Premier League Roundup: Spurs, Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea win big on New Year’s Day

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Is there anything better than seeing in 2014 with a full slate of Premier League games?

If there is, I can’t think of it…

On New Year’s Day there were 10 PL games on the docket, with huge wins for Tottenham away at Manchester United, Chelsea away at Southampton, Man City at Swansea and a last gasp win for Arsenal over Cardiff leading the way.

With some big relegation scraps thrown into the mix too, it was certainly a day to remember.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Now we have a break in PL action for 11 days, after a hectic period that’s seen 40 games played in just 12 days over the festive period. But before you take a rest from all of the action, here’s a recap of the 10 dramatic games that took place on the opening day of 2014.

Wrapped nicely for you to unravel are all the recaps, news and video highlights from the opening

Arsenal 2-0 Cardiff City

It took 88 minutes for the breakthrough at Emirates, but when it came the stadium erupted. Nicklas Bendtner struck to break Cardiff’s hearts and keep Arsenal top of the table, while Theo Walcott added another in stoppage time to seal a late win for the Gunners.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Norwich City

The Eagles fought back to grab a point at Selhurst Park, after Norwich went ahead through Bradley Johnson’s cool finish. Right on the stroke of half time Jason Puncheon scored a penalty for Crystal Palace as Tony Pulis’ men were handed a lifeline. Leroy Fer was sent off in the second half as Palace pushed for a winner, but the Canaries hung on.

Fulham 2-1 West Ham

A rambunctious London derby played out at Craven Cottage as the home side took all three points thanks to goals from Steven Sidwell and Dimtar Berbatov, after Mohamed Diame had given West Ham an early lead. Kevin Nolan’s sending off changed the game, as the Hammers skipper saw red for a petulant kick out.

Liverpool 2-0 Hull City

Another week, another home win for Liverpool, as the Reds created plenty of chances and could’ve beaten Hull more convincingly. Daniel Agger headed home superbly, then Luis Suarez curled in a wonderful free kick after half time to make it 2-0. Steven Gerrard returned for Liverpool late on, as Hull didn’t have a shot on target.

Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

A massive win for Tottenham’s new boss Tim Sherwood, as Spurs won for the second-straight season at Old Trafford. Emmanuel Adebayor put them 1-0 up in the first half with a great header, before Christian Eriksen made it 2-0 with another header midway through the second half. Danny Welbeck struck back almost instantly too make it 2-1, but Spurs held on for a landmark victory.

Southampton 0-3 Chelsea

The Saints held Chelsea back until the 59th minute… then Jose Mourinho’s men turned on the style as Fernando Torres headed them in front. Substitutes Willian and Oscar both grabbed late goals to add gloss to the scoreline, as Chelsea remain in the title hunt. What a tremendous squad Mourinho has, does he need to add players in January? The ‘Special One’ doesn’t think so.

Stoke City 1-1 Everton

Stoke went ahead through Ossama Assaidi’s goal just after half time but they were pegged back right at the end of the match, as Jermaine Pennant was adjudged to have tripped Leon Osman. Leighton Baines stepped up to slot the penalty home in stoppage time, to grab the Toffees a late point but Roberto Martinez wasn’t happy.

Sunderland 0-1 Aston Villa

Villa sealed a massive victory on the road thanks to Gabriel Agbonlahor’s early strike at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland tried everything they could to get back into the game, but the defeat was a damaging one for the Black Cats as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Swansea 2-3 Manchester City

A great clash at the Liberty Stadium as City went 1-0 up thanks to Fernandinho’s opener but Wilfred Bony equalized before the break. City then went 3-1 up as Yaya Toure and Kolarov scored before Bony grabbed a late goal to make it seem closer than it actually was. City recorded back-to-back wins away from home for the first time this season.

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Newcastle

The Magpies came unstuck down at the Hawthorns, as managerless West Brom bagged a crucial victory with Saido Berhaino’s spot kick giving them all three points. Mathieu Debuchy was sent off with 30 minutes to go for Newcastle, as West Brom stretched their unbeaten run to four games.

Sky Blue’s Sam Kerr named NWSL league MVP for 2017

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CHICAGO (AP) Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been named the National Women’s Soccer League’s Most Valuable Player for this season.

Kerr, a standout on the Australian national team, had a league-record 17 goals and became the league’s fifth Golden Boot winner to also be named MVP.

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

She became the first NWSL player to score four goals in a game on Aug. 19 against the Seattle Reign. Kerr rallied Sky Blue from a 3-goal deficit to beat the Reign 5-4.

Kerr’s award was announced Friday. The league had earlier announced the season’s other award winners: North Carolina’s Abby Dahlkemper was named Defender of the Year, teammate Ashley Hatch was named Rookie of the Year, Portland’s Adrianna Franch was named Goalkeeper of the Year and the Thorns’ Mark Parsons was named Coach of the Year.

The Mendy Effect: Pep praises injured back

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Full back Benjamin Mendy cost Pep Guardiola and Manchester City $68 million, but perhaps he’ll be just as valuable as a very expensive sports psychologist.

The “Shark Team” member was amusing on social media even before his ACL injury sent him to the sidelines until at least April, but he’s become a must-follow Twitter fixture with his in-game messages (See some of his work below).

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

City faces Burnley at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

It’s fairly clear his act has translated in private, too, as apparently Mendy is just as good in group messages (Let us in, Pep. We won’t tell anyone). From ManCity.com:

“Usually, players who are out for a long time with injury are sad. They sometimes train apart and feel isolated.

“Mendy decided to be present. He is communicating on social media, WhatsApp and he calls his teammates and messages me. He is going to be so important outside the pitch because people like him make the atmosphere much better.”

It’s not surprising for anyone who’s been following the former Le Havre, Marseille and Monaco man.

