Premier League Roundup: Chelsea blow it, Swansea, Spurs and Palace win

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Nervy nail-biters were the order of the day in the Premier League, as we’re still no clearer to unraveling the picture at both ends of the standings.

Although at the top of the standings, title-chasing Chelsea suffered a hammer blow in their quest for the PL crown as they wee beaten at home under Jose Mourinho for the first time ever. Bottom side Sunderland were the victors, as a late penalty means Mourinho tastes defeat at home for the first time in 77 PL matches. Incredible.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Swansea City were the big winners down the bottom as they beat Newcastle, while Crystal Palace sealed their fifth-straight win to secure their place in the PL next season. As for the teams in the relegation zone Fulham loss at Spurs, Cardiff drew at home to Stoke, while Sunderland bagged that crucial win at Chelsea.

If you missed any of the action, don’t worry we have you covered.

Below are the recaps, brief analysis and video highlights to satisfy your PL needs. Enjoy… what a Saturday!

Aston Villa 0-0 Southampton

Stalemate at Villa Park, as Saints spurned three glorious chances to win with Rickie Lambert (twice) and Adam Lallana the guilty parties. Aston Villa thwarted Saints’ attempts and had a few half chances of their own, but Paul Lambert’s side were more than content to grab another point as they ease away from the relegation zone. Saints had a late penalty appeal turned down, as they remain in eighth spot with Villa in 12th on 35 points. They are five points clear of the drop zone with three games left, so the Villans, just, should be around in the PL next season.

Cardiff City 1-1 Stoke City

The Bluebirds missed a big chance to draw level with Norwich outside the relegation zone, as Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s boys ran out of steam at home. Stoke City took a first half lead through a dubious penalty, as Marko Arnautovic slammed home on his birthday. Then Howard Webb pointed to the spot for a second time after the break, with Peter Whittingham scoring for Cardiff. The Bluebirds had a goal disallowed for offside, but in truth they had their ‘keeper David Marshall to thank for a string of fine saves, plus the woodwork helped them out. Still in the battle against the drop, but time is running out for Cardiff.

Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland

Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten home run in the Premier League as Chelsea’s manager is over, as Sunderland delivered a hammer blow in the Blues’ hopes of lifting the title. Samuel Eto’o gave Chelsea an early lead but Connor Wickham equalized within six minutes as Sunderland dug in to frustrate the title chasers. Despite relentless pressure, it was the Black Cats who scored late on to win it, as U.S. international Jozy Altidore won a slightly dubious penalty kick in the 82nd minute which Fabio Borini slotted home. Afterwards Mourinho lost the plot in his TV interview, launching a tirade against the referees, as the ‘Special One’ and Chelsea saw their title hopes dashed by the bottom club. Sensational.

Newcastle United 1-2 Swansea City

A stoppage-time penalty kick from Wilfried Bony sealed a valuable three points for Swansea, as the South Wales side all but secured their Premier League status. Newcastle had taken the lead through Shola Ameobi midway through the first half but Bony headed home a lovely equalizer on the stroke of half time to send the teams in level. Both sides pushed for the winner but the pivotal moment arrived in time added on as sub Marvin Emnes raced clear and was brought down by Cheick Tiote in the box. Swansea are now on 36 points and should be safe, while Newcastle have lost five-straight games.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Fulham

Spurs were sloppy for most of the first half and although they took the lead against Fulham, thanks to Paulinho’s tap-in from a sublime Chirstian Eriksen free kick, the Cottagers had most of the play. Steve Sidwell equalized two minutes later, as the Lilywhites were showing exactly why they’d won two-straight before their trip to White Hart Lane. Spurs were much better after the break and youngster Harry Kane scored his third goal in three games for Spurs with a deft header, before Younes Kaboul knocked home yet another stunning delivery from Eriksen. Fulham were handed a lifeline 15 minutes from time as Eriksen handled in the box, but Sidwell saw his spot kick saved by Hugo Lloris as Spurs held on for the win. Tottenham stay in sixth, while Fulham remain two points from safety with three games to go.

West Ham United 0-1 Crystal Palace

A club record five wins in a row has seen the Eagles soar to 11th place, as Tony Pulis’ men are absolutely flying. A narrow win, thanks to Mile Jedinak’s penalty kick, away at London rivals West Ham means they are mathematically safe and now have their sights set on finishing in the top half of the standings. As for West Ham, they huffed and puffed but were unable to break down a stubborn Palace team with Andy Carroll, amongst other, spurning good opportunities to score.

