Watch live: West Bromwich Albion vs. Aston Villa (lineups and discuss)

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Of all the derbies in the West Midlands, this is the one Aston Villa supporters look forward to most, yet over the last two years, it’s been the Baggies who’ve headlined the rivalry. Though the teams have drawn their last three meetings, West Brom won the prior two, leaving them unbeaten in five against their claret and blue rivals. Whereas a few years back Villa had a persistent presence near the circuit’s Europa League spots, West Brom has now finished above Aston Villa two years in a row.

But coming into today’s match (3:00 p.m. Eastern, available live via NBC Sports Live Extra), the teams are on practically even footing. With each on 14 points, a win will vault the victors over 10th place Swansea and into the table’s top half. A draw and the teams will stay where they are: 11th and 12th place, with only one goal difference separating the clubs.

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As for any Aston Villa opponent, one of West Brom’s keys will be containing Christian Benteke, even if the Belgian international has failed to score in his last four games. West Brom central defenders Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson will be tasked with tracking the 22-year-old sniper, who scored in the 14th minute of the teams’ last meeting in April (a 2-2 draw).

The Baggies, on the other hand, are relying on scoring by committee, with four players sharing the club’s scoring lead with two goals. Morgan Amalfitano and Stephane Sessegnon are capable of both creating and scoring goals from the level behind the striker, with England U-21 forward Saido Berahino one of quartet that’s gotten Steve Clarke multiple goals.

LINEUPS

West Bromwich Albion: Boaz Myhill; Steven Reid, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Goran Popov; Youssouf Mulumbu, Claudio Yacob; Morgan Amalfitano, Stephane Sessegnon, Chris Brunt; Shane Long

Aston Villa: Brad Guzan; Ron Vlaar, Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker; Aleksandr Tonev, Karim El Ahmadi, Ashley Westwood, Yacouba Sylla, Leandro Bacuna; Christian Benteke, Libor Kozak

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.