Nicklas Bendtner

Premier League Roundup: Moyes defeated in Everton reunion; top five snag wins

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The Premier League’s top five remains unchanged after Wednesday’s action, but attention is sure to gravitate to that fifth place team, with Everton’s win at Old Trafford serving as an early measuring stick for where the Red Devils and  Toffees sit after David Moyes’ spring move to Manchester United. The Blues’ late win over Moyes’ new team is sure to enliven debate as to which club ended up with the better boss, with for Everton fans regretting where their revamped squad sits after 14 games.

Elsewhere, Arsenal cruised to another win, maintaining their four-point lead at the top after Chelsea won a shootout in Sunderland. Manchester City started to exorcise their road demons, while Luis Suárez made another thunderous claim to being the league’s best player with dominant display at Anfield.

We start at the top and make our way down the table. Here’s your Premier League roundup:

(Highlights for all games are on their way.)

Arsenal 2-0 Hull City

Nicklas Bendtner is not only alive. As of the second minute of today’s visit from Hull City, he’s kicking. The enigmatic Dane scored his first Arsenal goal in over 1000 days to give the league-leading Gunners and early lead, and when Mesut Özil doubled the hosts’ lead two minutes into the second half, Arsenal were on their way to what’s becoming a characteristically controlling victory.

Sunderland 3-4 Chelsea

Jozy Altidore’s first goal since returning to the Premier League gave the Black Cats an early lead, one that reversed when Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard gave Chelsea a one-goal advantage going into halftime. After John O’Shea pulled Sunderland even five minutes into the second, Hazard restored Chelsea’s lead, one which grew to two after a late Phil Bardsley own goal. The Sunderland defender would make up for it with a goal in the 86th, but the Blues were able to hold on to stay within four of Arsenal.

West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Manchester City

Two goals from Yaya Touré and an opener from Sergio Agüero had City up 3-0 after 74 minutes. An own goal from Costel Pantilimon and Victor Anichebe’s 94th minute score brought the Baggies within two, but with come the final whistle, West Brom was unable to offset what had been a dominant display by the visitors.

Liverpool 5-1 Norwich City

Luis Suaréz came into the day tied for second in the Premier League in goals, but with four on Wednesday, the Liverpool sniper passed Sergio Agüero to go two clear atop the league’s scoring charts. Goals in the 15th, 20th, 35th and 74th minute moved Suárez to 13 on the year and spearheaded an overwhelming performance from Liverpool, who amassed 28 shots en route to their first five-goal day of the season.

Manchester United 0-1 Everton

In a match that’s sure to spur as many Red Devil questions as Toffees plaudits, it’s Everton that got the better for their former manager, an 86th minute goal from Bryan Oviedo proving the difference in the first meeting between David Moyes and the club he left last spring. Putting home a late Romelu Lukaku ball across the box, the replacement left back handed United their second home loss of the season, showing Moyes’s former team may be better than the one he’s taken over. Regardless, the biggest victory of the Roberto Martínez era has Everton fifth, even on points with Liverpool for the league’s final Champions League spot.

Fulham 1-2 Tottenham

One of Fulham’s strongest performances of the season still left the team emptied handed and in the drop zone, Spurs having fought back from a one-goal deficit to claim a much-needed win. Thanks to second half goals from Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby, Tottenham claim their first league win since Oct. 27, going seventh in the process. Fulham, however, showed more life than they have at any time this season, putting six shots on target despite falling for the 10th time this campaign.

Swansea City 3-0 Newcastle United

Swans’ second win in three ends the Magpies’ four-match winning streak, with goals from Nathan Dyer and Jonjo Shelvey augmented by an own goal from Mathieu Debuchy. Dominating possession throughout, Swansea appeared to be playing into Newcastle’s hands before Dyer broke through in first half stoppage time. Debuchy’s help in the 66th minute gave Michael Laudrup’s team the room they needed to move up two spots to 11th place.

Southampton 2-3 Aston Villa

With a counter attack reminiscent of their season-opening win at Arsenal, Aston Villa pushed Southampton’s losing streak to three, with goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor, Libor Kozák, and Fabian Delph seeing Villa into the table’s top half. Twice, through Jay Rodriguez and Pablo Osvaldo, Southampton came back, but on a day in which they held 77 percent possession and put nine shots on target, the Saints couldn’t force the third past Brad Guzan, leaving Mauricio Pochettino’s team to suffer their first home loss of the season.

Stoke City 0-0 Cardiff City

Two sides lacking the nous to carve through the others’ defense were left with a possibly predictable draw, the sides’ combined 31 shots only translating into five tries on target. The day’s best chance came in the 40th minute when Jordan Mutch forced a diving save from Stoke’s Asmir Begovic, but with the Peter Crouch on the losing end of too many battles with Cardiff’s defense, the home side was never able to break through.

Crystal Palace 1-0 West Ham United (Tuesday)

Marouane Chamakh got revenge for his failed time at West Ham with a header just before halftime, the former French international’s opener holding up come the final whistle. With the first victory of the Tony Pulis era, the Eagles are out of the Premier League cellar, their third win of the year pushing Palace above Sunderland.

