Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League

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

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On Saturday three of the Premier League title contenders were in action, and they were all embroiled in late drama, battling displays and most importantly… crucial wins.

Chelsea beat Everton with a late, late winner at Stamford Bridge, Manchester City edged out Stoke with a workmanlike display, Manchester United’s star duo of RVP and Wayne Rooney saw off Palace and Arsenal battered Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.

Elsewhere there were big wins for Hull City and West Ham United, while relegation battlers West Brom and Fulham drew.

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So, in case you missed any of the mesmeric action from the PL on Saturday, below are the recaps, analysis and some video highlights to give you everything you need to catch up.

Drink it in, my friends.

Arsenal 4-1 Sunderland

The Gunners blew Sunderland away early on, as Olivier Giroud bagged two goals before half time and Thomas Rosicky, who was praised by Arsene Wenger, got another to make it 3-0 to the home side at the break. After the interval Laurent Koscielny headed home to make it 4-0, before Italian midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini scored a beauty to make it 4-1. Arsenal kept up with Chelsea, as the Gunners are just one-point back in second place.

Cardiff City 0-4 Hull City

Oh dear. This is not the way Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer would have envisaged his opening few months as a PL manager. With just one win so far, the Norwegian boss saw his side torn apart by relegation rivals Hull after Nikica Jelavic scored twice and both Tum Huddlestone and Jake Livermore bagged a goal. Desperate time for the Bluebirds… What can Vincent Tan do now?

Chelsea 1-0 Everton

Stamford Bridge erupted when John Terry crashed in towards the goal and the ball somehow nestled into the back of the net in the 92nd minute on Saturday. Chelsea beat Everton 1-0 thanks to that late, late goal and Jose Mourinho’s men ensured they will stay top of the standings for yet another week. Afterwards Mourinho lauded his teams defensive display, as yet another clean sheet gave the Blues a shot at winning.

Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United

After signing his massive $500,000 a week contract on Friday, Wayne Rooney celebrated by smashing in an absolute beauty to add to Robin van Persie’s penalty in United 2-0 win over Palace. The Red Devils looked sharp after their warm weather break but didn’t open the scoring until the final 30 minutes, when RVP’s penalty was followed up by Rooney’s stunner to send United into the top six. David Moyes will enjoy tonight.

Manchester City 1-0 Stoke City

They huffed and puffed the entire game, and finally Man City broke through against Stoke in a patient display at the Etihad. The game-winning moment arrived in the 70th minute as Yaya Toure stormed into the box and finished superbly under pressure. City made hard work of this but Stoke set their side up for the draw. A good end to a difficult week for the Citizens who stay in the title hunt.

West Brom 1-1 Fulham

Same old Fulham. Just when you think they’ve turned the corner they are knocked back, as the Cottagers led through Ashkan Dejagah’s opener but late on they let three vital points slip when Matej Vydra equalized for West Brom. The Baggies needed goal-line technology to confirm their equalizer but it was probably the fair result as Fulham’s bright start faded considerably. A decent stat for new boss Felix Magath but it could’ve been so much better for Fulham.

West Ham 3-1 Southampton

Saints took an early lead at Upton Park as Maya Yoshida bagged his first-ever Premier League goal. But it was all downhill from there. West Ham turned the game on its head as Matt Jarvis and Carlton Cole scored twice in three minutes to put the Hammers 2-1 up at the break. Then after Saints squandered several good chances, Kevin Nolan sealed West Ham’s fourth-straight win.

Coutinho, Kaka headline preliminary Brazil roster for Copa America

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It appears that Neymar won’t be the only big name missing from Brazil’s star-studded squad this summer at the Copa America Centenario.

[ VIDEO: Previewing every Week 36 match around the Premier League ]

The Selecao revealed their preliminary 40-man roster for this summer’s competition, and it includes Orlando City midfielder Kaka, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Douglas Costa of Bayern Munich.

[ MORE: PST discusses how Leicester has gotten to the verge of an epic title ]

Chelsea pair Willian and Oscar also made the initial cut, in addition to Liverpool midfielder Roberto Firminho, who is coming off of a stellar season for Liverpool.

Among the biggest snubs for Brazil are a trio of defenders. Paris Saint-Germain duo Thiago Silva and David Luiz were each left off, while Real Madrid wing back Marcelo was also left out of the side.

Head coach Dunga will be forced to cut his roster down to 23 before the tournament starts for the Brazilians on June 4. The Selecao will take on Ecuador, Haiti and Peru in Group B play.