Vancouver adds versatile Juarez, formerly of Monterrey, Celtic

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Efrain Juarez is bringing his game to Major League Soccer.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 39-times capped Mexico veteran has inked a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, joining a strengthened unit which came within a point of winning the West last season.

Juarez, 29, was unveiled as a midfielder by the ‘Caps, though he’s primarily played right back in his club career. He’s played at Celtic, Real Zaragoza, Club America, Monterrey, and Pumas.

Last capped by El Tri in 2012, Juarez has played every position except goal, center attacking mid, and center forward in his career (picture a ‘U’ on the pitch).

“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” Juarez said. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver. From the moment they showed interest me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”

VIDEO: Asensio goal ends Real Madrid’s winless run

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Marco Asensio’s eighth goal of the season and second of this Copa del Rey put an end to an unlikely Real Madrid winless run in a 1-0 victory at Leganes.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 21-year-old darted in front of a defender to volley home from in-tight, giving Real Madrid a first leg lead in the tournament quarterfinals.

More importantly, perhaps, it gives struggling Real a boost in morale after draws with Celta Vigo and Numancia, and a loss to Villarreal.

Real is home to Deportivo de la Coruna in La Liga before hosting Leganes in the second leg.

Hopeful Newcastle buyer Staveley: Offer still on the table

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is probably happy that his for-sale club is away this weekend, even though his side’s up against Manchester City.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

That’s because hopeful buyer Amanda Staveley has responded to claims that her hopeful takeover of the team won’t be happening any time soon.

Talks had stalled, said Tuesday reports, much to the chagrin of an #AshleyOut brigade that at times can make Arsenal’s #WengerOut brigade look like a yard full of happy puppies.

A “source” had said, “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time,” but Staveley shot back on Thursday to reignite the fire. From the BBC, taken from The Times:

“Our bid remains on the table. This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”

She also said that popular manager Rafa Benitez is integral to her interest in the team, and that fact combined with her insistence that an offer remains on the table will have many Newcastle fans seething with current ownership (and there have been protests for years). It’s Ashley’s move now.

2018 MLS Mock Draft: LAFC, Galaxy hold the keys

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Major League Soccer’s latest batch of hopeful rookies learn the next steps of their professional careers beginning Friday with the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft.

There are several intriguing prospects, including accomplished Stanford center back Tomas Hilliard-Arce and dangerous Michigan winger Francis Atuahene.

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An MLS mock draft is always tricky given the wildly varying opinions on players from the college game. This year, it’s even trickier as clubs without picks and some with multiple first round picks may be looking to move up and down even more than the norm.

Here’s how we think the draft could play out:

  1. LAFC – Tomas Hilliard-Arce, CB, Stanford
  2. LA Galaxy – Jon Bakero, FW, Wake Forest
  3. DC United – Francis Atuahene, FW, Michigan
  4. Montreal – Joao Moutinho, LB, Akron
  5. Minnesota – Wyatt Omsberg, CB, Dartmouth
  6. Orlando City – Ema Twumasi, FW, Wake Forest
  7. Montreal – Chris Mueller, FW, Wisconsin
  8. New England – Mo Adams, MF, Syracuse
  9. New England – Chris Lema, MF, Georgetown
  10. Real Salt Lake – Justin Fiddes, LB, Washington
  11. FC Dallas – Marcelo Acuna, FW, Virginia Tech
  12. San Jose – Brandon Bye, RB, Western Michigan
  13. Sporting KC – Ed Opoku, FW, Virginia
  14. Atlanta – Alex Roldan, MF, Seattle
  15. Chicago – Mason Toye, FW, Indiana
  16. New York Red Bulls – Alan Winn, MF, North Carolina
  17. Vancouver – Tristan Blackmon, RB, Pacific
  18. Sporting KC – Jon Gallagher, FW, Notre Dame
  19. New York City FC – Daniel Musovski, FW, UNLV
  20. Houston – Mo Thiaw, FW, Louisville
  21. Columbus – Brian White, FW, Duke
  22. Seattle – Tim Kubel, MF, Louisville
  23. Toronto FC – Oliver Shannon, MF, Clemson

There are a few players to keep an eye on for the later rounds that I won’t project for the first round due almost exclusively to first person bias (Some I’ve seen play in college, others at other levels). Afonso Pinheiro from Albany produced like crazy until this season, and Bowling Green defender Alexis Souahy has a skill set that could really transmit to the MLS level.

Mac Steeves (Providence) is a prototypical big body scorer, while Evansville’s heady Ian McGrath has a flair for the absurd and can play almost every position up the center of the pitch. Charleston’s Thomas Vancaeyezeele was a D-2 monster and is probably worth a shot earlier than people suspect.