning second before half time to put the Blues 2-0 up. Lampard finished the Hammers off in the second half as he added his second and Chelsea’s third late on.

Report: Arsenal interested in Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel

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According to a report by The Sun, Arsenal is monitoring the progress of Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

The rumor does make sense. With Petr Cech at 34 years old and having a poor season in front of net and backup David Ospina failing to challenge him for the starting job, the Gunners are looking elsewhere to bring in a potential future starter.

Schmeichel has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League the past two seasons. Last season he led the Foxes to the Premier League title, organizing a stunningly good defensive line of patchwork players. This season, the defense has largely regressed and let Schmeichel down, but he has still performed well and has the metrics to remain one of the league’s top shot-stoppers.

The Danish keeper is 30 years old himself, but that puts him in his prime for a goalkeeper. He has been with Leicester City since 2011, and he will tick 250 appearances for the club with his next match. Schmeichel was rumored to be a member of the secret player delegation that worked hard to see Claudio Ranieri pushed out of the club, a sentiment which he and the other players have strongly denied.

Still, with an improbable Premier League title in hand and an appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals now on the cards, there probably isn’t much else for him at Leicester City. It’s possible Schmeichel could look to bank on his past performances and secure a move to a bigger club this summer.

Should Arsene Wenger stay with Arsenal past this season, a possibility that looks more and more likely, he could look to move on from Cech despite signing the former Chelsea goalkeeper just two summers ago.

Diego Costa injured, but will stay with Spain squad for friendly

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Chelsea striker Diego Costa pulled up in Spain training on Sunday, and with the Blues in first in the Premier League and Costa in great form, there were obvious concerns.

With Costa struggling with leg and ankle injuries, the RFEF informed Chelsea that there was an issue, and Costa was pulled from training and sent for tests. X-Rays at the local hospital in Madrid were negative, and he’s rejoined the squad.

According to the RFEF, doctors will continue to monitor the 28-year-old and he will continue with the national team for the rest of the international break. With a World Cup qualification win over Israel already in the books and just a friendly against France to go on Tuesday, it’s odd that Spain would risk Costa moving forward, but they will continue to keep him around.

Costa has scored 18 goals this season to lead the Blues, and he scored in the win over Israel. Spain takes on France in Saint-Denis on Tuesday, with both teams leading their World Cup qualification groups. Spain has a goal-differential lead on Italy with both teams miles above the rest of the Group G, and France is ahead of Sweden by three points in Group A, with the Netherlands back in fourth.

Foul or flop? Player “headbutts” referee, is sent off

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Well, there must be something in the water down in Brasilia, because things got a little weird this evening.

Flamengo drew with Vasco da Gama 2-2, but that was just the start.

In the 54th minute, with Vasco da Gama leading 1-0 at Estadio Nacional Mané Garrincha, 36-year-old Luis Fabiano was sent off for “headbutting” the referee. Headbutting is in quotes because looking at the video, it certainly appears there was little to no contact, and the referee flops.

Yes, the referee flopped. Take a look:

To be fair, Fabiano was already on a yellow, so getting in the referee’s face even without the headbutt/pelvic thrust would likely still have seen him sent to an early shower.

So the former Porto and Sevilla man was sent off, and Vasco da Gama was down to 10 men. Immediately after the red card, Flamengo took advantage, powering in a pair of goals via Willian Arao and Orlando Berrio to take the lead 2-1. But Vasco wouldn’t quit, and they earned a penalty five minutes into stoppage time, which Nene buried for the 2-2 draw.

To top things off, a player named Yago Pikachu scored the opener for Vasco da Gama, which was followed by a delay in the game seven minutes later after a power surge in the stadium. Go figure.

Lletget diagnosed with foot sprain, escaping further damage

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Word has arrived from the LA Galaxy camp that will see USMNT fans feel relieved as Sebastian Lletget has escaped the news many feared.

The young attacker was impressive in the first 18 minutes of the United States’ 6-0 win over Honduras, but was injured minutes after scoring the opening goal and could not continue. Replays showed that Lletget got his foot caught underneath a defender in the process of a hard challenge on the right wing.

There was concern that Lletget would be out for a significant amount of time, but the Galaxy announced that after testing over the weekend, Lletget did not suffer any structural damage and was diagnosed with a left foot sprain.

[ MORE: USMNT adds Paul Arreola to roster, drops Lletget, Brooks, Morris ]

Lletget will visit a specialist on Monday to determine a plan for recovery, and it’s possible that he will still have to miss some time in the near future. The Galaxy visit Vancouver on Saturday, and his status for that match has to be considered up in the air. They then host Montreal on April 7.

While Lletget obviously misses out on the next USMNT game at Panama on Tuesday having already been dumped from the roster, he will most definitely be available for the June games against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, and will likely be an option for Bruce Arena given the manager’s history with Lletget at Los Angeles.

The United States have been struck with a collection of injuries that all occurred just before the international break, hampering the squad significantly. Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, and Fabian Johnson all went down in the days before reporting for international duty, and the team lost Lletget and John Brooks in the Honduras win. Lletget’s departure could see Alejandro Bedoya into the starting lineup on Tuesday, with the Union midfielder having replaced Lletget in the Honduras match. Also in contention is Jermaine Jones, who could come in after his suspension and push Darlington Nagbe onto the wing.