Premier League Roundup: Chelsea, Man United, Tottenham and West Ham all win

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On another dramatic day of Premier League action, we had a dazzling set of matches around the PL on Saturday in Week 21.

The big boys excelled, as Manchester United beat Swansea, Chelsea eased to victory away at Hull, Tottenham labored to all three points over Palace and Everton easily dispatched Norwich.

Aside from routine wins for the big boys, West Ham and Sunderland both picked up massive wins on the road against Cardiff City and Fulham respectively. Those basement boys badly needed a win as the relegation battle is heating up wonderfully, as plenty more teams have been sucked into the battle to survive.

MORE: Latest Premier League Standings

We have an action packed slate of matches coming your way on Sunday, so make sure you stay tuned to NBC Sports Network.

But right now, let’s run the rule over the seven PL games that took place on Saturday. Here are all the recaps, analysis and video highlights to unravel at your leisure.

Let’s get to it.

Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham United

There’s big wins… and then there’s this. A truly monumental victory for the Hammers, as Big Sam can breath a little easier tonight as West Ham scored in each half to bag a 2-0 win. Carlton Cole opened the scoring and a late Mark Noble strike compounded new Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer to defeat on his managerial debut in the PL.

Everton 2-0 Norwich City

The Toffees continue their impressive form as they sit fourth and are now just five points off leaders Arsenal. A stunning long-range effort from Gareth Barry in the first half opened the scoring, then Kevin Mirallas curled in a beautiful free kick to make it 2-0. The Canaries were well off the pace as Chris Hughton’s side sit perilously close to the relegation zone.

Fulham 1-4 Sunderland

Adam Johnson was the man of the moment for the Black Cats, as the tricky winger scored a hat trick at Craven Cottage to help Sunderland to their biggest win of the season. Sunderland raced into a 2-0 lead as Johnson and Ki scored in the first  half, Steve Sidwell pulled one back for Fulham (who had USMNT captain Clint Dempsey playing his first PL game since May 2013) to make it interesting but Johnson scored two more to seal a massive win for the Mackems.

Hull City 0-2 Chelsea

A composed and clinical display from Jose Mourinho’s side, as second half goals from Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres finished off a lively yet one-dimensional Hull City. Chelsea are top of the PL, with an easy victory proving just how solid they are as the Tigers never really looked like scoring.

Manchester United 2-0 Swansea City

Exhale… United fans. After losing three-straight games for the first time since 2001 to start off 2014, David Moyes’ men were back to winning ways with a relatively comfortable victory over Swansea at Old Trafford. In a nervy first half both teams cancelled each other out, but after the break strikes from Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck put United 2-0 up. The Red Devils were rampant and could’ve extended their lead, but the three points were the most important thing.

Southampton 1-0 West Bromwich Albion

The Saints huffed and puffed the entire game and finally broke through in the second half thanks to a delightful Adam Lallana strike. In the 66th minute the England international latched onto a fine reverse pass from Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez and finished superbly. Shane Long was stopped by Artur Boruc late on but the Baggies didn’t really deserve anything.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Crystal Palace

Spurs struggled for most of the opening stages of this game, as Crystal Palace bossed the first half and Jason Puncheon missed a penalty with perhaps one of the worst PKs ever taken… No joke. A fired up Tottenham came out in the second half, as a verbal volley from Tim Sherwood got them going. Christian Eriksen opened the scoring with a blaster at the near post, then Toronto FC bound Jermain Defoe grabbed the second with a typically clinical finish. Spurs unbeaten in five and sit fifth in the league. AVB who?

Agent: Barcelona offered more than Real for Vinicius Junior

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If Vinicius Junior can become half the player at Real Madrid that Neymar has lived up to be at Barcelona, Los Blancos will be pretty pleased.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on Monaco’s Silva ]

Real closed the deal for the 16-year-old Brazilian this week, but there were several other lucrative offers on the table, according to the player’s agent, Frederico Pena.

[ MORE: Totti leaves future uncertain heading into final Roma match ]

That includes bitter Spanish rivals Barcelona.

The agent stated that the Blaugrana did in fact offer a higher deal to acquire the Brazilian, however, he felt it would have complicated matters further to seek a greater offer from Real.

“There is practically unanimous view of the deal as a success,” Pena said. “If anybody gets criticised it is Real Madrid, for the risk they have taken, but they are sure that it will work. There were other clubs interested, and one offered to pay more money … Barca’s remuneration package offer for the player was higher than Real Madrid.

“But as we had reached an agreement with Real, we did not want to make this last push for them to match it. That could have embittered the relationship. Many people think it is crazy what Madrid are doing, but they were not alone in this craziness. They were not the only ones willing to pay this much for Vinicius.”

Pena also clarified as to why Vinicius chose Real over Barcelona, citing the player’s excitement about the development of Los Blancos during recent seasons under manager Zinedine Zidane and prior.

“Because Vinicius liked Madrid’s project better. There is always the feeling that players choose based on financial reasons, but that is not true. I assure you of that. Real Madrid’s negotiating posture was better.”

Real is on the verge of winning its third UEFA Champions League trophy in the last four seasons as the club prepares to face Juventus in the upcoming final.

