Former US soccer stalwart defender Alexi Lalas joined “The Dan Patrick Show” to analyze the effect of Cristiano Ronaldo’s injury on the United States’ chances against Portugal. Lalas also questions if U.S. captain Clint Dempsey will be 100% after suffering a broken nose against Ghana.
A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Germany’s top flight…
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Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Bayern Munich
The race for Bundesliga title could have been
blown wide open pried open ever so slightly after Bayern Munich dropped two points away to 5th-place side Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. It was far from a classic encounter, with just 15 shots managed between the two sides (3 on target). Bayern’s best chance came during the game’s final 10 minutes, when Robert Lewandowski nearly won it very late on.
The hosts’ best chance at pulling off the shock upset came on 53 minutes, when Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s volley from 25 yards out flashed just wide of Manuel Neuer’s right-hand post.
Hertha Berlin 0-0 Borussia Dortmund
The above possibility hinged, of course, on the only side within 18 points of Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, taking all three points from their visit to 3rd-place Hertha Berlin. They could not do so, thus remain eight seemingly insurmountable points behind the three-time defending champions.
U.S. national team defender John Brooks, who last week signed a new contract to remain at Hertha, is now one point closer to qualifying for the UEFA Champions League with his hometown club.
Schalke 3-0 Wolfsburg
Right on Hertha’s heels, two points back in fourth, is Schalke, who hammered Wolfsburg on Saturday, thanks to goals scored by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Johannes Geis and Alessandro Schopf. That’s three wins in their last four league games for Schalke, while Hertha have left the door wide open with three straight draws.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach 5-1 Werder Bremen (Friday)
Eintracht Frankfurt 2-4 Stuttgart
Hannover 0-1 Mainz
Ingolstadt 2-1 Augsburg
Sunday’s Bundesliga schedule
Hamburg vs. Koln (9:30 a.m. ET)
Hoffenheim vs. Darmstadt (11:30 a.m. ET)
|Hertha BSC Berlin||20||10||5||5||29||21||8||6-3-1||4-2-4||35|
|FC Schalke 04||20||10||3||7||29||26||3||6-2-3||4-1-4||33|
|FSV Mainz 05||20||9||3||8||25||24||1||5-1-4||4-2-4||30|
|FC Ingolstadt 04||20||7||5||8||14||21||-7||4-2-4||3-3-4||26|
|1. FC Köln||19||6||7||6||20||25||-5||3-4-3||3-3-3||25|
Arsenal’s Premier League title hopes are quickly slipping away, thanks to their current four-game winless run — not to mention Leicester City’s red-hot form — much like Manchester United see themselves falling away from the race for the top-four.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
Bournemouth are desperately hoping just to avoid a relegation dogfight that goes down to the wire, and Chelsea… well, they’re just kind of there, still sitting in the bottom half of the league table. Sunday’s pair of PL fixtures is full of storylines and implications in the context of the season as a whole.
Bournemouth vs. Arsenal — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra
Arsenal’s recent form couldn’t have come at a worse time, which is hardly surprising when considering they’d been far and away the best team in England for a little over 12 straight months; they were bound to slip up at some point. Having been top of the league themselves barely two weeks ago, the Gunners have fallen to fourth, eight points behind Leicester. Not even the return of Alexis Sanchez has provided the much-needed spark for an attack that has failed to find the back of the net in three straight games (305 minutes in total, dating back to their 3-3 draw with Liverpool).
As for Bournemouth, only Leicester and Tottenham Hotspur (9 each) have won more points from their last three league fixtures than the Cherries (7). Callum Wilson (five goals), whose season ended back on Sept. 26 (knee), remains Bournemouth’s leading scorer on the season, though Arsenal youth academy product Benik Afobe has proven an inspired January signing thus far (three goals in four games). Bournemouth are winless in their two all-time meetings with the Gunners, dating back to a 3-0 League Cup defeat in 1987. When these sides met for the first time this season, back on Dec. 28, it was Arsenal who were victorious, 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
On the injury front, Bournemouth have a mostly clean bill of health, as Junior Stanislas (knee) is the only recent addition to long-term absentees Wilson, Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings. For Arsenal, Santi Cazorla (knee), Tomas Rosicky (thigh) and Carl Jenkinson (knee) will all miss another month at least, while Jack Wilshere (leg) and Danny Welbeck (knee) remain without definitive timetables to return.
Chelsea vs. Manchester United — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra
This one used to really mean something. Those were the days, weren’t they? These days, Chelsea need a win just to leapfrog Crystal Palace for 12th place. On a positive note, the Blues are unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions since the departure of Jose Mourinho, but have won just three of eight league games during that period. Diego Costa is scoring goals semi-regularly again, but he’s also acting out in his usual Sunday League-like manner, which means he could either spontaneously combust on the field of play, or hop the next flight back to Madrid without telling anyone what’s going on.
