Swansea City 4-1 Aston Villa: Shelvey wondergoal highlight of comfortable Swans win (video)

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Swansea hadn’t won back to back PL games in 17 months, but Aston Villa are very, very good at helping teams break unflattering streaks. Now the Swans have guaranteed themselves a spot in the Premier League next season – provided Norwich lose at Manchester United in the late match. Meanwhile, the future is looking even bleaker for the Villa.

It looked like it was going to be all too easy for Swansea, with the hosts threatening inside three minutes. Brad Guzan easily stopped the early attempt, but was unable to do anything about Wilfried Bony’s shot in the 10th minute. The goalkeeper wasn’t helped by a sleeping defense, who allowed Bony to get on the end of a ball from Jonjo Shelvey to go one on one against him. A cool finish and Swans were up.

With no goals in their last two games, and without star striker Christian Benteke, a comeback for Villa looked unlikely. But then Gabby Agbonlahor, who hadn’t scored a goal since January, got behind Jordi Amat to tap in a cross from Marc Albrighton, who was easily the visitors’ most threatening player in the first half.

But Villa, who haven’t won since March 15, were unable to keep the lead for even five minutes. After a series of corners, Guzan was unable to get the ball out from the back quickly enough, and had to resort to picking out Ron Vlaar. But the captain was unable to clear properly, allowing the ball to bounce in front of Shelvey. The Swansea player hit it on the bounce, lashing his curling shot from the center circle into the top corner of the net, past a frantically back-pedaling Guzan.

(WATCH: WONDER GOAL FROM JONJO SHELVEY)

Shelvey wanted another, and did well to threaten the Villa defense in the 60th minute. The Englishman beat two defenders to send in a curling shot, but this time Guzan was there to push around the post and out for a corner. That meant the attacks kept coming, with Wayne Routledge being allowed plenty of freedom and time to place his shot. Somehow, though, he managed to strike it wide.

Sure enough, Shelvey was able to get himself involved and get a third goal for the Swans. Pablo Hernández did well to knock down Shelvey’s cross, and needed just a touch to aim his shot past Guzan and into the back of the net.

Swansea were already certain of the three points, but for some reason, Nathan Baker elected to commit a woeful challenge on substitute Marvin Emnes inside the area. The referee pointed to the spot, Bony stepped up, and Swansea took all three points with a comfortable 4-1 win.

LINEUPS

Swansea City: Vorm, Rangel (Taylor 77), Amat, Williams, Davies, Britton, Shelvey, de Guzman (Fulton 83), Hernandez, Routledge (Emnes 88), Bony

Goals: Bony 10′; Shelvey 26′; Hernández 73′; Bony 92′

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna (Lowton 45), Vlaar, Baker, Bertrand, Albrighton, Westwood, Delph, El Ahmadi (Holt 75), Agbonlahor, Weimann (Robinson 67)

Goals: Agbonlahor 22′

Ander Herrera piles the pressure on Manchester City

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Ah, just five games into the Premier League season and the mind games have already started.

[ MORE: Pulisic the Golden Boy? ]

Manchester United’s midfield terrier Ander Herrera has been speaking about the pressure facing crosstown rivals Manchester City who are the Premier League favorites.

Herrera, United’s Player of the Season in 2016-17 as they won the Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League, believes that spending over $240 million means Pep Guardiola‘s side are “obligated” to deliver trophies this season.

“Man City have spent the biggest amount in the Premier League so they are the principle contenders for the title,” Herrera said. “We will try to be there as well, we have quality as well, and we will fight for every title. But I think because of the money they have spent they are the favorites. We will try to be there but they have spent the biggest money in the league.

“There is always pressure when you spend a lot but there is also pressure on us because we are the biggest club in England. We won three titles last season and City didn’t win anything. They are under pressure. They are obligated to win titles. We won three last season so they have more obligation than us. But you know when you play for Man United wining is an expectation and an obligation but I like that obligation to be honest.”

Does he have a point?

Last season City’s failure to win a trophy was put down to the “process” under Pep as they lost in the FA Cup semifinals, were knocked out of the Champions League in the Round of 16 and finished a distant third in the Premier League.

This season no silverware and a finish below second place in the table would constitute a massive disappointment for Guardiola’s side and pressure would perhaps start to build on the Spanish coach.

