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Everton 3-6 Chelsea: Blues prevail in sensational nine-goal thriller (video)

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Chelsea went to the top of the Premier League table after beating Everton 6-3 in a stunning advert for the Premier League at Goodison Park on Saturday.

This match will go down as a classic.

Jose Mourinho’s side raced into a 2-0 lead after less than three minutes of the match as Diego Costa and Branislav Ivanovic stunned the home fans. Just before half time Everton were back in it as Kevin Mirallas headed home to make it 2-1. Then the game exploded into life in the second half, as a crazy nine minute spell saw five more goals arrive.

[RELATED: Watch the full match replay]

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First, Chelsea went 3-1 up as Seamus Coleman turned into his own net, then Everton made it 3-2 thanks to Steven Naismith’s cool finish. Two minutes later Nemanja Matic made it 4-2 with a superb drilled effort, but the Toffees weren’t going down without a fight as debutant Samuel Eto’o headed home to make it 4-3 against his former club.

Chelsea sealed the win as Ramires strolled through and slotted home in the 77th minute, then Costa grabbed his second and the Blues’ sixth of the game in the 90th minute. One of the most incredible matches in the Premier League era finished 6-3 to Chelsea, as the Blues made it three wins from three in the most dramatic fashion possible.

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

The game got off to a flying start as after 2 minutes and 49 seconds, Chelsea were 2-0 up. Most fans weren’t even in their seats as the Toffees imploded in the most dramatic fashion.In a blistering start to the match, Chelsea went ahead after 34 seconds when Cesc Fabregas played in Costa who slotted home his third Premier League in just his third game for Chelsea. The Spanish striker broke the offside trap and slotted home past Tim Howard and Costa made it three goals from just three shots in the PL. Goodison Park was stunned. Chelsea were then 2-0 up after less than three minutes as Ramires played in Ivanovic who beat the offside trap again and slotted home coolly.

Everton’s defense was in shambles, Chelsea were in dreamland after a phenomenal opening.

U.S. international Howard was then involved in a moment of real controversy, as he looked to have handled a through ball outside the box with Eden Hazard bearing down on the Everton goal but the officials missed his misdemeanor and play carried on. Everton nearly pulled one back after 15 minutes when former Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku rose high but hammered a header against the crossbar and Sylvain Distin tapped home the rebound… but the French defender was offside.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

Chelsea bossed the rest of the first half as Fabregas almost made it 3-0 with 30 minutes on the clock, however Everton began to grow into the game and hit back right on the stroke of half time to make the game interesting. A great ball from Aiden McGeady found Coleman on the right and his pin-point cross was headed home by Mirallas to make it 2-1 at half time and give the Goodison faithful hope.

source: AP
Costa scored twice, as USA’s Howard let in six on Saturday.

After the break a rejuvenated Everton pinned Chelsea back but the away side weathered the storm and then sprung a few attacks of their own. Costa broke the offside trap once again and was clean through on goal but Howard saved superbly with his feet to keep the Brazilian striker at bay. The match ebbed and flowed at Goodison as the gripping encounter entered the final 30 minutes.

Chelsea took a 3-1 lead in the 67th minute as Hazard went on a marauding run then his cross was put into his own net by Coleman. In the celebrations Costa had a few things to say to Coleman, which Howard heard and the American goalkeeper was booked for confronting the Chelsea forward. The game was getting increasingly chippy but as soon as Everton went two goals behind, Naismith reduced the deficit as he finished with aplomb following McGeady’s excellent through ball. Goodison Park was rocking.

No sooner had Everton made it 3-2, Chelsea restored their two-goal lead as Matic drilled a left-footed effort in from the edge of the box in the 74th minute. Then Everton went straight up the other end as debutant, and former Chelsea forward, Eto’o, headed home in style to make it 4-3. Remarkable.

Then, of course, Chelsea went straight back up the other end and Ramires slotted home in the 77th minute to make it 5-3 to Chelsea after some shocking Everton defending. Courtois then kept Chelsea 5-3 up as he tipped Mirallas’ shot onto the post after some more sloppy defending from the visitors.

Chelsea wrapped up the win as Costa latched onto a loose ball from Everton substitute Mohamed Besic, rounded Howard and finished clinically to make it 6-3. The Brazilian now has four goals in his first three PL games for Chelsea, and is turning out to be one of the signings of the summer. Costa’s goal capped off what was truly an amazing game, as the West Londoners go top of the PL standings with three wins from their first three games.

Everton played their part in this classic, which will be etched into the history books as one of the most entertaining matches the PL has ever seen.

LINEUPS 

Everton: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman, Barry, McCarthy, McGeady (Eto’o, 70′), Naismith, Mirallas, Lukaku (Besic, 89′)

Goals: Mirallas (45′), Naismith (69′), Eto’o (76′)

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Matic, Fabregas (Drogba, 89′), Ramires, Willian (Mikel, 75′), Hazard (Filipe Luis, 83′), Costa

Goals: Costa (1 & 90”), Ivanovic (3′), Coleman (OG – 67′), Matic (74′), Ramires (77′)

Robbie Keane still entertaining offers ahead of return

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  Soccer Player Robbie Keane arrives at the Premiere of IFC Films' "Pele: Birth Of A Legend" at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
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Robbie Keane is still sorting out his future, and it seems unlikely he’s heading back to the past.

