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.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Here’s a look at the top 20 players in the Premier League right now.

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Players from Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City dominate our latest rankings after a busy seven days in the PL with midweek games and a funky schedule due to the FA Cup semifinal.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League and based on them actually playing in the previous Matchweek. If they didn’t play due to injury or suspension, they aren’t going to make this list. Simple.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


  1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Even
  2. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Even
  3. David Silva (Man City) – Up 8
  4. Ashley Barnes (Burnley) – New entry
  5. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) – New entry
  6. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Up 3
  7. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – Down 4
  8. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) – New entry
  9. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 3
  10. David De Gea (Man United) – Down 3
  11. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) – Down 3
  12. Raheem Sterling (Man City) – New entry
  13. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – Down 9
  14. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – Down 4
  15. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Down 3
  16. Romelu Lukaku (Man United) – Down 3
  17. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) – Down 12
  18. Marko Arnautovic (West Ham) – Down 3
  19. Salomon Rondon (West Brom) – New entry
  20. N'Golo Kante (Chelsea) – New entry

Could Iniesta succeed at Manchester City

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It appears more likely with each passing day that Andres Iniesta will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

The general feeling around Iniesta’s future is that he’ll either follow former teammate Xavi Hernandez to a club in Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, or follow Javier Mascherano to a club in China.

But according to reports in Spain, Iniesta has received a request from a manager who is inextricably linked with his career.

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Per Diario AS, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has reached out to Iniesta to try and gauge the 33-year old’s interest in coming to England. It’s a surprising move, considering Iniesta has appeared to have lost a step, and while his skill on the ball is still world class, he hasn’t played as big of a role for Barcelona this season as in years past.

But the big question for Iniesta – as hard as it is to believe we’re asking this – is where he’d fit into the side, and who he’d push out.

If Guardiola sees Iniesta as part of his best XI, and Iniesta played his usual position on the left side of a midfield trio or at left wing, that would see either David Silva or Leroy Sane losing their spot in the team. That’s hard to see, considering how big of an impact those players had.

Sane has scored nine goals and dished out 12 assists in the Premier League while Silva has a nearly-identical stat line, with nine goals and 11 assists in league play.

However, if Guardiola, who played a very small squad this season, wants to have a world-class player to bring off the bench some games or spot start in the UEFA Champions League, he couldn’t do much better than signing Iniesta.

After being given time to adjust to the physicality of the Premier League, there’s no reason why, even at his advanced age, Iniesta can’t make a big impact in 25-30 games for Man City in the future. You can imagine the Spanish maestro setting up 10 to 15 goals and scoring a few himself as he plays for another title-winning side.

Of course, Iniesta likely won’t earn as much money with Man City as he would in the Arab world or in China, so he has a big decision to make coming up.

Iniesta won three La Liga titles, two Copas Del Rey, two UEFA Champions League and two FIFA Club World Cup titles under Guardiola as Barcelona shined as the best club in the world during that era. Iniesta also made UEFA’s Team of the Year all four years.

Perhaps reuniting with Guardiola can bring the best out of Iniesta once again.

Report: Man United to target Rose, other full backs this summer

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Jose Mourinho has identified perhaps the most underrated position on the pitch as a place he needs to upgrade his squad this summer.

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According to a report from The Guardian, the Manchester United manager is looking to sign Tottenham wing back Danny Rose and potentially another full back in the summer transfer window. With Luke Shaw likely to leave the club, Mourinho is left with incumbents left back Ashley Young and right back Antonio Valencia, both on the wrong side of 30-years old and both converted wingers playing out-of-position.

Mourinho last December decried crosstown rivals Man City for spending more than $140 million to sign wing backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker last summer. Though Mendy missed most of the season with a torn ACL, Walker and fellow outside back Danilo helped give Man City’s attack another dimension out wide, as the wing backs in the 3-4-3 or Man City’s 4-1-4-1 with Fernandinho dropping back into the centerback pairing become ever more important.

Rose has had a contentious last 18-months or so at Tottenham and could be looking to leave this summer. But it will likely take a bid north of $75 million, around what it cost Man City to sign Walker last summer, to buy Rose out of his Tottenham contract.

Matteo Darmian meanwhile, another potential outside back for Man United, could also be departing the club this summer, as Man United looks to replenish its side.

Errors down, penalty kicks up after introduction of VAR in Italy

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The implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Italy has been controversial, but according to a look at the statistics, it has for the most part done its job to fix clear and obvious errors.

Italian sports paper Gazzetta Dello Sport compiled all the times VAR has been used through 346 matches, 330 in Serie A and 16 in the Coppa Italia. There were 1,736 checks (916 goals, 464 penalties and 356 red cards) with 105 corrections and just 17 errors where the referee and assistant made the wrong decision. Eight of those errors did affect the result, which is an issue that will surely be addressed by the Italian officiating organization.

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But overall, Gazzetta found that in the VAR era, referee errors only amounted to 0.98 percent during a match, as opposed to 6.03 percent in the past. In addition, fouls are down 8.8 percent, red cards are down 6.4 percent, and yellow cards are down 14.7 percent. On the flip side, penalty kicks are called 4.3 more percent of the time.

The Premier League voted recently not to add VAR to its league matches next season, while top leagues in Germany, Italy and in Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League continue to use it.