Premier League Roundup: Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Newcastle keep winning (VIDEO)

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Wow, take a deep breath guys, we have a lot to break down in the Saturday roundup, as Week 17 threw some incredible results our way.

The weekend before Christmas gets most people excited… and this year is no different, thanks to goals galore, drama and some massive victories in the Premier League.

(MORE: Premier League Standings)

So, in case you missed any of the action from Saturday’s seven scintillating games in England’s top-flight, here’s everything you need to know wrapped up in a perfect little gift box for you.

Match recaps, analysis and video highlights are coming your way. Enjoy the unraveling, as you sift through another mad, yet wonderful, day of PL matches.

Crystal Palace 0-3 Newcastle United

The Magpies were dazzling in the wind and rain at Selhurst Park, as Alan Pardew’s side are just three points out of the top four. Newcastle went ahead thanks to Yohan Cabaye’s cool finish, and an own goal from Danny Gabbidon doubled their lead before the break. After the interval Palace tried to get back into the game, but Hatem Ben Arfa’s late penalty kick wrapped up the Toon’s sixth win in their last eight games.

Fulham 2-4 Manchester City

The Citizens went 2-0 up in the first half as Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany both scored to put the away side in a commanding position. However Manuel Pellegrini’s men would throw their advantage away as Kieran Richardson pulled one back, then Kompany scored a bizarre own goal to make it 2-2. Yet the Cottagers hopes of grabbing a superb point were dashed late on as Jesus Navas and James Milner sent City second.

Liverpool 3-1 Cardiff

Another week, another Luis Suarez masterclass. It’s getting far too easy for this guy to rip teams apart and he did just that with two more stunning strikes and an assist on Raheem Sterling’s goal against Cardiff at Anfield. Jordon Mutch’s consolation was all the Bluebirds could muster, as Liverpool went top of the league and Malky Mackay’s future still remains uncertain.

Manchester United 3-1 West Ham

The Red Devils are ominously clicking through the gears as their fourth-straight win in all competitions came courtesy of another fluid attacking display. Danny Welbeck opened the scoring, before Adnan Januzaj cut in from the left to score a beauty. After the break Ashely Young smashed home a stunner to make it 3-0, before Carlton Cole pulled back a consolation for the Hammers.

Stoke City 2-1 Aston Villa

A real battle at the Britannia, as the home side came away with all three points thanks to Peter Crouch’s game-winner. Stoke went ahead through Charlie Adam before Libor Kozak hit back for Villa. As both teams pushed forward for the winner, Geoff Cameron’s stunning right wing cross somehow bounced off Crouch and into the goal. Stoke up to 10th.

Sunderland 0-0 Norwich City

To say this wasn’t one for the purists is putting it lightly. The Black Cats and Canaries hardly put on a footballing feast before the festive period. Jozy Altidore was guilty of missing a good chance and a late red card for Wes Brown saw the Black Cats reduced to 10-men. The Canaries will be happy with a point, while the Mackems are bottom at Christmas… never a good sign.

West Brom 1-1 Hull City

Managerless West Brom battled back to nab a point late in the feisty game against Hull City at the Hawthorns. Matej Vydra struck with five minutes left to make it 1-1, after Jake Livermore had given the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the first half. Whoever replaced Steve Clarke as manager will know one thing… this Baggies has tons of character and is up for the fight.

Galaxy’s Cole admits he enjoys Arsenal struggles

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LA Galaxy left back Ashley Cole left Arsenal for Chelsea more than a decade ago, but that hasn’t erased the bitter memories of the departure from his boyhood club.

Cole was famously involved in a “tapping up” meeting with Chelsea without Arsenal’s permission in 2005, but signed a contract extension with the Gunners. Still, he was gone a year later in messy circumstances.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

As the most capped fullback in England’s history who boasts both Premier League and Champions League titles with Chelsea, Cole easily could rest on his own laurels and move on from the divorce.

But when asked whether he’s enjoying Arsenal’s current struggles, Cole couldn’t help himself.

“If I’m honest, yeah, I still think to this day. I laugh to myself. I had a lot of history there and I think the way I left was maybe a bit dodgy but the lack of respect they showed me as well.”

Cole accepts a share of the blame for his time ended at Arsenal, but says he doesn’t regret it. Still, his response is not a picture of class.

Next time, just laugh and say, “Next question,” Ashley.

“I’m not a bad guy” – Convicted murderer, new club defend signing

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A week ago, we brought you the story of goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes finding a new club despite a conviction for ordering the torture and murder of his mistress, whose body was then fed to dogs. The two were having a disagreement on child support.