You can view the entire roster below:

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Freiburg promoted, returns to Bundesliga after 1 season away

SEVILLE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 03:  Mike Hanke of SC Freiburg controls the ball during the UEFA Europa League group H match between Sevilla FC and SC Freiburg at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on October 3, 2013 in Seville, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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BERLIN (AP) Freiburg secured an immediate return to the Bundesliga, one season after relegation to the second division, with a 2-1 win at Paderborn on Friday.

Goals from Mike Frantz and Nils Petersen, both set up by Maximilian Philipp in a three-minute spell just after the break, ensured Freiburg will finish at least second, earning automatic promotion.

“It still has to sink in,” Petersen said.

With two rounds remaining, Freiburg has 69 points, five more than Leipzig, and 10 more than third-placed Nuremberg, which has a game in hand.

Even if Nuremberg, which is all but certain of at least a promotion/relegation playoff following St. Pauli’s 2-0 defeat at 1860 Munich, wins its remaining three games, it cannot catch Freiburg.

It is Freiburg’s fifth promotion to the top flight after 1993, 1998 and 2003 – all under Volker Finke – and then 2009 under Robin Dutt.

“I’m quite calm,” said current coach Christian Streich, who was relegated with the side last season. “There were a lot of ups and downs over the year. I’m simply happy we managed it, no more.”

With 72 goals in 32 games, Streich’s side has the best offense in the second division. A run of 10 wins and one draw from its last 11 games helped clinch its return to the top flight.

Video: Ranieri gets emotional after seeing Leicester fans tribute

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Claudio Ranieri in on the verge of leading Leicester City to the most improbable feat in Premier League history.

[ MORE: Pochettino verbally agrees to return to Tottenham ]

While the Foxes have given the club’s supporters the greatest ride they’ve ever seen, the fans put together a tribute video describing what the 2015-16 season has meant to them.

[ MORE: Previewing every Premier League match for Week 36 ]

Fans of all ages put in their two cents regarding the team’s quirky manager, and the 64-year old Italian began to shed tears.

We likely won’t ever see a team like Leicester again, not only in the Premier League, but any sports league. The club’s assembly of players and Ranieri have coincided perfectly and the Foxes faithful are clearly grateful for what they’ve witnessed at the King Power Stadium this season.

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Premier League Preview: Newcastle vs. Crystal Palace

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: Georginio Wijnaldum of Newcastle United and Joel Ward of Crystal Palace compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on November 28, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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  • Newcastle has won one of their previous 10 PL matches
  • Palace is unbeaten in five of last six
  • Benitez is 1-3-3 since taking over Magpies

Newcastle host Crystal Palace on Saturday at St. James’ Park (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on USA and online via Live Extra) with the Magpies among the three sides battling to stay in the Premier League for the 2016-17 season.

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Crystal Palace isn’t mathematically out of the woods in the relegation battle, but they’re more than likely to remain in the PL next season. Palace has been in decent form of late, securing a win over Watford and draws against Arsenal and Everton. Yohan Cabaye and Connor Wickham are among the dangerous attackers that Newcastle will need to be wary of, each scoring five PL goals on the season.

[ MORE: Arsenal can put a damper on Norwich’s season with a win Saturday ]

A 5-1 drubbing towards the end of November gave Palace bragging rights, but at this stage of the season Newcastle must forget what happened in the past. While draws against Manchester City and Liverpool were certainly encouraging, the Magpies need wins. Anything else simply won’t do, particularly with Sunderland and Norwich each holding a game in hand.

The two-headed monster of Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic will be crucial if Newcastle is to pick up a vital three points at home for the sixth time this season.

What they’re saying…

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez: “I don’t bet. Obviously, I agree we have to win. In my experience, it’s the players who make the difference, not the managers. I can prepare for the game, but to talk about mind games, I don’t take too much notice.”

Palace boss Alan Pardew: “I’ve always encouraged other coaches and managers to be involved, with comments from them. I asked a bit of advice at the weekend from a couple of people which was very sound. I expect, as I do on occasion, to get calls from some of the players I’ve coached to ring me. You have to keep your network big.”

Prediction

Newcastle needs this game, or at the very least a point. Given the team’s poor goal differential though, this isn’t something Rafa Benitez and company will want to leave up to fate. Palace has dropped plenty of points this season, leaving Newcastle in an opportune position to gain ground on the coveted 17th place. The Magpies will push hard and I think they’ll be able to pull this one out at home, 2-1.

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