As for Man United, they’re actually scoring goals these days (six combined in their last two games – all competitions), which has Louis Van Gaal dreaming of a title challenge once again. On a really positive note, Wayne Rooney has scored seven goals in his last seven games in all competitions (five in five in the PL) and has forged a really sound partnership with 20-year-old Anthony Martial up top (three assists, one goal in last two games – all competitions). A top-four place is still a very realistic target for the Red Devils — though it likely won’t matter with regards to Van Gaal’s job status — but it’ll take everything Rooney and Martial have between them to overcome Van Gaal’s ultra-defensive tactics and score enough goals to get there.
When these sides met on the final matchday of 2015, the proceedings at Old Trafford ended a stale 0-0 draw one might expect from a Van Gaal-versus-Mourinho meeting of the minds, if only the Portuguese had still been in charge at the time. On the injury front, Chelsea are nearly 100 percent healthy, with only Radamel Falcao (leg) still unavailable for selection. For United, the latest injury report is extensive: Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee), Phil Jones (ankle) and Marcos Rojo (shoulder) will all miss Sunday’s clash, while Marouane Fellaini (knock) is questionable.
Say it again, folks: Leicester City isn’t going away.
The Foxes went into the Etihad Stadium and battered Manchester City on Saturday, and now lead the table by five points. Leicester is ahead of fifth place Manchester United by 13 after a 3-1 win over City.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
We also have a new second-placed team, and a new side in the drop zone as well. Let’s run through the eight games we caught Saturday from the United Kingdom.
Manchester City 1-3 Leicester City – RECAP
- Ranieri refuses to believe Leicester are title favorites, but they are
- Would PL title win be the biggest surprise in sports history?
- Three things we learned from the 3-1 decision
Robert Hugh scored two goals and Riyad Mahrez had one sandwiched in between as the Foxes continued their surprising run at the top of the league with a comprehensive win over Man City. Sergio Aguero pulled one back late because, well, he’s Sergio Aguero. City blew a big chance to state their title claim.
Stoke City 0-3 Everton – RECAP
Mark Hughes has watched his Potters give up three goals for the third-straight match, and the Potters fell to 1W-1D-3L during the most recent injury absence for Geoff Cameron. Meanwhile, the Toffees got goals from three different players in the first half in moving up the table.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Watford – RECAP
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
Aston Villa 2-0 Norwich City – RECAP
Swansea City 1-1 Crystal Palace – RECAP
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Hennessey were the stars here, though the first bested the latter on an early free kick to make it 1-0. Scott Dann tied it up, and Hennessey made several saves to make sure Palace picked up a point for the first time in six PL matches.
Southampton 1-0 West Ham United – RECAP
Maya Yoshida put Saints up early, and Southampton was able to hold off the Irons despite going down to 10 men thanks to Victor Wanyama‘s sliding takedown of Dimitri Payet in the 53rd minute. Southampton has pulled to within a pair of points of sixth-place West Ham.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
Newcastle United 1-0 West Bromwich Albion – RECAP
Nothing’s easy for the Magpies, who dominated possession and shot attempts but only beat the Baggies once. The goal belonged to Aleksandar Mitrovic off another slick feed from reenergized Jonjo Shelvey, and the Magpies are one point clear of the drop zone.
Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland – RECAP
Playing without a sick Jurgen Klopp didn’t seem like a problem when Roberto Firmino scored a goal and set up Adam Lallana for another. Sam Allardyce‘s Black Cats provided a shock late, though, as Adam Johnson and Jermain Defoe picked up goals to keep Sunderland within four points of safety.
|West Ham United||25||10||9||6||38||29||9||5-5-2||5-4-4||39|
|West Bromwich Albion||25||7||8||10||23||32||-9||4-4-5||3-4-5||29|
Jamie Vardy has been handsomely rewarded for his stellar 2015-16 Premier League season, in the form of a brand new three-and-a-half-year contract that will keep the 29-year-old striker at Leicester City until the summer of 2019, the club announced on Saturday.
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So back off, Chelsea and Liverpool and Manchester City and anyone else who might have dreamt of poaching the 18-goal-scorer (so far) this summer; the Foxes’ star man is staying put.
According to numerous reports, Vardy’s new deal will pay him more than $115,000 per week, nearly doubling his previous $65,000-per-week contract, which he signed at the start of the 2014-15 season.
When you score goals like this, on top of having already broken the Premier League record by scoring a goal in 11 consecutive games, you’re bound be paid like one of the world’s top strikers, which is exactly what Vardy’s been this season.