Zidane’s men also won La Liga during the 2016/17 campaign.

Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape

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U.S. Soccer has come a long way over the years, and one of the nation’s most promising young players recognizes the progress the United States has made.

[ MORE: Man City acquire Monaco’s Silva after passing medical ]

Christian Pulisic, who plays for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, is one of several young talents that U.S. hopes to finally bring the American men a moment of glory on the biggest of stages — the World Cup.

The 18-year-old has done just about everything a player of his age could do. He’s played in one of the top leagues in the world, appeared in various UEFA Champions League matches and now he’s likely on pace to appear in the 2018 World Cup, assuming the USMNT advances out of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

The U.S., who have reached the World Cup during seven straight cycles, have come a long way in a short period of time, and Pulisic is happy with the improving U.S. Soccer landscape.

“It’s been big flaw of ours in the soccer department that a lot of our best athletes go and play other sports,” Pulisic told The Guardian. “But I think young players have seen me, and others, go over to Europe and play in some of the best leagues — and MLS is improving so much too.

“There’s so much potential and I think it’s changing: we’ve had some bigger athletes in the past but I don’t think that defines us anymore.

“We’re going to keep moving forward, developing young players and we’re going to have a really good shot in the next few years.”

During this past Bundesliga season, Pulisic recorded three goals and added six assists for a club that has become well known for its high-powered offensive attack.

Report: Kyle Walker a top target for Manchester City

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Manchester City could be looking to bolster its backline further this summer, and the Citizens could turn to Tottenham for help.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on acquiring Monaco’s Silva ]

According to ESPN FC, Pep Guardiola‘s side is growing more and more enamored with Spurs defender Kyle Walker and believes City can acquire the experienced outside back prior to the 2017/18 Premier League season.

With City already losing Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna since the end of the PL season, Guardiola will have to address the club’s lack of depth at outside back.

Several other big clubs have been considered in the running for Walker’s services, including Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

The 26-year-old has been at White Hart Lane since joining Spurs in 2009 from Sheffield United and has made 222 appearances for the club in that span.

Alaves eyes upset of Barcelona in Copa del Rey final

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) The final of the Copa del Rey pits Barcelona’s star power against a tiny Basque Country club whose biggest weapons are its grit and gnawing hunger for a taste of glory.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on Monaco’s Silva ]

Win or lose, Alaves is savoring the cup final on Saturday as the perfect finish to its first season back in Spain’s topflight in an decade.

[ MORE: Three key battles ahead of Chelsea-Arsenal FA Cup final ]

But to have a chance of winning the first major trophy in its 96-year history, Alaves’ ragtag collection of journeymen has to be squeezed of every ounce of effort by coach Mauricio Pellegrino to upset the cup-holders led by Lionel Messi.

One statistic illustrates how daunting their task will be: Messi, all by himself, has scored exactly as many goals as the entire Alaves squad this season, with 53 across all competitions.

“We will need to play a very complete match to have a chance, but we are a team that always competes to the maximum,” said Pellegrino, who is completing a noteworthy first season with the club.

The final will be the last competitive match at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon Stadium. An exhibition match the next day will be its farewell before demolition.

The final will also be the last match for departing Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, who could bow out with a third straight Copa del Rey.

Here are some reasons Alaves can believe in an upset for the ages:

DONE IT BEFORE

Alaves has already toppled Barcelona this season.

A shocking 2-1 victory at Camp Nou on Sept. 10 was Alaves’ first win since its return to the first division following 10 years in the second and third tiers.

That surprise victory set it on its way to overachieving all campaign. It reached the Copa del Rey final by defeating the more talented Celta Vigo in the semifinals, and finished the league in a meritorious ninth place.

The bad news is that Barcelona showed no mercy back in Vitoria, where Luis Suarez scored twice in a 6-0 rout.

NO SUAREZ

But Suarez won’t be available for Barcelona on Saturday, when he serves a one-game suspension after being sent off during the semifinals against Atletico Madrid.

Luis Enrique could start Paco Alcacer in his place up front alongside Messi and Neymar.

OLD AND YOUNG

Alaves is not devoid of talent.

The 19-year-old right back Theo Hernandez, who is playing on loan from Atletico, is drawing rave reviews and interest from European powerhouses, including Real Madrid.

Marcos Llorente, a 22-year-old Madrid reserve player also on loan, has impressed as a defensive midfielder.

Captain Manu Garcia, at 31, is the only player who has been with the team through its rise from the third tier in 2013.

“Our coaches are telling us that by working as a team just like we have all year, we have a chance to win,” Garcia said.

OH SO CLOSE

Alaves came ever so close to winning the 2001 UEFA Cup when it defied expectations in its first European campaign by reaching the final against Liverpool.

Jordi Cruyff, son of Dutch great Johann Cruyff, scored late to level the thriller at 4-4 and force extra time, only for Alaves to succumb on an own goal by Delfi Geli.

“I want our fans to enjoy the day,” Garcia said. “I remember (the final in) Dortmund from when I was young. I have many memories of that day and that’s why I ask our fans to be proud of Alaves, and that they make the Calderon into our stadium because that is what we will need it to be.”