Fernandes, 32, was set free from jail on a technicality and has since been signed by Boa Esporte in Brazil. He said he couldn’t “throw in the towel” on his career because he believed in himself.

Fans were outraged with the team, major sponsors pulled their funding, and an activist group even hacked Boa Esporte’s web page.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

And the club is digging in its heels.

Boa Esporte’s president, Rone Moraes da Costa, reacted to protests by saying he’d rather move the team than not give Fernandes a chance to resurrect his career.

As for Fernandes, he clearly is having trouble explaining why he’s getting another chance. From The Guardian:

“What happened, happened. I made a mistake, a serious one, but mistakes happens in life – I’m not a bad guy. People tried to bury my dream because of one mistake, but I asked God for forgiveness, so I’m carrying on with my career, dude. I’m starting over.”

One mistake. Wow. There are few clubs in the world which fit the bill of being the majority of fans’ least favorite team, but Boa Esporte could get there. Surely there must be more to the story?

Nothing new about the challenges facing USMNT

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This next week may define a generation of USMNT players, but only if it goes poorly.

That may sound overly dramatic, but it isn’t. The United States started 0-2 in the final round of World Cup qualifying, earned its coach a firing, and now stares down its status in the confederation.

Honduras is coming on Friday, far from a pushover. Then it’s off to Panama for another tricky tie. In a vacuum, coming up short in one of the two isn’t the end of the world, but the Yanks will be expected to take a minimum four points. Even that would be a disappointment to many.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

The crutches are gone, aside from any being used by injured players back in Germany (Bobby Wood and Fabian Johnson chief amongst them). Fifteen of Honduras’ players play domestically, and Panama isn’t much better in overall quality.

Frankly, and it’s been written before, the United States should outclass both of these foes. If Bruce Arena’s bunch doesn’t, well, it spells woe for the country’s soccer development as a whole.

For now, supporters and players have been able to cling to the thought that Jurgen Klinsmann was responsible for the Yanks’ struggles. In some ways, he most certainly was to blame for setbacks like the CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico and the pathetic performance against Costa Rica that earned him a firing.

Several of the United States’ current elder statesmen have built legacies that can survive big hits. Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey may go down in history as the two biggest stars in program history (There will be an argument for both as No. 1 along with Landon Donovan and Claudio Reyna). DaMarcus Beasley is an all-timer, too.

Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, and Jozy Altidore are on track for that, too, and there’s an argument to be made the trio is already there, especially for Cameron, who’s a mainstay in the Premier League. Each has found success in Europe after getting their starts in Major League Soccer, and have etched their names into the national record books.

There’s still very little reason to believe the USMNT will miss the 2018 World Cup even with the 0-2 start. The class is just too much to consider the Yanks will finish below Panama, Honduras, and Trinidad and Tobago over the course of 10 matches (The fourth place side gets a shot at an Asian side like Saudi Arabia, UAE, or Uzbekistan in a two-legged affair).

But turning it around has to start now. The Yanks have to handle their business in these qualifiers, and make at least the Gold Cup final to build momentum toward Russia. Anything short of that is abject failure.

Again, this absolutely should happen, starting Friday. Even given the poor start, losses or even a pair of draws this week would be legitimately shocking, and set the program back ages. Howard set it up well Tuesday when he pointed out that the U.S. has gotten to points like this before, and they always belly up to the bar and outlast all comers.

A lot of fans have this nagging voice in their heads, asking nefariously, “What if they don’t?”

Podolski after golazo finale: “This is like a great movie”

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Lukas Podolski has won a EURO, a World Cup, and the Bundesliga with two different sides.

Only Lothar Matthaus and Miroslav Klose have been capped more than Germany’s Polish born Podolski, and he received a hero’s send-off from the home crowd at Germany’s 1-0 win over England on Wednesday.

And of course he sent himself off in style with a gorgeous goal.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

Podolski said there were more than 30,000 people from Cologne at the match, where he won one of his two Bundesliga titles.

“That’s when you know where you home is, and that you’ve done a lot of good, also off the pitch,” Podolski said. “That makes me very proud.”

It was a perfect night to say goodbye, and the goal made it almost surreal (Thomas Muller called it “cheesy”).

From Goal.com:

“This is like a great movie,” he told ARD. “We win 1-0 and I score the goal.

“I know I have a left foot that was probably gifted to me by God, or someone up there, and I can always rely on it. I am proud of these last 13 years.”

Feel good hit of the Spring.