Jelavic

Cardiff City 0-4 Hull City: Jelavic double sends Bluebirds deeper into darkness (video)

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A comprehensive match by Hull City stunned the Cardiff City fans, as the visitors defended well and played even better on the counter to defeat Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 3-0.

The visitors continue to show why they are the most impressive of the three newly promoted sides, as deadline signing Nikica Jelavic received outstanding service and didn’t disappoint with his chances for a brace.

Both sides started sloppy, as possession went back and forth, and the opening chance fell to Wilfried Zaha as he chopped his way into the box, cut inside and stung one at Allan McGregor, who parried up.

Minutes later Kenwyne Jones got free and should have scored for Cardiff as well, but McGregor again came to the rescue, saving low.

Premier League Roundup: Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Man United grab wins

Goalkeeping starred on the other end as well, but it wouldn’t last. Jelavic had all kinds of time and space in the box on a break in the 19th minute, but he was denied on his turn-and-shoot attempt by David Marshall after losing his defender with a fake.

The save, however, popped back out to Jake Livermore, who laid off to Tom Huddlestone for the low shot, which deflected off Andrew Taylor and slotted into the bottom corner.

source: Getty Images
Tom Huddlestone opened the scoring on what would be a dominant win by Hull City.

Cardiff, despite being down, found themselves with much of the possession going forward, but still found few chances on goal.  Jones had another crack on 35 minutes but went wide left with a header.

With all the home possession, it fell for Hull again on the counter before the break, and the visitors shocked the home fans with another strike which, unlike Cardiff, they didn’t waste.

Elmohamady blasted down the left touchline, stopped, and cut back for Jelavic who didn’t need a touch before slotting home, stunning the home crowd for a 2-0 lead.

The visitors nearly put it out of sight on the first possession of the second half, as another cross from Elmohamady found Liam Rosenoir who poked to Jelavic but the striker fired over from close range.

They would put it away though, as Jelavic picked up his second and Cardiff’s third on 57 minutes.  It was a simple goal, as a cross came in from Rosenoir straight to the Croatian with space who headed to the far post and in.

Hull City weren’t done yet, as another counter-attack saw Elmohamady find Livermore who made no mistakes for a 4-0 dominating lead, as an exhausted home side had no answer.

McGregor preserved the clean sheet with 15 minutes to go as Craig Noone worked through the box well and shot low but the keeper dove to keep it out.

Thanks to a Fulham draw, Cardiff City are just a point off the bottom, making their decision to sack Malky Mackay look worse and worse by the day.  Steve Bruce, meanwhile, sees his side jump to 30 points all the way up to 10th in the crowded middle of the table.

LINEUPS

Cardiff City: Marshall; Taylor, Caulker, Cala, Fabio; Zaha (Daehli 45′), Cowie, Eikrem, Noone; Campbell, Jones.

Hull City: McGregor; Rosenoir, Figueroa, Bruce, Davies; Meyler, Huddlestone (Boyd 63′), Livermore, Elmohamady; Long, Jelavic.

Goals: Huddlestone (19), Jelavic (38, 57) Livermore (67)

After January camp, USMNT looks to rosters for World Cup, Olympic qualifying

at StubHub Center on January 31, 2016 in Carson, California.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
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The United States men’s national team finished its experimental January camp with a 2-0 record, and now trains its eyes on World Cup and Olympic qualifying.

The last part is critical not just because of the ramifications of a potential second-successive Olympic absence for the men’s U-23 side.

[ USMNT: Tops Iceland 3-2 | Knocks off Canada, too ]

The Yanks have to deftly divide their player pool because March 25 and 29 are not only the dates for the next round of World Cup qualifying matches — a home-and-home series with Guatemala — but also the dates for the U-23s’ pair of matches with Colombia.

That’s why Jordan Morris isn’t likely headed to Guatemala City, and the same is true for impressive January camper Jerome Kiesewetter and new Chelsea defender Matt Miazga.