With City and United the only two teams in the Premier League who remain unbeaten (they have identical records with points, goals scored, goals against and points) the growing notion that the PL trophy will be in Manchester next May seems spot on.

Between now and then every single way United or City can gain an advantage over their rivals, that will take it.

Herrera has started the mind games ridiculously early and perhaps that shows just how scared United are of City as Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva rip teams apart and the deadly strike-partnership of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus deliver the goals.

Mark this date in your calendar: Manchester United vs. Manchester City on Dec. 9.

FIFA hopes for big increase in TV viewers at Women’s World Cup

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PARIS (AP) FIFA president Gianni Infantino wants the next edition of the Women’s World Cup to draw a billion TV viewers across the world.

Infantino, who attended the official launch of the tournament that will be organized in France in 2019, said on Tuesday that the previous edition in Canada in 2015 was watched by 750 million viewers.

Speaking alongside French federation president Noel Le Graet and French Sports Minister Laura Flessel, Infantino said “our goal is to reach one billion in France in 2019.”

The tournament, which will run from June 7 to July 7, will gather 24 teams in six groups.

France will kick off the event at Parc des Princes in Paris, with the semifinals and finals in Lyon.

“It will be magnificent,” Infantino said. “France is a great football nation for both men and women.”

Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer out until 2018

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Bayern Munich have been handed a big blow as goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer has been ruled out until early 2018 after surgery on his broken left foot.

Neuer, 31, will not return before January and the German international star will leave a huge void as Carlo Ancelotti’s side aim to push for a four-straight Bundesliga title and challenge for the UEFA Champions League.

The German national team will be hoping Neuer does not face any complications in his recovery with Joachim Loew’s men the favorites for the 2018 World Cup next summer in Russia.

In his absence former Germany U-21 goalkeeper Sven Ulreich will step up as the new No.1 at the Allianz Arena with the German goalkeeper patiently waiting for his chance in Bavaria since arriving from Stuttgart in 2015.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said that Neuer’s operation “went perfectly” and the German giants are looking forward to his return.

The Bundesliga powerhouse have won three of their opening four league games to start the season but there has been some criticism for Ancelotti and his players, especially following the 2-0 shock defeat at Hoffenheim.

Losing one of the best goalkeepers on the planet is sure to test Bayern’s defensive unit and they have a tough job on their hands to qualify for the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds as the top seed as they battle with Paris Saint-Germain to win Group B ahead of Anderlecht and Celtic.

Pulisic nominated for 2017 Golden Boy

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U.S. national team teenager Christian Pulisic has been nominated for the prestigious Golden Boy award.

The award, run by Italian outlet Tuttosport, goes to the top player in European soccer under the age of 21 over the past 12 months.

[ MORE: JPW speaks to USMNT’s Pulisic ]

Pulisic, who turned 19 yesterday, has been a star for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga over the past 12 months and has nine goals and 14 assists in 61 appearances for the German side. He also has seven goals in 18 appearances for the USMNT.

Marcus Rashford, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele are expected to challenge for the trophy but the Pennsylvania native being among the final nominees for the award proves how highly regarded he is on the global stage.

[ MORE: Breaking down Pulisic at 19 ]

Seven players from the Premier League have also been included in the shortlist of nominees with Rashford from Manchester United, Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City, Joe Gomez and Dominic Solanke from Liverpool, Dominic Calvert-Lewin from Everton, Reece Oxford from West Ham (on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach) and Kyle Walker-Peters from Tottenham all getting recognition.

The 25 nominees for the 2017 Golden Boy award are in full below.


Aaron Martin, Espanyol
Jean-Kevin Augustin, RB Leipzig
Rodrigo Bentacur, Juventus
Steven Bergwijn, PSV Eindhoven
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton
Federico Chiesa, Fiorentina
Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona
Amadou Diawara, Napoli
Kasper Dolberg, Ajax
Gianluigi Donnarumma, Milan
Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City
Joe Gomez, Liverpool
Benjamin Henrichs, Bayer Leverkusen
Borja Mayoral, Real Madrid
Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain
Emre Mor, Celta Vigo
Reece Oxford, Borussia Monchengladbach
Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund
Marcus Rashford, Manchester United
Allan Saint-Maximim, Nice
Dominic Solanke, Liverpool
Theo Hernandez, Real Madrid
Youri Tielemans, Monaco
Enes Unal, Villarreal
Kyle Walker-Peters, Tottenham