Keane is training in Dublin ahead of a return to the pitch. The 36-year-old striker left the LA Galaxy this offseason, and says he’s had several offers from Championship squads in England as well as a few clubs abroad.

[ MORE: Top Premier League story lines ]

Although he’s starred for Wolverhampton and Leeds, destinations where fans would welcome his arrival, Keane says not to hold your breath.

From TalkSport.com:

“I’ve had a lot of people asking me about coming back to Leeds and Wolves, and they’re great clubs I’ve played for, but you can’t go somewhere if people actually don’t offer you anything.

“Until it’s actually in writing to me I can’t comment much on it, but I definitely haven’t heard from Leeds or Wolves.”

Whether Stateside or in England, Keane can still have an impact on a team’s fortunes. We look forward to seeing him back on the field, and to hear some more quips as well.

Consider his answer to whether he’d entertain an offer from China:

“If they gave the money Diego Costa was offered, I’d walk there now,” Keane said.

Galaxy adds center mid from Portuguese top flight

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LA Galaxy’s roster reformation continues with the addition of Joao Pedro, a day after formalizing a deal with USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones.

The 23-year-old center midfielder was with Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal’s top flight, and comes to the club as a “Special Discovery Player” with Targeted Allocation Money.

[ MORE: Top Premier League story lines ]

Pedro has a goal in 17 appearances this season, as Vitoria Guimaraes sits fifth in the Primeira Liga.

From LAGalaxy.com:

“Joao is an extremely talented midfielder who has experience playing at a high level in Portugal,” said Galaxy general manager Peter Vagenas in a written statement released by the club.

“He is only 23 years old and has the best years of his career front of him. We identified him as a top target this offseason and we think he can immediately help strengthen our midfield. We look forward to welcoming Joao to Los Angeles as we continue to prepare for the upcoming season.”

Pedro was a regular for Vitoria Guimaraes but is far from a certainty to star for the Galaxy. We do know that Vagenas has probably done his research as to whether Pedro fits with Jermaine Jones.

AFCON wrap: Senegal clinches first knockout round slot

Senegal's, Sadio Mane, right, is challenged by Zimbabwe's, Willard Katsande, left, during the African Cup of Nations Group B soccer match between Senegal and Zimbabwe at, Stade de Franceville Stadium, in Franceville, Gabon Thursday Jan. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
AP Photo/Sunday Alamba
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Senegal has advanced to the knockout rounds of the Africa Cup of Nations, leaving three teams to work for the second Group B slot come the final day.

[ MORE: Top Premier League story lines ]

Senegal 2-0 Zimbabwe

Sadio Mane (Liverpool) and Henri Saivet (Saint-Etienne) scored within the first 13 minutes as Senegal clinched Group B with a win over Zimbabwe. There were 48 shots between the two teams, 24 for Senegal, in a fairly open affair. As for the Warriors, they’ll need to beat Tunisia on Monday.

Algeria 1-2 Tunisia

Tunisia rebounded from a loss to Senegal without scoring from the run of play. Lille mid Naim Sliti scored a penalty after an Algeria own goal made it 1-0. Anderlecht midfielder Sofiane Hanni scored for Algeria.

Friday’s matches
Ivory Coast vs. DR Congo — 11 a.m. ET
Morocco vs. Togo — 11 a.m. ET

Wenger concerned Chinese wages become benchmark for players

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 15:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks on during an Arsenal press conference ahead of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match against Barcelona at Camp Nou on March 15, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
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LONDON (AP) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping the high quality of competition in Europe will keep players from leaving for the financial gain in China.

Wenger is facing regular questions about the future of both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, and the big money on offer in the Chinese league can complicate negotiations.

[ MORE: Top Premier League story lines ]

Argentine striker Carlos Tevez joined Shanghai Shenhua last month in a deal worth $40 million over two years.

“The danger (is) that the Chinese offers become the benchmark for Europe,” Wenger said Thursday. “You cannot compete with that, but I still think that, when you’re a footballer, the first thing is that you want to play against the best players in the best teams.”

Wenger said players that want the best compensation for playing in the best quality league need not look to Asia.

“I think that combination is the best in England at the moment, so I don’t see why the players should leave the English Premier League,” Wenger said.

Wenger, whose team is fourth in the standings, has made only one signing in the January transfer window, picking up defender Cohen Bramall from non-league club Hednesford.

Arsenal has also decided to keep captain Per Mertesacker for another season. Wenger announced Thursday that the club has taken up a one-year option to extend the contract of the 32-year-old German, who has not played this season because of a knee injury sustained during a friendly in July.

Mertesacker faces a fight to get back into the team because Shkodran Mustafi, an offseason signing from Valencia, has built a strong partrnership with vice captain Laurent Koscielny at the heart of Wenger’s defense.