[ JPW: Recapping the top stories from an intense Premier League weekend ]

Bobby Wood, John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin are also eligible for the U-23s, but there’s the rub. All three are in good form for country, and only Yedlin isn’t playing well for his club (That’s because Sam Allardyce isn’t using him much at all. His substitute appearance against Liverpool was his first action since Jan. 9).

New England midfielder Lee Nguyen impressed Jurgen Klinsmann during January camp, and it’s hard to ignore the impact of Steve Birnbaum’s goal and assist.

Assuming health, here’s our best guess at who’s making the squad for Guatemala on March 25 and 29. It’s worth noting that six MLS clubs play on March 26 (NYC, New England, Vancouver, Houston, DC and Dallas):

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson

Defenders: DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks, Matt Besler, Steve Birnbaum, Geoff Cameron, Brad Evans, Jonathan Spector, Tim Ream

Midfielders: Fabian Johnson, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, Lee Nguyen, Darlington Nagbe

Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Gyasi Zardes, Bobby Wood, Aron Johannsson

Report: Atletico’s Fernando Torres has interest from MLS, NASL

Real Madrid v Atletico de Madrid - Copa del Rey: Round of 16
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Spanish outlet Marca claims that a number of North American sides are among the clubs chasing Fernando Torres.

The Spanish striker has only scored more than 11 goals once since 2009-10, and is uncapped since 2014. But that doesn’t mean clubs from China to to the U.S. and the UAE to Japan aren’t interested in the 31-year-old.

[ JPW: Recapping the top stories from an intense Premier League weekend ]

The Marca report claims three MLS teams are interested and also name drops the New York Cosmos of the NASL, who’ve recently brought Venezuelan legend Juan Arango on board.

It’s hard to imagine anyone outside the MLS rich sides taking a risk on Torres. Maybe Montreal would look to reunite him with Didier Drogba, and Torres certainly has experience combining with New York City’s David Villa. As for the third… Orlando City? Chicago?

Your guess is as good as ours, though it could be moot if this is solely about money. China continues to spend well.

Difficult fixture run looms as Aston Villa aims for great escape

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12:  Joleon Lescott of Aston Villa (3L) celebrates with team mates as he scores their first goal with a header during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Crystal Palace at Villa Park on January 12, 2016 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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Gabriel Agbonlahor is riding high, as the Premier League Player of the Week broke his duck this weekend and is thinking “great escape” for his Aston Villa side.

Villa has eight points in its last five matches, doubling its season total to 16. That’s still table bottom, but Remi Garde’s bunch would love to see their way out of the drop zone after a brutal start to the season under Tim Sherwood.

What would it take for Villa to pull that off, and avoid the first Premier League relegation in club history?

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Week ]

Turns out, a lot.

There is no easy match in the next five, and Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are all on the schedule after that.

Villa next five matches
Feb. 14 – vs. Liverpool
Feb. 27 – at Stoke City
March 1 – vs. Everton
March 5 – at Manchester City
March 12 – vs. Spurs

The Villans do have three relegation six-pointers left, and two of those are at Villa Park with Bournemouth and Newcastle United. Villa also heads to Swansea City.

But Villa has to make up 12 points on the Cherries, 11 on Swans and eight on the Magpies. And while they are within two goals difference of Newcastle, they have eight goals to make up on Bournemouth and 11 to make up on Swansea.

That doesn’t include Sunderland and Norwich, sides four and seven points ahead of the Villans (though both have tricky runs left as well).

If Garde’s club is to make its escape, it will be close to unbelievable. That it will close with a match against Arsenal makes it even trickier, but that would be just the final impressive note in what could only be considered a Garde-conducted masterpiece.

VIDEO: Recapping the top stories from an intense Week 25 in the Premier League

JPW at Stamford Bridge
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What a weekend. Let’s relive it.

Round 25 of the Premier League provided plenty more thrills, shocks and excitement as two unlikely title contenders — Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur — are pushing ahead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Our own Joe Prince-Wright recaps all the major headlines from what could turn out to be a pivotal weekend in the Premier League title race.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League news

Click play on the video below to join JPW as he battles the elements and checks in from outside Stamford Bridge in London following Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.