Keep in mind, these Tweets below are from the last few days alone!

Ozil to Manchester United?!? Wenger reacts to gossip

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Sometimes, even the biggest Arsene Wenger detractors have to feel for the guy.

Coming off a thrilling late win in Serbia, one that saw Olivier Giroud cap off a team goal straight out of the creative Wenger playbook, the manager should’ve been discussing how to stretch those good vibes into this weekend’s visit to Goodison Park.

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

Yet no. Instead of talking about how the Gunners would respect the struggling Toffees, Wenger had to address speculation from several outlets claiming Mesut Ozil would move to Manchester United, perhaps as soon as January.

Feeling it? No, no Wenger was not feeling it. From Arsenal.com:

“We have to deal with all kinds of speculation when the players are at the end of their contracts. On the other hand, to be professional is to give 100 per cent as long as you are somewhere. For the rest, we came out many times and said that’s the situation. It [the media] can come out tomorrow and say that he extends his contract here. It will be exactly the same, it will not change anything. When you play the next game, commit 100 per cent. … When a player plays for Arsenal Football Club, his commitment cannot be linked with the length of his contract, it has just to be linked with the responsibility and the ambition he has to win the football game.”
Of course most big clubs have to deal with such drama on a year-to-year basis and, yes, having Ozil and Alexis Sanchez still in town was completely avoidable. But the idea that Ozil could leave, for free, to Manchester United? We’re sure Gooners the world over will be thrilled with the gossip.

MLS Decision Day preview: Much at stake

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Four teams can claim a Western Conference second round berth, while four more can earn a valuable first-round bye in the East.

Yep, there’s plenty to play for beyond the West’s final playoff spot Sunday during Major League Soccer’s Decision Day, when every team will take the pitch for 4 p.m. ET kickoffs.

[ MORE: Conte feels pressure ]

Here’s what we do know regarding the playoffs:

  1. Supporters’ Shield winning Toronto FC gets a first round bye, while No. 6 seed New York Red Bulls are headed to the road for a first round playoff
  2. New England, Montreal, Philadelphia, Orlando, DC, Minnesota, Colorado, and LA will not make the playoffs
  3. Full stop.

So, yes, this will be fun.

First, let’s look at the Eastern Conference Standings ahead of Sunday’s extravaganza:

Eastern Conference
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Toronto FC 33 20 8 5 72 35 37 13-3-1 7-5-4 68
x – New York City FC 33 16 8 9 54 41 13 10-4-2 6-4-7 56
x – Chicago 33 16 7 10 61 44 17 12-3-2 4-4-8 55
x – Atlanta 33 15 9 9 68 38 30 11-2-3 4-7-6 54
x – Columbus 33 16 5 12 51 47 4 12-2-3 4-3-9 53
x – New York 33 13 8 12 51 46 5 9-6-2 4-2-10 47

— New York City FC controls its bye destiny, though Columbus could join them on 56 points and would pass them on tiebreakers (wins).

— If that happens, Chicago could claim the second bye with a win or draw in Houston (The Fire owns the goal differential tiebreaker).

— If New York City and Chicago lose or draw, Atlanta could finish second with a home win over TFC.

— Columbus can finish second with a win and non-wins for Chicago and Atlanta.

Western Conference
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – Vancouver 33 15 7 11 49 47 2 9-5-3 6-2-8 52
x – Portland 33 14 8 11 58 49 9 10-4-2 4-4-9 50
x – Seattle 33 13 11 9 49 39 10 10-5-1 3-6-8 50
x – Sporting KC 33 12 13 8 39 27 12 10-6-1 2-7-7 49
x – Houston 33 12 11 10 54 45 9 11-4-1 1-7-9 47
San Jose 33 12 7 14 36 58 -22 9-5-2 3-2-12 43
FC Dallas 33 10 13 10 43 47 -4 7-7-2 3-6-8 43
Real Salt Lake 33 12 6 15 47 54 -7 8-4-4 4-2-11 42

Byes

— Vancouver finishes first with a win or draw at Portland. The ‘Caps could finish as low as third with a loss to Portland and a Seattle win versus Colorado.

— Portland finishes first — and wins the Cascadia Cup — with a win over visiting Vancouver.

— Seattle can claim a first round bye with a win over visiting Colorado and a Vancouver win over Portland.

— Sporting KC can finish second with a win at Real Salt Lake and non-wins for Portland and Seattle.

Final playoff spot

— San Jose claims the sixth seed with a home win over Minnesota. They can also finish sixth with a draw joined by non-wins for FC Dallas at home to LA and Real Salt Lake at home versus SKC.

— FC Dallas claims the sixth seed with a win over LA and a San Jose draw or loss versus Minnesota. FCD gets sixth with a draw, and a San Jose loss coupled with a RSL loss or draw versus SKC.

—  Real Salt Lake gets sixth with a win over SKC, and non-wins from San Jose and Dallas. RSL could also get sixth with a draw and losses for San Jose and Dallas.

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

Schedule
FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy
DC United vs. New York Red Bulls
San Jose vs. Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
Houston vs. Chicago
Seattle vs. Colorado
Philadelphia vs. Orlando City
Portland vs. Vancouver
Montreal vs. New England
New York City vs. Columbus
Atlanta vs. Toronto

Predictions

— NYCFC hangs on for a draw against Columbus, earning a bye, leaving Chicago to host New York Red Bulls and Atlanta off to Columbus for the first round of the playoffs (We have Toronto beating Atlanta on Sunday).

— Vancouver and Portland draw, while Seattle beats Colorado. The ‘Caps and Sounders get byes, while Seattle takes back the Cascadia Cup.

— San Jose beats Minnesota, gaining the West’s sixth seed. The Quakes head to Portland for the first round, while SKC hosts Houston.