Is NYCFC showing Mix Diskerud the door? (Photo)

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 01:  Mikkel 'Mix' Diskerud #8 of the USA looks on during the singing of the national anthem prior to their international friendly match against the Korea Republic at StubHub Center on February 1, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The USA defeated the Korea Republic 2-0.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
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Since arriving on the New York City scene two years ago it’s fair to summarize Mix Diskerud’s tenure with New York City FC as a disappointment.

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While the expectations of a quick transition from life in Europe to MLS were surely massive, the 26-year-old midfielder has failed to live up to the billing of not only being one of the NYCFC’s highest-paid players but also as a potential U.S. Men’s National Team candidate.

Diskerud saw his playing time dwindle down from 23 starts in 2015 to nine this past season under new manager Patrick Vieira, and it doesn’t appear that the Norwegian-American will see an influx of opportunities during the upcoming 2017 season.

Rumors have surfaced throughout the offseason about NYCFC potentially buying out Diskerud’s contract, however, the midfielder’s cryptic post to social media on Sunday afternoon suggests that he may not be in New York for much longer.

Somebody told me I'm not part of a plan and if he was I – he'd run like the others ran 'cause the budget is tight and binding contracts might be broken, to improve 5-6 positions – in exchange for only one man. – He went on to say; "the message is clear – unless you're clueless – 'cause you've lived it all'year since the budget is tight and binding contracts might not need to be broken if…. you crack, kneel or leave the hemisphere" – Who could tell so straight and clearly tales of destiny I fight sincerely when mental games are attempting aims to make me rage severely? – On and on the conversation went about money spent and special rules and mgt's tools and something about allocation being different cent – I wish I had right there – my pad 'cause then my favorite line fused by Robin Williams spine would play dead poets – real bad

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It has been suggested that Diskerud would possibly consider a return to Europe in the event that his contract was in fact bought out, however, the difference in salaries would likely be drastic.

According to figures released by the MLS Players’ Union, Diskerud made $761,250 in 2016, which was the fourth-highest salary on NYCFC books behind only David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, each of whom were classified as Designated Players.

Report: Aguero seeking Real Madrid move at season’s end

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21:  Sergio Aguero of manchester City in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on January 21, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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Gabriel Jesus was a revelation for Manchester City before suffering an injury, but even with a spot in the lineup for the time being Sergio Aguero may not be coming back to Manchester City next season.

[ MORE: Lucky Man United, Mourinho begin trophy haul ]

According to the Sun, Spanish giants Real Madrid are eyeing up a move for Aguero in the hopes that the Argentine striker will join the club at the conclusion of the Premier League season.

Prior to joining City back in 2011, Aguero played five seasons in La Liga with Atletico Madrid, where he scored 101 goals in all competitions for the Rojiblancos.

While Aguero is likely to hold his starting spot for some time due to Jesus’ injured metatarsal, manager Pep Guardiola had heavily favored the young forward over Aguero since officially joining the club in January.

U.S. U-20s paired with Mexico, El Salvador in CONCACAF knockout round

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Tab Ramos’ side completed their first task, but now the U.S. Under-20 national team has its next challenge lying in front of them.

[ MORE: Whitecaps acquire Brek Shea from Orlando City in trade ]

The U.S. U-20s finished second in Group B at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship after winning two of its three group stage matches.

Now, Mexico and El Salvador await the U-20s in the classification stage with a spot at May’s Under-20 World Cup in South Korea on the line.

During the classification round there will be two groups of three teams, with the top two teams advancing to the World Cup. Each group winner will meet in the CONCACAF Championship final.

Classification stage schedule

Group D

Feb. 27 — U.S. U-20s vs. Mexico

Mar. 1 — Mexico vs. El Salvador

Mar. 3 — U.S. U-20s vs. El Salvador

Group E

Feb. 27 — Panama vs. Honduras

Mar. 1 — Honduras vs. Costa Rica

Mar. 3 — Panama vs. Costa Rica

Claude Puel calls for video replay after Gabbiadini goal called off

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26:  Manolo Gabbiadini of Southampton takes on Eric Bailly of Manchester United during the EFL Cup Final match between Manchester United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on February 26, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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Manolo Gabbiadini performed brilliantly in Sunday’s EFL Cup final, but was the Southampton striker unfairly gipped of a hat-trick?

[ MORE: Lucky Man United, Mourinho begin trophy haul ]

Saints manager Claude Puel certainly believes so.

[ MORE: Three things from Man United’s win vs. Southampton ]

While the back-and-forth final between Southampton and Manchester United presented a tremendous matchup, the Saints had every right to be furious with the officiating in the early going after Gabbiadini’s 11th minute finish was called off for offsides.

“I would like, of course, video in the future for these situations,” said Puel. “It’s very hard when we see this game to lose. It was cruel.”

Gabbiadini went on to score a pair of goals at the tail end of the first half and early in the second stanza, but Puel was pleased with his side’s resilience after going down 2-0 inside the opening 38 minutes.

“We kept the good attitude and spirit to stay in the game after going 2-0 down,” said the Southampton boss. “We played since the beginning of the season every two or three days. We played to a strong and fantastic level. It’s important now to continue this work, to put away this disappointment and come back in the Premier League with this strength and this quality.”

Video replay has been a common discussion for some time now, but more leagues are beginning to examine the possibility. FIFA is prepared to introduce new experimental trials over the coming months and could present a form of replay at next summer’s World Cup in Russia.